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Misrata

[ 84 ] April 11, 2011 |

Misrata’s current situation remains a very large problem in any de facto partition scheme:

The Libyan port city of Misrata was one of the first urban areas to fall to rebel when the pro-democracy uprising began in February. Since then, the city has been under siege from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, including the feared Special Forces Khamis Brigade. The city is a short 130 miles from Gaddafi’s power base in Tripoli and — due to its location — has been completely cut off from any support from the main rebel controlled areas hundreds of miles away in eastern Libya. Since falling to the rebels, hundreds have died in fighting during the government’s repeated attempts to retake the city. It is a lonely outpost of rebellion far behind enemy lines.

The siege has had brutal effects on the humanitarian situation in the city. Reports coming out paint a bleak picture: many have no electricity or running water, while food and medical supplies are running low. The ring of pro-Gaddafi forces around Misrata has made is extremely difficult for aid organizations to delivery supplies by land. However, recently the international community has established a critical lifeline into the besieged city — from the sea.

Leaving the city under rebel control but surrounded by loyalist forces would bring to mind an obvious parallel to Srebrenica. If the Gaddafi government persists, it is exceedingly likely to value the recovery of Misrata much more than NATO will value its defense. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the intervention designed to prevent a massacre in Benghazi set the stage for one in Misrata. Of course, it would have been nice if someone had thought this through before the bombing started.

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  1. joe from Lowell says:

    It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the intervention designed to prevent a massacre in Benghazi set the stage for one in Misrata. Of course, it would have been nice if someone had thought this through before the bombing started.

    Where “thought this through” means “allow the massacre to happen in Benghazi.”

    I’m still not impressed by arguments that I should be more afraid of theoretical massacres that might happen at some indefinite point than actual, imminent ones – but, then, avoiding such massacres is actually my foremost goal, and not just a talking point to be raised and forgotten based on the exigencies of internet debate.

    • wengler says:

      Yes, there are many people on this site that are objectively pro-massacre.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        I was wondering how long it would take the dumbest human beings on the planet to chant the magical words “objectively pro-” as if doing so eliminates the responsibility to accept the negative outcomes of their policies.

        One hour nine minutes: a new record for the intellectual cowards!

        • wengler says:

          There was a lot of ad hominem in there and very little substance. My uttering of a phrase you don’t like makes me automatically an intellectual coward and dumbest human being on the planet!

          Surely your arguments can survive the criticism of the dim bulbs of this world. Once again, I ask of you and others that have supported this endeavor in Libya to pursue debate based on facts and not on hypothetical situations. The burden of evidence falls squarely on those that support ‘kinetic operations’ not on those who are opposed or ambivalent to intervention.

          Put away the truncheon and put your cards on the table.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            There was a lot of ad hominem in there and very little substance.

            That’s what I thought about your “objectively pro-massacre” comment, too. That’s why I used such strong language as I critiqued the reasoning behind it.

            BTW, dimwit, “ad hominem” doesn’t mean “personal insult,” you too. An ad hominem attack is a statement that an argument is wrong because of the bad things being pointed out by the speaker. You didn’t actually make any argument; nor did I critique any argument. You simply invoked your magic words to make my argument look disreputable, without actually putting forward any reason why it is wrong. That’s taught in freshman year logic class as “poisoning the well,” a logical fallacy of which “ad hominem” is a subspecies.

            • wengler says:

              Dimwit.

              Nice.

              You really tore me apart there. I can see why your arguments are so persuasive.

              • joe from Lowell says:

                You really tore me apart there. I can see why your arguments are so persuasive.

                As opposed to whining that you’ve been accused of being “objectively pro-” something.

                What’s the theory there? If you can make yourself an object of pity, people will agree with you?

                Tell ya what: if you want a real conversation, don’t bring weak shit like that.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            Once again, I ask of you and others that have supported this endeavor in Libya to pursue debate based on facts and not on hypothetical situations.

            Oh, really? Is that what this was:

            Yes, there are many people on this site that are objectively pro-massacre.

            Because, rather than appearing to be an invitation to discuss the facts on the ground, it looks more like you’re whining at me for have the terribly bad taste to discuss the downsides of your policy.

            Anyhoo, it looks very strange for you to be complaining to me about arguing from hypotheticals, rather than the guy who wrote It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the intervention designed to prevent a massacre in Benghazi set the stage for one in Misrata.

            All hypotheticals are equal, but some hypotheticals are more equal than others?

