Free Markets, Free People

Libya: Are there "good" civilians and "bad" civilians?

I have to ask because it seems we’ve decided we need to hit Tripoli – the center of the Gadhafi base and a city in which there’s been no real fighting and certainly not any threats of civilian massacre. I also ask it rather facetiously. I think it is obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub against each other that the mission is no longer just to "protect civilians" but it has indeed become "regime change".  Check out the CNN vid:



So, one has to assume that the critical nature of ensuring Libyan civilians aren’t harmed is much more of a concern in Benghazi than in Tripoli.  No bombing or missile strikes in Benghazi, multiple examples of each in Tripoli.

The excuse?  Well we’re now attacking targets with even the “potential” of harming civilians.

Yeah, where I come from we call that rationalization – an effort to justify doing something other than what you were first cleared to do. The euphemism in common and specific use today as it pertains to military operations is “mission creep”.  We are right smack dab in the middle of doing just that.

Ed Morrissey makes the salient point and asks the proper questions:

Now the US says that NATO may start attacking Tripoli itself, presumably to get to Gaddafi’s command and control functions, which makes perfect sense if the mission objective was regime change. There are no reports of massacres in Libya’s capital at the moment, at least none which NATO or the White House have publicized.If the mission is the protection of civilians, which is what the UN mandate states (which Obama said he would not exceed in his speech Monday night), how will bombing Tripoli accomplish that?  We will increase the odds for significant collateral civilian losses, not decrease them.

Don’t expect questions to be asked or, if they are asked, to get any straight answers.  Well other than being told there are things in Tripoli with the “potential” to harm civilians.

Yeah … JDAMs and Tomahawks.



35 Responses to Libya: Are there "good" civilians and "bad" civilians?

  • Mr. President, Mr. President, any idea when you gonna be getting to the point ?

  • I must say I am disappointed in those senior military officers who are suporting the Obama administration’s lies. Not particularly surprised, but disappointed and disgusted.

  • Well, if there’s a military command that’s ordering attacks on civilians, it sure seems like taking out C+C structures will alleviate that.
    It’s not like we can really separate “protect civilians from the Libyan military” from the Libyan military’s C+C structures. Indeed, that’s exactly what I’d want done in such a case.

    • So your answer then, in sum, is yes, there are “bad civilians”, or at least the safety of civilians in an urban area that doesn’t count for much, correct?

      • That argument didn’t seem to hold when Israel tried to retaliate against Hezbollah who deliberately surrounded themselves with human shields as a policy.

        • I’m not really asking the question in terms of Gadhaifi forces using “human shields” as a policy. I’m asking what measures are being taken to ensure our air strikes in Tripoli don’t endanger or kill civilians as they hit urban targets. If the mandate is to protect Libyan civilians, does it matter whether or not they support the regime?

  • Well, you know, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

    He’s on military steroids now, lads. The MSM will report the bloodlust a year from now, at the earliest.

    They’ve got two C-130s at work, for God’s sake.

    There’s your “humanitarian mission.”

  • Lowry excerpted the Times yesterday on what’s being thrown at Libya.

  • nuke em from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

  • Any civilian who supports Khaddafi isn’t really a civilian.   Instead of going door to door as Khaddafi threatened in Benghazi (the threat that started the ‘humanitarian action’) we can go block by block from the air over Tripoli.

    • My God, it’s good I trust our military, I certainly do not trust their Commander in Chief.

      • I would be shocked if Obama did not have a special advisor who instructs him on how to shape his instructions to the military so that they will not be resisted.

        This Libya thing got amped up faster than anything I’ve seen. One day we were protecting the proverbial “baby-mild factory,” and the next day we were bombing it, so to speak. Michael Scheuer (former Qaeda specialist at CIA), who I pay attention to but to whom I do not assign total credibility, said today that providing air support for the “rebels” in Libya would is like providing air support for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

        How was it, again, that we started running bombing missions into the wonderful facebook and twitter cherry blossoms of Arab Spring? Pretty impressive footwork by Obama, no? He has himself his own war now, and he’s lovin’ it.

  • See, he wasn’t lying. It was just a secret!

    It was never a “humanitarian mission.” We were taking sides in a civil war with “rebels” who we “know little about.”

    Except, is it conceivable that DIA did not know who the “rebels” were?

    Now we’ll get a song and dance on who they are. Just like we heard that the Muslim Brotherhood, not a problem.

    • I think we need a trained academic professional to explain this to us.

    • We’re already getting a song and dance.  They’re trivializing Al Quada’s participation with the rebels.  I understand the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  But who’s been the bigger enemy to the US in the past decade, Qaddafi or AQ?
      Just think we’re knocking out one regime which had been neutered internationally with one that may make a safe haven for Al Quada so they can launch organized attacks on the West again.  This president it going to exceed Jimmy Carter, midwife to Radical Islam, in foreign policy.

      • No one sane will be saying that when NATO (I’m going to pretend for this moment that those will not be AMERICAN) supply, aid, and support vehicles start mysteriously exploding in what appear to be IED attacks.

        No doubt at first (very likely forever) we’ll hear that was done by Libyan special services working for Khaddafi rather than the guys who loaed the trucks for aid to Tobruk and waved goodbye to them at the gate.

