Benghazi Investigation Entirely Misses the Big Picture

May 24, 2013

By now, unless you have been living under a rock you are aware of the scandals plaguing the Obama Administration – the Justice Department illegally acquiring the phone records of the Associated Press, the Internal Revenue Service illegally targeting the President’s opponents for tighter scrutiny, and Benghazi.  Now, in all fairness to Obama, to date, no improprieties have been proven in any of the above cases.  But, while the scandals involving AP phone records and IRS treatment of the President’s opponents should be investigated, the Benghazi investigation entirely misses the big picture on that issue.

With regards to Benghazi, currently congressional Republicans are focusing their investigation on whether the Obama Administration botched security at our consulate in that city thereby causing the assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and 3 other Americans and whether it lied about it in an effort to cover it up.

I say, who cares?  The bigger issue and one that no one seems to be asking is, should we have been meddling in the internal affairs of Libya in the first place?

When Obama sidestepped Congress and unilaterally chose to intervene in the Libyan Civil War, the mission was supposed to be a United Nations sanctioned “no-fly zone” over Libya so Gadhafi could not use his air force to slaughter Libyans on the ground.  However, in very short order, the mission morphed into an all-out air invasion complete with coordinated strategy between NATO forces and anti-Gadhafi fighters and bombings of Gadhafi’s fighters on the ground.  The point man chosen by Obama to serve as a conduit between anti-Gadhafi fighters and the U.S. military was Ambassador Stevens.

What was lacking is the same thing that has failed to happen with all U.S. military engagements since World War II.  Congress did not debate whether American military forces should be employed and it did not vote on whether to grant a declaration of war.  Why is this important?  Because the Founders of the United States knew that the decision making power to send Americans into harm’s way and the consequences of that action for the country was too important to give solely to one person – the president.

Libya was not a national security issue for the United States.  We were allegedly there on a humanitarian mission to help Libyans.  The question is, is that a justified use of our military?  Should its role be to police the world?  Congressional debate could have addressed these questions, prevented our intervention in Libya, and possibly changed U.S. foreign policy in the future for the better.

Additionally, our intervention in Libya has made that country “a center of jihadist terror”.  Consequently, weapons, terrorism, and chaos are emanating from there to the rest of North Africa and the Sahel regions.  Gadhafi may have been a bad guy to his people, but our intervention in his country is having adverse effects on all the people of the region.  With 535 members in Congress, someone would have questioned, during debate in that body, what would happen as a consequence of our intervention?  Perhaps the consideration of that inquiry would have prevented our ill-fated intervention and Ambassador Stevens would still be alive today.

In the final analysis, what needs to be investigated is whether we should have been in Libya in the first place?  This investigation then should lead to a reconsideration of our current foreign policy.  Given that our current foreign policy has our military forces engaged in at least 74 other conflicts around the globe this seems more important than finding out whether the Obama Administration botched security at our consulate in Benghazi causing the death of an American ambassador and 3 other Americans and whether it lied about the matter in an effort to cover it up.  It’s time Congress looks at the big picture.


Ambassador Stevens Died in Vain

September 29, 2012

Ambassador Christopher Steven’s assassination on September 11th in Benghazi, Libya, needless to say, stirred a wide array of reactions from different sources.  There were those that instantly called for war against Libya.  Others, realizing that the deed was a planned attack by a smaller subgroup in that country were more conciliatory by eulogizing the ambassador as a man who gave his very life to make the lives of others better.  And then there was the clumsy and irresponsible reaction of the leader of the Republican party and its current presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.  For his part, the former Massachusetts’ governor reacted by blasting the Obama Administration for “sympathizing with those who waged the attack” because its U.S. embassy in Cairo issued a statement during the attacks meant to quell any potential violence.

Whatever the case, the death of Christopher Stevens was needless and wasteful.  He died in vain for two reasons: his inappropriate involvement in the affairs of a country not his own and the fact that he should not have been in Benghazi on September 11.

Last year when President Obama decided unilaterally to intervene in the Libyan Civil War, he appointed Stevens to work closely with anti-Gadhafi fighters on the ground in Benghazi and serve as a conduit between them and the U.S. military.  At first, NATO involvement was just supposed to include imposing a U.N. sanctioned “no-fly zone” over Libya so Gadhafi could not use his air force to brutalize Libyans on the ground.  However, in very short order, the mission morphed into an all-out air invasion complete with bombings of Gadhafi’s fighters on the ground.