            • wengler says:

              Yes, I used that simple phrase because this isn’t the first time this very issue has been discussed here.

              Your fundamental argument always goes back to the hypothetical massacre of Benghazi as a justification for every action that as followed it. And all counter-argument has been some variation of ‘not caring about genocide, massacre’ or some other shit.

              Seriously, I’ve seen you make the same arguments across multiple websites. They are false, tired and most of all tells us nothing about what this country’s policy is going forward.

              If you don’t want a dimwit tearing apart your strawmen, then don’t comment.

              • joe from Lowell says:

                And all counter-argument has been some variation of ‘not caring about genocide, massacre’ or some other shit.

                No, that’s just the pretty little story you tell yourself so you can dodge the implications of your policy.

                “Don’t judge mah heaaaaaarrrt!” Nobody’s talking about, or cares about, your feelings. Nobody has accused you of not “caring” about anything. Nobody has written a single word about what you care about, or do not care about. This is not about your feelings

                Bringing them up and pretending you’ve been wronged when someone dares to point out that your policy is terrible, will lead to a horrible outcome, is just a cowardly dodge, just like it was when George Dubya did the same thing. “Don’t you judge mah heart!” Whatever.

              • joe from Lowell says:

                Oh, btw, I’ve actually stood up to people who’ve made the bogus “pro-Gadaffi” charge.

                So you can take your intellectual cowardice and your ginned up poutrage and stuff them in the same dark, hidden hole where you keep your willingness to honestly confront the consequences of the policies you support, where if history is any guide, they’ll never be seen again.

              • wengler says:

                avoiding such massacres is actually my foremost goal, and not just a talking point to be raised and forgotten based on the exigencies of internet debate.

                You are the venerable protector of the weak. Your words carry the cruise missiles of freedom with them. You have risen above mere internet discourse.

                I welcome debate as long as it is DEBATE. You have challenged people by pre-emptively discrediting their positions as promoting massacre.

                Your talking points follow the same pattern that we have seen from policymakers in Washington to put their political adversaries on the defensive. No more.

              • wengler says:

                Geez. Stop projecting on me.

                You are the one pushing for these militarist policies. DEFEND THEM.

                All the whining, crying bullshit. You are making me out to be John Boehner.

              • hv says:

                …but, then, avoiding such massacres is actually my foremost goal, and not just a talking point to be raised and forgotten based on the exigencies of internet debate.

                Oh, btw, I’ve actually stood up to people who’ve made the bogus “pro-Gadaffi” charge.

                I was dying to see how joe from Lowell got his hands dirty, in his big stand. Especially after his contempt for talking points in internet debate! Did he fight for the rebels? Did he broadcast a pirate station? Did he stare down a tank, armed just with a flower? Did he build a home-made cruise missile?

                Click the link to see how our bold stand-taker implements his foremost goal of preventing massacres!

    • Joe says:

      Where “thought this through” means “allow the massacre to happen in Benghazi.”

      I’m not sure that is what he said. Also, when there actually is a massacre, should we also just ignore it, with a “huh. well, no one could have known that would happen” as well? To win an Internet debate or something? Of course, something like that never happened before, so this is all quite hypothetical.

      “Well, yeah, we didn’t have to cut off his arm, but I didn’t want to deal with the details/alternatives when the infection was dangerous.”

      Why you want to be so strident on this issue is unclear.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        I’m not sure that is what he said.

        Then you’re avoiding facts because you find them inconvenient.

        We were faced with a yes/no question on March 16. To answer yes was to accept a military action, and to answer no was to accept a massacre in Benghazi. I’m willing to own the consequences of my choice, and I wish the other side would demonstrate a roughly-equivalent level of honesty.

        Also, when there actually is a massacre, should we also just ignore it, with a “huh. well, no one could have known that would happen” as well?

        Of course not; we should try to stop it, if we have a reasonable chance of doing so. I’ve been saying this for weeks now, and just a few days ago, NATO told the Libyan rebels that they’d be subject to attacks if they were committing massacres, too. NATO did this specifically to prevent the theoretical-at-some-undefined-point-in-the-future type of massacre you’re concerned about here.

        • Joe says:

          “Then you’re avoiding facts because you find them inconvenient.”

          I’m not talking about what he said in the past. I’m talking about what he said in this post. So, I don’t know what “I” am “avoiding” here as such. Robert’s reply below to you and Pithlord sounds good anyways.

