Archive for August, 2011

The Barbary Wars (Part Two)

It looks like there is another victory for Coalition Forces in the Middle-East.

…This time it’s in Libya. It’s uncertain whether or not rebels have come out on top. But since every picture of the conflict I’ve seen has been of rebel fighters, I’ll just assume their winning. It’s also uncertain whether or not this is actually a good thing.

Both factions are now accused of war crimes. Images of Gaddafi supporters, found with hands bound, shot execution style are now starting stir a few questions in my head. Why are we supporting the rebels? If you’re a Libyan history scholar (as I now am, ever since I Googled Libya), you’ll already know that practically every power that has controlled the region has done so through the use of force. Greeks, Romans, Caliphates, the Ottomans, and Italians all have taken Libya for their own, through military action. It wasn’t until after WWII that a King was appointed for an Independent Libya by the U.N. – who was then ousted by a young Gaddafi.

Coup d’etat is just the Libyan equivalent of election; a little less frequent, and maybe more exciting. But with all of the protests across the Middle-East chanting Democracy, I don’t understand what’s so great about Libya. Aren’t Iran and Syria a little more on our “Hated” list? And wouldn’t it be slightly more strategic to oust the regimes their? Or are we just trying to hunt down smaller prey?

David Harsanyi has a similar view:

Is Libya more vital to our national interest than Iran or North Korea or the Kurds of Turkey? After recent experiences with conflict and social engineering, how can anyone believe we can effectively institute democracy in the Middle East?

The Coalition involvement is said to be a humanitarian mission. Which is fine, and I don’t mind the humanitarian missiles, but it’s more than just that. It’s the U.S. -or rather Obama- doing the foreign policy dance. And it’s really starting to look sloppy at this point. Especially since Western relations with the Gaddafi regime were begining to improve.

Gaddafi:

  • disposed of his “weapons of mass destruction,”
  • payed €3 billion in compensation to victims of terrorist acts (which his regime had been partially responsible for),
  • released political prisoners,
  • had his country taken off the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism,
  • and had even been selected to serve as Chairman of the African Union for a  year.

 On the other side of the spectrum, he:

  • has supported countless terrorists, genocide, assassinations,
  • has placed bounties on the heads of Libyans who oppose him,
  • has essentially been a thorn in Democracy’s side since day one 
  • and in light of recent events, hides his military behind civilian facilities.

But I suppose if France, Brittain, and Canada are going to bomb Gaddafi, then oh well – We may as well send in some F-15’s and CIA agents. At least gas prices seemed to have decreased.

 Once stability in Libya has been restored, are we really going to be able to trust the rebels?Our track record for supporting rebel forces isn’t so hot (*cough* Taliban *cough cough*).

And even if we can trust the new Libyan government, will we be able to look back and say “wow, that was definitely worth it, even though were facing a financial crisis and all” ? Time will only tell.

In the meantime, we can cross our fingers and watch our tax dollars at work on CNN.

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Politics of Confusion

IF THERE IS ANYONE WHO SHOULD KNOW U.S. POLTICS, IT’S ME…

…Although I’m sorry to say, with just a few short weeks left serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, I know practically nothing about current politics. It’s strange to think that someone who is sworn to uphold and defend this country’s constitution would know little about what’s really going on out there. But I don’t think I’m the only one.

I believe a majority of service members wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s really going on, besides the troop withdrawls and where their next deployment may take them. And that goes for many people throughout the U.S. in general; no one really knows what’s happening out there. Even the politicians seem confused. Sure, there is the issue with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problems we faced with Medicare (or Obamacare, or Medicaid – take your pick), and the ongoing national debt crisis.

Most people who don’t live in a mud hut know about these things. Even better, most people seem to have opinions about these things, and EVERYONE has someone to blame: Liberals, Conservatives, Immigrants, Terrorists, CHINA, the World Bank, the President, Congress, Abraham Lincoln, Billy Mays, Me, You, Whoever.

I’m not complaining though. In fact, I’m okay with it. We don’t live in a state of martial law yet and I still earn money (despite the fact that were in an economic depression). So I’m happy, or at least I’m expected to be – although I did quit my cable service the other month. Everyone around me seems to be okay with these things too. Their cable still works, they’re still able to afford fuel for their gas guzzling trucks, their Facebook profile is still active, and Domino’s still delivers. We are all okay. No one is dying. No one is homeless. No one is hungry. We are complacent, and we’re okay.

I’m only a term soldier, not a proud career veteran, but I’ve learned a few things. One thing that’s really stuck, is that complacency kills. In combat, it literally kills people. But back in the real world (as veterans call it for some strange reason), complacency kills motivation. Not simply the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, but the motivation that makes us ask why? The kind that makes us want to poke our heads out of our warm little nests and grasp with both hands the situation sitting outside our doorsteps. The kind of motivation that makes you want to do something about THIS.

I told the cable company to cancel my service for a couple reasons: 1) I was playing too much Call of Duty and not watching enough T.V. 2) It was outrageously priced, and 3) Everything I saw on T.V. was making me sick. There is no escaping the barrage of political infomercials in between every show you watch these days. Plenty of shows on T.V. are just that: Infomercials! Or rather Infotainment.

Everything on the news channels is bad. I can’t fathom how much debt this countries in, especially right after a U.S. Chinook carrying 30 plus troops is shot out of the sky, or when scores of children died in Africa today and scores more will die tomorrow. I can’t fathom how much debt were in period. What are these numbers that are thrown out there? Billion-dollar bailouts? DOW Jones is up? Good, I guess. We’ve passed our national debt ceiling? So can we still spend money? Apparently so. And how much is it? More than a trillion dollars? Who comes up with these figures?

I’m not a spooked out conspiracy freak barricading myself in my mom’s basement. The facts are out there, and they’re not pretty. What I really want to know is, WHAT IS GOING ON?

If you have any solid information (from a RELIABLE source), please, see my e mail. If you are as clueless as me, feel free to vent your frustration. Next, I will attempt to burry myself under a mound of documents, blogs, and news articles related to current U.S. politics in an attempt to gain enough information for my next blog, or to confuse myself farther down the rabbit hole.

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