What was lacking of course was any congressional debate whether or not American forces should be employed in Libya and ultimately a declaration of war from Congress as required in the Constitution.  After all, U.S. forces were engaged in direct combat in the Libyan Civil War for months.  Just because no Americans died in the conflict until Ambassador Stevens is beside the point.  Congressional debate could have resulted in a vote not to declare war on a country that posed no national security to us.

So, in essence, the Obama Administration used the pretext of saving lives to commit regime change.  Chris Stevens was the point man on the ground in Benghazi that helped to make that happen.  The regime was Gadhafi’s and chances are good Stevens was killed either by a pro-Gadhafi militia or a fringe militia looking to gain support from pro-Gadhafi forces.  Either way, this is what is called blowback.  Stevens paid for his deeds directly in Libya.  The bottom line is that Americans will continue to experience this phenomenon as long as their government continues to meddle in the affairs of other countries, even if the goal is noble.

The second reason Chris Stevens died in vain was because he shouldn’t have been in Libya on September 11th.  No American should have been.  Since the end of the civil war, Libya has been reduced to a Somalia like haven.  Without a legitimate centralized authority, heavily armed militias operate freely on the streets of Libya’s major cities.  Assassination attempts, shootouts, car bombings, arson, and threats against foreign diplomats are commonplace.  In August, in Tripoli, armed men tried to commandeer a U.S. Embassy vehicle carrying American diplomatic personnel.  Stevens and the American diplomatic corps should have been evacuated out of Libya a long time ago.  It was and is simply too dangerous a place for them.

Shortly after Ambassador Stevens was assassinated, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted asking, “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?”  The answer is easy – American intervention in other countries makes all Americans unsafe.  When Washington picks sides in a conflict there are other sides that are slighted.  When America attempts to militarily or politically dominate another country folks in that country become resentful.  Clearly, these are lessons that Secretary Clinton needs to learn.  If Ambassador Stevens understood them, he would still be alive today.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

Western Imperialism Strikes Again

June 18, 2011

In his 2005 exposé, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes his life as an economic hit man in the 1970s.   As a chief economist for the consulting firm Chas. T. Main, Perkins worked with U.S. intelligence agencies and multinational corporations to convince foreign leaders to build infrastructure projects in their countries financed by billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other lending institutions.  Perkins’ job was to provide phony or exaggerated predictions of the economic benefits of such programs for the country undertaking the massive loans.  Once hooked into loans it ultimately could not repay, the victimized country was then used as a pawn to further U.S. foreign policy and economic interests.

In the classic one hand washes the other and both hands wash the face scheme, the loans were given with the stipulation that the construction and engineering contracts for the projects were awarded to American companies.  In return, handsome bribes and kickbacks were provided to the signatories (heads of state).  Those on the hook were the taxpayers in the developing countries who were stuck with massive debt they could not repay.  Not only did the imperialistic scheme destroy any hope the world’s poor had for developing their countries, when default happened the U.S. or the International Monetary Fund would move in and dictate the terms of bankruptcy which included everything from control of its budget to dictating its United Nations votes to security agreements.

According to Perkins, from time to time there were foreign heads of state that refused to play ball, refused to accept financial remuneration for acquiescing to loans that would enrich American companies and ultimately place their countries in bankruptcy with the U.S. government acting as receiver.  When that happened jackals were sent in to eliminate the obstruction.  Perkins mentions at least two leaders, President Jaime Roldos Aguilera of Ecuador and General Omar Torrijos of Panama who were assassinated because they put the best interest of their countries ahead of their personal greed.  If assassination were not possible pretences for full military invasion were produced to bring the rogue leader to justice.  Panama’s Manuel Noriega was “brought to justice” in this manner.

And that brings us to our current involvement in Libya.  It is a well-known fact that Muammar Gadaffi has been an international pariah for most of his 42 years ruling Libya.  However, in 2004 after Gadaffi ended his quest for weapons of mass destruction, President Bush lifted sanctions against Libya.  Since then American companies have invested heavily in Libya.  For instance, energy giants ConocoPhillips and Marathon have each invested about $700 million.  Everything seemed to be going great.