          “Of course not; we should try to stop it, if we have a reasonable chance of doing so.”

          Great. So, instead of back/forths like you have with wengler here, we can focus on this post, and how RF is concerned with addressing the reasonable concern of upcoming deaths without a reply that by doing so what he really must be doing is using it as an excuse to avoid intervention to prevent current massacres, which as he says below is not a black/white issue given current information anyway.

        • astonishingly dumb hv says:

          to answer no was to accept a massacre in Benghazi.

          … minus the inevitable, predictable reprisals, of course. Joe has clarified his stance on the math and it is a bit more nuanced than his forceful advocacy might lead the casual reader to believe.

          ========

          Every ship but your four fastest, you mean. Every ship but the four you sent.

          Yes. Yes, of course. Naturally not those four.

    • hv says:

      joe from Lowell says:
      Where “thought this through” means “allow the massacre to happen in Benghazi.”

      I don’t expect this to change your opinion, but I still find it worth noting that you left R2P behind a long time ago and are fully in neo-con land. Your tripod only has one leg. Because the other legs can’t be measured in “real time.”

  2. Pastafarian says:

    As a bloodthirsty warmongering neocon, I supported President Wonderful’s intervention in Libya, primarily because it looked like an opportunity to get rid of a despotic enemy and an enabler of terrorism, Gaddafi.

    Of course, he could have taken it to Congress, and he was dragged into it kicking and screaming by advisers and public opinion, but let’s put that aside.

    Here’s where President Wonderful went wrong: Turning the kinetic military action (and control of our military) over to the UN. So now the goal of the action isn’t regime change, it’s “why can’t we all just get along, guys?”

    If they partition the country, we’ll be there for another ten years, enforcing some sort of border like we did for the Kurds in Iraq. The situation will remain unstable, and after 10 years and billions of dollars, we’ll finally go back in and kill Gaddafi (or his heir) then, when he/she finally gives us one more excuse by dropping an airliner or violating the border, and when we have a less pusillanimous president.

    This is what happens when you elect someone POTUS who learned all he knows about international conflict by playing “Risk.”

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Yes, if history teaches us anything it’s that unilateral American interventions never drag on for years and years with no discernible goals.

      • Pastafarian says:

        Saddam Hussein was unavailable for comment.

        • Holden Pattern says:

          [points and laughs]

        • joe from Lowell says:

          Neither are 4300 American troops.

          • Pastafarian says:

            But 25 million now-free Iraqis are available for comment. And they just emailed me to say “Hey, joe from Lowell, go fuck yourself.”

            • joe from Lowell says:

              Actually, a million of them are dead.

              And they spent years waging a war against us.

              And they’re now staging rallies against our presence.

              And they just emailed me to say “Hey, joe from Lowell, go fuck yourself.”

              Suuuuuuuuuuure they did. This was just after they greeted us with flowers, right?

            • joe from Lowell says:

              Hey, Mr. Spokesman for the Iraqi People:
              Catch!

              • Pastafarian says:

                We’ve lost a lot of men defending France too, and they’re not all that terribly grateful at this point.

                Maybe you would have preferred to leave Hitler in power, until he developed atomic weapons. There’d certainly be fewer neocons around for you to put up with.

              • joe from Lowell says:

                We’ve lost a lot of men defending France too, and they’re not all that terribly grateful at this point.

                Funny, I must have missed all of those French IEDs in the years following Operation Overlord.

                In point of fact, France is our NATO ally, and has fought alongside us in numerous wars since WWII, including the current operation in Libya. While never, not even once, have French militias gone to war against Americans, the way Iraqis went to war against us after Bush’s Folly.

                Worst. Analogy. Ever.

                Maybe you would have preferred to leave Hitler in power…

                Maybe the fact that the French wanted us to land in their country, drive out the Germans, and depose Hitler (as opposed to the Iraqis) explains the vastly different reactions between the two populations to us.

              • wengler says:

                No. Hitler would’ve been steamrolled by the Soviet Union and they would’ve liberated France.

                But oh no. I hope they aren’t going to develop nuclear weapons.

                /62 year lament

            • Pithlord says:

              Have you ever in your life read Iraqi polling data? It’s widely available with a google search.

    • Hogan says:

      Turning the kinetic military action (and control of our military) over to the UN.

      Where by “UN” you mean “NATO.” But that’s OK, those do-gooder international bodies are all the same, like Human Rights Watch and the Arab League.

