The rebels finally had their day. With immense help from the West, they toppled the regime, and later, the dictator himself. “Freedom” was theirs, although one person’s freedom is another’s hell.
And how did they show appreciation? By showering their liberators, not with roses, but roadside bombs. Their message? “Thanks — now get out.”
So it was in Iraq, and so it will be in Libya.
Western leaders either don’t read history, or more likely, do so and arrogantly think they can avoid the same mistakes. They can’t.
The objective of the U.S. and NATO was to remove Gadhafi. Mission accomplished. But the adage applies: Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it. Now what? How much more blood and treasure will be expended to maintain a presence in a country that was a) stable, b) a Muslim “ally,” and therefore c) didn’t need an occupying Western presence?
Sadly, too much.
America’s involvement wasn’t about stopping a dictator, civilian deaths, or democracy. It was because Libya produces a lot of oil. Period.
Just look at Syria. They continue to massacre citizens and foment terrorism, but their petroleum production is but a fraction Libya’s, hence no action. Case closed.
America gave its imprimatur for the airstrikes which led to the rebels taking down Gadhafi. But it seems we have forgotten that those rebels, who gleefully executed Gadhafi in front of the cameras and are now “running” the country, are the same folks who comprised the largest fighting force outside of Iraq to engage the U.S. in that country.
That bears repeating.
We just backed the people who have been shooting at us for eight years. How could no one have thought about that before participating in the regime change of a sovereign nation?
Now governmental “leaders,” the rebels have tasted power, now accustomed to carrying out the law (their law) on the spot, administering justice as they see fit. To think they will lay down their weapons (which we provided) and obey a civilian politician is a fairy tale.
Just look at the recent revelation that upwards of 20,000 portable surface-to-air missiles, each capable of downing a jetliner, are missing and feared to be in unfriendly hands. What a shock.
The result will be chaos and armed factions roaming the country. And when they’re pressed, look for car bombs and exploding pipelines.
Kind of like Iraq.
In all likelihood the West will be sending ground troops, which is never a short-term proposition. And since European countries are broke and incapable of sustained operations, the U.S. will inevitably be drawn further into the Libyan quagmire.
There are two valuable lessons here:
1. Credibility is everything.
Nowhere is a nation’s word more important than on the world stage. If a country of high moral character lies and betrays, its credibility is shot.
Moammar Gadhafi was never an angel. But he showed himself to be a leader with whom the West could effectively work, even if his transformation was rooted in self-preservation.
Gadhafi was told to shape up or face consequences. To his credit, he did. He admitted complicity in the Pan Am 103 bombing and paid reparations, dismantled his WMD program, and stopped harboring terrorists.
Libya was then removed from the terrorism list by the George W. Bush administration, with Condoleezza Rice stating Libya was rewarded for its "renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation" in the war on terror.
Yet America broke its word by helping to eliminate a leader who had done everything the United States had asked. With that kind of “credibility,” is it any wonder why many leaders have chosen a path at odds with America?
This results in needless roadblocks in diplomatic, political, and economic negotiations, as the damage from one thoughtless decision can take years to repair.
2. Energy independence now.
Despite the common sense of energy independence, it remains a policy neither party chooses to advance.
Rather than tap into huge natural gas deposits (the Marcellus and Utica Shales), Alaska’s vast oil fields, the Bakken Formation, the reserves under the Rockies, and drill offshore, the politicians continue the disastrous policy of relying on petroleum from hostile nations.
Put another way, if Libya wasn’t sitting on huge reserves, America wouldn’t give it a second thought.
But because neither party will pursue energy independence, job creation suffers, inflation rises, and America remains in the crosshairs.
So we are involved in yet another conflict with no clear objectives, which only will create more uncertainty in world markets already on the verge of collapse.
Common sense is such that America should stop playing policeman, become energy independent, put the interests of its citizens before those of other nations, and, above all, keep its word.
Don’t hold your breath. As Voltaire said, “Common sense is not so common.”
An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com.
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