However, let’s not forget that Gadaffi has always marched to his own tune.   Over time Gadaffi began demanding tougher contract terms, big bonuses up front, and most remarkably he demanded that global oil companies operating in Libya pay the $1.5 billion bill for Libya’s role in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks or face “serious consequences” for their oil leases.  But perhaps the last straw for American imperialists was Gadaffi’s plan to unite African and Arab states under a new currency to rival the dollar and Euro.  Under the proposal, oil and other resources would be sold only for gold dinars.  The economic implications for the West would be immense.

All of these moves by Gadaffi have not only made it difficult for western oil companies to operate in Libya, his gold dinar proposal could be the beginning of the end for western currency hegemony.  Gadaffi had not held up his end of the deal with western corporatists.  He was not “playing ball”.  Western special operations forces on the ground in Libya were unable to covertly assassinate the Libyan leader.  Thus, under the pretense of protecting civilians, NATO instituted a military “no-fly zone” over Libya.  Make no mistake about it, military operations in the skies over Libya have always been about regime change in Libya.  NATO forces care about the civilians on the ground in Libya about as much as American forces cared about the more than one million Iraqis who have been killed as a result of our eight year war of “liberation” in that country.

At the end of the day, the Libyan experience doesn’t fit perfectly into the Economic Hit Man box but it does prove that western imperialism is alive and well in Libya.  President Obama brilliantly employed Rahm Emanuel’s mantra “….never let a serious crisis go to waste” by using the protection of civilians as a pretense to eliminate a foreign leader who wouldn’t “play ball” with western corporate interests.  Like Noriega before him, Gadaffi will go down in history as a leader who defied the global elite, escaped assassination but fell to military invasion.  Anyone who doesn’t believe history repeats itself is a fool.

Article first published as Western Imperialism Strikes Again on Blogcritics.

What Obama Should Have Said

May 23, 2011

President Obama’s speech on the Middle East last week was nothing really new.  He chastised the usual culprits for suppressing human rights in their countries and assured us all that the United States government would remain vigilant in its pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way when it comes to supporting the oppressed in the Middle East.  Oh, he did shock Israel and her proponents by mandating that any peace talks between her and the Palestinians must begin with an acceptance by both sides of the borders as they existed in 1967.  This proposition of course has Israel losing territory before it has even started to negotiate.  One question is will this really result in successful peace talks this time around?

Of course the bigger question for Americans is, where does Obama get the authority to issue any mandates with respect to Middle East peace negotiations?  The simple answer is he has no authority in that area.  He is the president of our country chosen to protect our rights, defend our Constitution, and enforce our laws.  The issue of Middle East peace is between Middle Easterners and that is who should decide the matter if there is to be any long lasting peace in the region.

But I read the president’s speech anyway.  In fact, at some point as I was reading the usual implied dribble about how America would solve all of the world’s problems I dosed off into a glorious daydream.  Here is the speech Obama gave in that splendid fantasy:

“My fellow Americans, I come to you tonight to mark a new beginning for American foreign policy.  Israel, the Palestinians, and the other Middle Eastern nations are going to have to solve their own problems.  America is done ruling the world.  We have enough problems of our own that need our attention and as a nation we have learned for way too long that when we meddle in the affairs of other nations instead of pursuing a foreign policy of friendship, trade and exchange things normally turn our poorly for us.

Take America’s entry into World War I for instance.  It was meant to “Make the world safe for democracy”.  Instead our involvement ultimately produced Adolph Hitler in Germany.  President Wilson, like all presidents, had good intentions, but America’s unnecessary entry into the war was the deciding factor leading to victory for the Triple Entente.  His support for France’s over the top retribution toward Germany manifested in the Treaty of Versailles economically destroyed that country and paved the way for the rise of Hitler and his National Socialist party.  The result was another word war where millions more died.

Then there are the smaller conflicts our government has gotten engaged in from time to time.  On the Korean peninsula in the 1950s, 40,000 Americans and 2 million civilians lost their lives fighting an enemy that is still a thorn in our side to this day.  In Vietnam, 50,000 Americans and 1.5 million civilians perished and many more vets are still experiencing the effects of that war some 35 years later.

Closer to our own time period, let’s not forget that the CIA’s covert overthrow of popularly elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeegh in the 1950s ultimately led to the menacing theocracy in present day Iran.  Our military support of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan produced the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.  Lastly, our decade’s long support for Israel, even when she has been egregiously in the wrong, has produced terrorist networks bent on violently persuading America to change her policy.