      The situation will remain unstable, and after 10 years and billions of dollars, we’ll finally go back in and kill Gaddafi (or his heir) then, when he/she finally gives us one more excuse by dropping an airliner or violating the border, and when we have a less pusillanimous president.

      Yeah, just like we did in Germany and Korea when we finally got that gutless Eisenhower out of office.

      • Pastafarian says:

        Yeah, I don’t think we remained in Germany to prevent another rise of National Socialism. We implemented regime change there, and it was stable.

        And yes, we had to remain in Korea for decades because we partitioned the country. And lo and behold, again we’re faced with dealing with North Korea. You’re agreeing with me, right?

    • joe from Lowell says:

      As a bloodthirsty warmongering neocon, I supported President Wonderful’s intervention in Libya, primarily because it looked like an opportunity to get rid of a despotic enemy and an enabler of terrorism, Gaddafi.

      And you’re criticizing Obama for thinking that the world behaves like a Risk board? You can’t even come up with any other reasons for a military action beyond changing the color of the army pieces on the Libya square!

      • Pastafarian says:

        Yeah, joe, I’m funny that way. When someone blows up an airliner with nearly 300 people on board and butchers his own people to remain in power, I’m all for changing the color of the army pieces on his square.

        That, and Putin already picked Kamchatka.

        • mark f says:

          I bet you have stacks of letters you wrote to Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama urging full-scale war in Libya over Lockerbie. But Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush were just so feck- . . . wait, what word is Mark Steyn’s thesaurus telling wingnuts to use this week? Oh, right: pusillanimous . . . they were too pusillanimous to combat him.

        • joe from Lowell says:

          Tell me, did you feel a whooshing sensation on your scalp when you read my comment?

          Hint: the words “any other” is not a typo.

          Feel free to take another crack at it. I’ll give you another hint if you need one.

        • Uncle Kvetch says:

          When someone blows up an airliner with nearly 300 people on board

          Oops.

      • wengler says:

        I haven’t seen Obama stacking up armies in Alaska. Sarah Palin would’ve told me about it!

    • Pithlord says:

      It would be nice to get rid of Gadaffi, but it would obviously require a greater military commitment. The burden of proof is on you that it’s worth it. You are not really doing American service people a favor by turning this in to yet another exercise in red/blue tribalism.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        Actually, he’s got a two-part test.

        He has to prove that putting troops in the country to overthrow Gadaffi and secure the country (the responsibility of a military victor under all applicable international laws) is 1) worth it along a whole string of measures, and 2) sufficiently better than the possibility of Gadaffi being removed by other means while the liberated east is being protected.

    • Pithlord says:

      The Kurdish example seems a wacky one to me, because the de facto partition between 1991 and 2003 worked a lot better at much lower cost than the full-scale invasion. Would you really pay any price, bear any burden, just to feel macho about the UN?

      • Pastafarian says:

        It didn’t work a lot better for the Kurds themselves, as they lived on the edge of a meatgrinder for over ten years.

        And yes, “Pithlord”, issues of national security are all about how macho I personally feel. Compensation for my lack of masculinity, racism, and mindless rage are the only factors that shape the opinion of any Rethuglikkkan.

  3. Pithlord says:

    I’m with Joe about your last sentence. You raise a good point about how difficult the options around Misrata are, and then you engage in cheap rhetorical complaint that people act without omniscience. You want to tut-tut at people who stopped an actual massacre, because they didn’t “think through” all the possible massacres that might unfold later?

    If I grant that action has unforseeable consequences, will you grant that inaction also has unforseeable consequences?

    I think de facto partition is a better solution than either boots on the ground or leaving the rebellion to die. Misrata creates a problem, but I’d rather here you talk about what the options are than complain about the inevitable fact that human beings lack perfect foresight.

    • Robert Farley says:

      To reply to both Joe and Pithlord…

      My complaint was not that people act without omniscience; the last sentence has nothing to do with the existential uncertainty of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen. Rather, it’s a complaint that the leaders in this case did not, in my view, plan the operation in mind of several exceedingly predictable contingencies. These contingencies included the very strong possibility that the rebels would fail to overthrow Gaddafi, or even to relieve Misrata. The construction that Britain/France/USA employed in pursuing the war specifically excluded ground forces, which were the only way to ensure the defeat of Gaddafi (although ground forces would not have been proof against a pro-Gaddafi insurgency). My problem isn’t that the action had unforeseeable consequences; rather, it’s that the situation we have now was exceedingly foreseeable, yet little of the planning was oriented around the contingency. This is not, to my mind, a “cheap rhetorical complaint,” but I suppose mileage may differ.