There are many more examples of American meddling that have resulted in dire consequences for our country.  In the interest of time I will stop there.

My friends, it took us 10 years, 3 wars, 5000 American, and countless Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani lives and at least $2 trillion dollars to finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice.  And what do we have to show for it?  Nothing.  Al Qaeda has appointed an interim head to replace bin Laden, the organization has threatened retribution for his death, and our liberties at home are still being violated in the name of national security.

After deep reflection, I have devised a new direction for U.S. foreign policy.  A foreign policy which will go much further to ensure our safety than any illegal wiretap or airport groping ever could.  Effective immediately, I have ordered the following:

The immediate withdraw of U.S. forces from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya;

The immediate halt to drone attacks and military incursions into Pakistan;

A cut of hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending;

And the promise to friend and foe alike that the United States seeks peaceful relations with you based on integrity, mutual respect, and trade.

By ending our quest for worldwide hegemony, we will be able to focus all of our attention and resources on the dire state of our economy.  We have a lot of work to do, but by bringing the troops home and cutting our monstrously large military budget we can make great strides to balance the federal budget and get our economy moving again.  Good night.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

Wouldn’t that have been a better speech?

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

U.S. Cannot Learn from Past Mistakes

May 17, 2011

The fact of the matter is that the terrorist attacks of 911 had more to do with the U.S. government’s meddling in the affairs of the Middle East for decades than it did as George W. Bush would have us believe because we are free.  All one needs to do is compare say Luxembourg or Lichtenstein with the U.S.  In many ways the two European nations are freer than the U.S. especially economically, but don’t interfere in and bomb Arab nations.  Thus, even a casual observer could deduce that radical Islamists attacked us not because of our political or economic system but because for decades America has supported either directly or indirectly wholesale violence against Muslim people.

You would think we would learn from our mistakes.  But, one thing our government is good at is making enemies and one thing Americans are good at is believing their government even when it is to their detriment.  Take the latest two military actions undertaken by Washington against Muslim people.  The U.S. military is currently engaged directly in two illegal wars against Muslim people.  In Pakistan, our unmanned drones have been striking terrorist targets since at least 2004.  These attacks are justified by Washington as necessary to root out terrorists and thereby make us safer.  The war against Pakistan is illegal because it is being perpetrated against a sovereign nation that has not threatened U.S. security in any way.

The same can be said of our military actions through NATO in Libya.  Yes, Qaddafi is a nut and has had a terrorist past, but all that seemed to be water under the bridge until NATO led by the U.S. decided to set up a so-called “no-fly zone” over Libya to “protect” rebels and civilians from extermination at the hands of the brutal dictator’s forces.  Again, Libya posed no threat to American security, but in the name of protecting Libyans Obama launched his illegal military action against Libya.

Besides the illegality inherent in both missions, on the surface the actions of U.S. forces in Pakistan and Libya seem reasonable given the dangers posed by terrorism and Qaddafi against his own people.  But, make no mistake about it both missions will prove to make us more vulnerable to terrorist attack than if we had not gotten involved in them in the first place.

Since becoming president, Obama has ordered the CIA to carry out more drone strikes in Pakistan than George W. Bush did in his entire eight years in office, killing more than 500 people since 2009.  Roughly a third of this number was innocent civilians. Recently, Obama authorized Seal Team 6 to violate Pakistani sovereignty to allegedly murder Osama bin Laden.  Consequences of the latter U.S. action in Pakistan have already resulted in the dual suicide bombings that killed 80 Pakistani paramilitary recruits in northwest Pakistan.  Threats of revenge for bin Laden’s alleged killing have been made against all navy seals and their families due to the notoriety they as a group have received for allegedly murdering bin Laden.  Hell, Al Qaeda has even made threats against Obama’s step-grandmother in Kenya.  The point is U.S. induced violence in Pakistan puts all Americans at risk of future blowback from terrorists in that country.

Of course, many Pakistanis are seething with anger over the indiscriminate bombing of their country by American forces.  Many Pakistanis view their own government as complicit in the matter.  Is Pakistan getting ripe for a violent overthrow?  Given its strategic location and nuclear arsenal, our leaders will certainly be compelled to intervene with boots on the ground.  How many Americans will lose their lives in the bloodbath that would result?

And the situation is not much better for us in Libya.  The so-called no-fly zone has proven to be a farce.  NATO is in the conflict to cause regime change.  Many innocent civilians have already been killed in NATO bombings of “military targets”.  Just last week 11 imams were killed in a bombing in the eastern Libyan city of Brega.  These deaths strike at the heart of Muslims.  In fact, speaking at a press conference in Tripoli late last Friday, fellow imams urged Muslims across the world to kill “1,000 people for each dead imam” across the world, namely in “France, Italy, Denmark, Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.”  Once again U.S. forces under the guise of NATO are seen as Muslim killers – and worst yet Muslim holy men killers.  What blowback will result from this event?

After President Obama reported that he had killed Osama bin Laden, Americans danced in the streets while chanting U.S.A.! U.S.A.!  They were celebrating as if the “War on Terror” was finally over.  I couldn’t help but think how idiotic and premature the celebrating was. For one thing, didn’t we expect Al Qaeda to retaliate for the death of its martyred leader?  For another, were all those delirious Americans not mindful that we are still engaged in military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya?  Did they not understand that their celebrations would be used to recruit even more terrorists to the cause of Al Qaeda?

From the CIA overthrow of popularly elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 to Bill Clinton’s ordered bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory in the 1990s, the U.S. government’s long and sordid history of hostile acts against Muslims has resulted in loads of resentment against us which has manifested itself in terror networks like Al Qaeda.  With the most recent actions of our government in Pakistan and Libya, more resentment and increased terrorist activity are sure to transpire.  You would think our leaders would learn from past mistakes or maybe it is they don’t want to?

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

Evaluating Obama’s Record After More Than Two Years as President

April 26, 2011

Recently, President Obama kicked off his 2012 reelection campaign.  Looking past all the political jabbering of the talking heads and pundits, the most astounding prediction of all about the next race for the White House is that Obama is expected to raise $1 billion for his campaign efforts.  Given the president’s failure to fulfill his previous campaign’s promises of hope and change, a great question to ask is, who is going to donate that large amount of money to his campaign coffers?

I mean the guy has an absolutely abysmal economic record as president.  Adhering to a dogmatic Keynesian policy, in just two years he has increased the national debt by 50 percent with nothing good to show for it.  Unemployment, counting the underemployed and discouraged workers, was about 19 percent when Obama took office.  Currently that number is at about 22 percent.  After more than two years in office, Obama’s economic policies have given no hope to millions of unemployed Americans.

Of course, all of the spending and inflating of the money supply under Obama is beginning to have a huge negative effect on the economy.  Anyone who has grocery shopped or purchased gasoline lately has certainly noticed higher prices.  Now, many would blame Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and his ridiculous easy money policy for current rising prices.  They are correct.  But, let’s not forget that Obama nominated Bernanke for a second term as chairman in 2009.  The president had the opportunity to do the right thing and nominate an individual that could have brought sanity back to our monetary policy.  But then again, Obama and his cohorts in Congress need Bernanke to monetize their lavish spending programs to ensure their reelections.

In fact, Obama won’t recognize his or the Fed’s culpability in bringing about inflation.  Instead he is resorting to the famous political technique of scapegoating.  According to Obama, speculators are potentially to blame for high gas prices and thus rising prices in general.  His Justice Department is going to investigate whether speculators are driving up the price of oil and therefore harming consumers.

Well, of course speculators are driving up the price of oil because they know more about how economics work than anybody in the Obama Administration.  They know that with the trillions of new dollars the Fed has pumped into the economy since 2007 oil prices which are priced in dollars are going to go up, probably way up.  They would not be bidding up the price of oil today if they believed that in the future they will not be able to find a buyer for their oil futures.   They are not causing harm to consumers.  Fed policy under Bernanke is the culprit, but the president seems clueless about this fact.  As general prices continue to rise because of Obama’s Keynesian policies, Americans will continue to lose hope that their lives are getting better.