      Regarding Benghazi vs. Misrata, we really are arguing about imaginary death rates. We don’t have any idea how many people Gaddafi loyalists would have killed in seizing Benghazi, or how that number compares to the number killed in the fighting since the intervention, etc. I have no idea how many would be killed in the reduction of Misrata (and I should also acknowledge that people would have been killed in the reduction of Misrata without the intervention). But it’s not obvious to me that the number sans intervention is higher than the number with intervention, nor is it obvious that a settlement to the war can be reached that doesn’t leave large percentages of people in jeopardy of further attacks.

      • Pithlord says:

        It’s all so complicated! Why should we expect that things should be obvious? How can the fact that we never know counterfacutals be an argument for any particular course of action?

        The UNSC was faced with the choice of doing nothing in the face of an immediate massacre or doing something that would have complicated consequences. On the other hand, doing nothing would have complicated consequences too. Maybe Misrata can be relieved with air power. Maybe sanctions can remove Gaddafi. Maybe not. No one knows now and no one knew then. That’s life, and you have to make decisions in real time.

        • Robert Farley says:

          Pith,

          Now you’re hiding behind radical contingency, which oddly enough is the same thing you’re trying to accuse me of. Uncertainty doesn’t actually excuse a mistaken decision, nor does it free the decider from suffering the consequences. In this case there were several quite clear possibilities that the decision-makers evidently didn’t bother to think through at any length (using rhetoric of regime change while adopting a military strategy that made regime change exceedingly iffy). I’d say, in fact, that you’re radically overstating the uncertainty on these issues; people were predicting before the first bomb dropped that the rebels couldn’t unseat Gaddafi, and people were arguing before the UNSC decision was made for an explicit end state strategy.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        These contingencies included the very strong possibility that the rebels would fail to overthrow Gaddafi, or even to relieve Misrata.

        How does any of this amount to an argument against relieving Benghazi?

        Gaddafi in power and Misrata being shelled was the status quo ante. While those are bad things, adding a river of blood in Benghazi would be even worse.

        What’s more, allied intervention gives the people of Misrata a better chance of being relieved, and it gives the rebels a better chance of overthrowing Gaddafi.

        Unless you’re postulating that these bad outcomes were caused by saving Benghazi, I don’t see how they are arguments against what we did.

        • Robert Farley says:

          Because relieving Benghazi without establishing a sustainable political solution doesn’t solve the problem, it only delays it, and potentially hardens the existing political situation. Without displacing Gaddafi, I worry that the NATO coalition will grow tired of the continuous operational tempo necessary to prevent Gaddafi loyalists from advancing. I also worry that the loyalist seem to be learning how to avoid airstrikes faster than the rebels appears to be learning basic military tactics and discipline. Just as with Srebrenica, I worry that Gaddafi will eventually take advantage of a coalition that isn’t really paying attention and that no longer wants to guarantee Misrata’s safety.

          We have created a situation in which the rebels are utterly dependent for survival on the good graces of France, the US, and the UK. I very much doubt that any of these three thought through at any length the long term costs and difficulties of maintaining both a rump state in eastern Libya and an enclave at Misrata. The military balance appears to favor Gaddafi much more heavily that it favored the Serbs or Hussein’s Iraqi government. I worry that Gaddafi will wait until the Western powers get tired and bored, and will then settle scores more quickly and with far more brutality than if the conflict had not been “frozen”.

          • Pithlord says:

            I have the same worries you do. It’s certainly possible that Western governments grow tired of this commitment and leave the Libyan rebellion to its fate. That’s what most of the commenters on this board want to do, after all, and I suspect they are a lot more politically influential than they think.

            Where I’d disagree is in thinking that “establishing a sustainable political solution” was in the choice set last March, unless by that you mean a quasi-genocidal massacre by Gaddafi. And who knows if that would have been a sustainable political solution?

            I’m not saying you can’t criticize what people do in real time. Say what you would have done different and how that would likely have turned out, and you may or may not have a point. But all you can ever do is make the best of a bad situation.

            I’d be inclined to agree that there should have been more emphasis from the start that NATO’s war aims did not include regime change. That’s hard to accomplish in a multilateral setting, but if NATO’s not willing to pay any price, bear any burden to get Gaddafi out (and it’s not), then it should be clear about that.