Obama’s foreign policy is as abysmal as his economic policies.  During the 2008 campaign he promised “change that we can believe in”.  If by “change” Obama meant even more war than George Bush provided than he has fulfilled that campaign promise.  Since taking office Obama has not ended the U.S. occupation of Iraq.  He has increased troop levels in Afghanistan by about 30,000.  He has increased unmanned drone attacks over Pakistan killing innocent civilians and providing a recruitment tool for Al Qaeda.  He led the NATO invasion of Libya, which was supposed to be a “humanitarian” effort, but has quickly turned into a regime change operation.  Obama claimed he would not put boots on the ground in Libya and then it was reported that U.S. special operations forces had been on the ground in Benghazi for three weeks training the rebels.  Now, fighting between Qaddafi forces and the rebels is in stalemate and many analysts believe it will take a NATO invasion with ground troops to dislodge Qaddafi from power in Tripoli.  The president has put himself in a tough spot.  If his previous war-like tendencies are any indication, we can expect U.S./NATO troops to be fighting pro-Qaddafi forces in Libya soon.

Barack Obama’s first two years as president has been a catastrophe.  Unemployment and prices are up and we face a national calamity because of burgeoning debt at the state and federal levels.  He has increased not diminished our exposure to war by ramping up military attacks over Pakistan and leading the effort to overthrow Qaddafi in Libya.  These conflicts will only waste more money we don’t have and make us less safe.  Again, it should be asked, if Obama hopes to collect $1 billion in campaign contributions, where will it come from?  My best guess is Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

Dangers are Inherent in the War with Qaddafi

March 21, 2011

To be sure Muammar Qaddafi is a devil incarnate.  For 41 years he has ruled Libya with an iron fist.  He has repeatedly participated in terroristic endeavors, even against his own people.  As recently as two weeks ago it looked like he was a goner as rebels had taken hold of much of Libya knocking at Qaddafi’s door in the capital, Tripoli.  Then, being the survivor that he is, Qaddafi rose from the dead as his mostly foreign mercenary forces fought back retaking much of the country and driving toward the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.  Apparently, his warning that he would show “no mercy” to the people opposing him in Benghazi was the last straw for the United Nations.  This remark pressured that body into passing a resolution calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Qaddafi from carrying out his threat.

On the surface, who could argue with stopping a madman from butchering potentially tens of thousands of people?   But under the surface, the U.N. resolution and the Obama administration’s adherence to it is dangerous for the United States.

In the first place, unless America is under imminent danger, the president has no authority to launch a military attack against another sovereign nation.  Obama is not an emperor endowed with unlimited power to pursue military adventures wherever.  He is a president operating in a system of checks and balances, restrained by a written constitution.  Since the end of World War II American presidents have generally ignored the rule of law when it comes to conducting military campaigns and this has produced a state of almost constant war at huge costs to the nation in terms of human life, reputation, and financial resources.  These latest actions by Obama are no different and will almost certainly lead to all of the aforementioned costs.

Another danger for the U.S. is that this mission is more than just the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya.  This is a full-fledged combat mission.  We are not just destroying anti-aircraft batteries and Libyan aircraft capable of bombing civilians.  We are fully engaged in targeting tanks and killing Qaddafi’s fighters on the ground.  With that comes the loss of civilian lives.  As a matter of fact, Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who originally called for the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone, has become critical of the military actions taken in Libya so far.  Speaking on Egypt’s official state news agency, he said, “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.”  Thus, once again the U.S. is being portrayed in the Arab world as invaders and killers of Arab civilians.  This is certainly not the image we want to maintain in light of the fact that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups will be more than willing to use this portrayal for recruiting purposes.

Lastly, the president’s decision to commence combat operations in Libya without congressional debate/authority is dangerous because an exit strategy has not been developed.  According to U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, how coalition forces extricate themselves from Libya is “very uncertain” and the whole affair could end in a stalemate with Qaddafi.  If the latter were to happen would we end up staying in Libya indefinitely protecting the Libyans against the brutal dictator?  Are we headed for another quagmire?

At the end of the day it seems like a no-brainer that a coalition sanctioned by the U.N. should step in and prevent the Libyan Madman from perpetuating further atrocities against his own people.  But, why is it that the U.S. must once again lead that effort?  Aren’t we already overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan?  How much war can our collective soul take?  Finally, are the dangers inherent in this operation really worth it?  Given the rotten condition of our economy, our fear of future terrorist attacks, and the broken institution which is our federal government, the answer would have to be an emphatic no.

Article first published as Dangers are Inherent in the War with Qaddafi on Blogcritics.