          • Pithlord says:

            On the purely military level, isn`t it significant that the Rebellion`s weaknesses are in the areas where NATO assistance is most useful: weaponry, logistical capacity, aripower and money. A small investment by NATO`s standards can have a huge impact on the military balance. Probably not enough to push Gaddafi out (although it could happen), but realistically enough that Gadaffi can`t retake secured areas. Fog of war and all, but Libya really is essentially a strip of land right next to Europe with a single export.

  4. Simple Mind says:

    I agree with Steven Walt that a full blown massacre in Benghazi was probably not really going to happen and that Sarkozy jumped the shark in an attempt to shore up the fortunes of the UMP at the polls, dogged as they were by the Le Pen clan. Now we have a clusterfuck.

    • Pithlord says:

      That’s odd since Gaddafi explicitly said he was going to take everyone out of their closets in Benghazi and kill them.

      But more importantly, a politician wants to get votes! Shock! Horror! Obviously, we should prefer that brown people are massacred than that politicians are motivated by elections.

      By the way, the word “clusterfuck” jumped the shark.

    • Pithlord says:

      Stephen Walt also said that Tunisia was no big deal and would have no consequences elsewhere in the Arab world. You’d think that was recent enough for him to have some shame about making confident predictions now, but you’d be wrong.

  5. wengler says:

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.

    This is going to be the first war(in in the modern era) where the western-backed mercenaries get the big guns. The only question is whether they will get Soviet surplus or Egyptian-built Abrams. The political framework will be that they have been hired under the authority of the Freedom Council, Benghazi Council, Council of the East, or some other similarly made up title. The western powers desperately want a ground fighting force without the political headaches of committing national forces.

    • Simple Mind says:

      To get a fighting force, they’d need Merlin, Gandalf and Harry Potter working overtime.

    • Pithlord says:

      I’m not seeing the problem here. “Better than Gadaffi” — morally and for Western interests — is a low hurdle.

      • DocAmazing says:

        That kind of thinking got us the Taliban.

        • joe from Lowell says:

          It also got us the Northern Alliance.

          Hopefully, we aren’t going to just blow the place off after the war, like we did in Afghanistan.

          Charlie Wilson couldn’t get Bush to build a school in Afghanistan. We’re sitting on $32 billion of money Gadaffi stole, to be used for reconstruction.

          • DocAmazing says:

            It also got us al-Qaeda. If that’s the kind of trade-off we’re looking for, then by all means, let’s jump right on in.

            • Simple Mind says:

              Ghedaffi once got Billy Carter a case of beer.

            • joe from Lowell says:

              You know my comment doesn’t end after the word “Alliance,” right?

              • DocAmazing says:

                Yeah, and it was kind of irrelevant. All the reconstruction in the world wouldn’t have pacified the Islamist international brigades that we helped assemble.

                We’re on the brink of putting together a similar force in eastern Libya.

                Thinking things through would be a really good idea right about now.

              • hv says:

                Thinking things through would be a really good idea right about now.

                There is this weird inertia about not-thinking-things-through.

                At first, the urgent demands of the massacre must be addressed in “real time” so we can’t consider the endemic risks of intervening. I am not sure I accept that myself, but I understand that reasonable people can disagree.

                But there follows this nyah nyah attitude that asking to think things through now is the same as endorsing a massacre. They won that argument forever and ever; they already trumped the attempts to consider the endemic risks, which of course then vanished.

              • Pithlord says:

                I don’t think there’s anything wrong with thinking about endemic risks of intervening or thinking things through. You just have to do so bearing in mind the actual alternative.

                BTW, people’s history of Afghanistan isn’t really right here. The Taliban is not the US-financed Mujahedin (which undeniably had some nasty folks in it) and emerged years later.

          • Malaclypse says:

            We’re sitting on $32 billion of money Gadaffi stole, to be used for reconstruction.

            Boy I can’t wait to see how Halliburton steals productively uses that money.

    • joe from Lowell says:

      There’s no way they get Abrams. That’s a crown jewel system.

  6. dave says:

    According to my reliable sources [Wikipedia], the Egyptian Army outnumbers the Libyan Army approximately 15:1, not even counting reserves. They also have the Abrams. If they’re not interested in saving their neighbours, why the frack should we be?

  7. [...] week, Pithlord wrote: On the purely military level, isn`t it significant that the Rebellion`s weaknesses are in the areas [...]

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