  • Here’s something gobsmackin’ good from Tom Friedman:

    Which is why, most of all, I hope President Obama is lucky. I hope Qaddafi’s regime collapses like a sand castle, that the Libyan opposition turns out to be decent and united and that they require just a bare minimum of international help to get on their feet. Then U.S. prestige will be enhanced and this humanitarian mission will have both saved lives and helped to lock another Arab state into the democratic camp.

    Dear Lord, please make President Obama lucky.

    It’s horrifying that we have a President who really seems to making plans at this level and that even his supporters notice but seem not to realize the horror of the situation and what they are saying.

    • McQ: Just to check, but is luck standard military procedure when it comes to planning?

      Now listen to me closely I’ll endeavor to explain
      What separates a charlatan from a Charlemagne
      A rule confessed by generals illustrious and various
      Though pompous as a Pompey or daring as a Darius
      A simple rule that every good man knows by heart
      It’s smarter to be lucky than it’s lucky to be smart

      — “War is a Science” from “Pippin”

      • There’s an old saying in the military: a well trained army makes its own luck.

        • ‘S true in life as well. But generally one is advised not to plan for luck or to hope for it — unless one is back-to-the-wall desperate and has no choice.

          One can argue for intervening in Libya and one can outline coherent strategies for Libya. But Obama seems to be winging it and praying for luck as Friedman put it.

          Spade: I don’t care what your secrets are. But I can’t go ahead without more confidence in you than I’ve got now. You’ve got to convince me that you know what this is all about, that you aren’t just fiddling around, hoping that it will all come out right in the end.Brigid: Can’t you trust me a little longer?

          — The Maltese Falcon

      • Napoleon is alledged to have said that he preferred lucky generals over skillful ones. He has a point.

        • Guess some generals weren’t very lucky the day d’Erlon marched 1st corp back and forth between Quatre Bras and Ligny.

    • See my comment down at the bottom of the Ed Schultz thread proceeding this one.

      You’re watching an acceleration of “increasing the contradictions.”

      • And note that I’m talking about Obama, while the person I’m responding to was referring to Schultz. That was my stupid mistake, but the comment stands as my technical analysis of what Obama really is.

  • I felt almost from day one, that what should have been done is break all of “the colonel’s” toys.  Break the planes, break the runways, break the tanks and the artillery, and put both sides on a level playing field and make sure that neither side, whichever one still stood had those toys to use against us or our allies.
    What ended up happening is a huge waste of resources and time, and in my opinion cynical because of the fuel shipments to europe.  This seems much more a war for oil than Iraq, after all Iraq is selling a lot more oil to china than to us right now.

    • Libya wouldn’t constitute much of a conventional threat, if any at all.

      In it’s conception as a “humanitarian mission” this action, with that limited objective, maybe made sense, but even that is not clear (because it’s not clear what the conflict in Libya is really about and the media cover that it’s just more Arab Spring is ridiculous, in my opinion).

      With what it has become, inclusive of the “get Qaddafi” element, the specific purpose is not discernible. I have no doubt that there is a purpose, but it’s not “ours,” as in an American purpose, like the one Obama tried to invoke in his speech. It is Obama’s war for his purpose, which I think is generally to “increase the contradictions,” but to what specific purpose, that is unclear, but if I were to guess it would be something fit for a nightmare.

      • Where does incompetence fit though? I concur on Obama’s leftist instincts and overall plan. But I also consider him a lazy, not too smart, and not too focused person driven by simple needs for praise and distraction.

        • The competency question is a key one, and I think the way to understand it is that Obama is unconcerned with any judgement about his competency based in “bourgeois principles.” In other words, he doesn’t care. His competency is that he has power. He is competent at that and at what he is doing with that power, and you are not in a position to understand that because of your “false consciousness.”

          What I’m saying is that once you start taking him in the orthodox Marxist terms that he thinks in, then it starts to clear up. The only thing left to discern after that are his hidden goals, the specific goals. The general goal is “increasing the contradictions.” So, in our normative terms, nothing Obama does makes all that much sense. In Marxist terms he’s trying to make things worse so that the collapse of bourgeois institutions and values will accelerate the movement toward socialism.

          I think he will move very quickly now because he understands that re-election, however much the fix can be in, is not guaranteed.

          And I think he has big plans for America between now and his potential defeat for re-election. Libya is a part of that.

      • Its not about increasing the contradictions, here.  That is part of his fundamental PR shielding, yes.  But his actions everywhere in the middle east have been about setting the stage for a unifier.  Or more likely to oppose governments that are nationalists.  Or more appropriately, someone who would oppose regional unification or alliance.
        Muslim Brotherhood want to establish theocratic domination over the region.  They are a bunch or great guys who deserve an opportunity to rule
        Iran wants to expand Islam and its influence to other countries.   So it can slaughter its opposition groups at will and might get a verbal voice of disappointment from Obama at worst.
        Syria is Iran’s lackey and are free to mow down their opposition without US intervention.
        Even Saddam wanted to unify the region under his boot.  And Obama proudly lets it be known he didn’t support the war to remove him.
        Those are all organization or countries that want to unify the region under one flavor of dictatorial control or another.  And the all should be left alone or allowed to prosper according to Obama.
        Meanwhile the countries that might even make alliances of convenience with those forces or not, but ultimately would never want to abdicate independence to a unifying force get thrown under the Bus.  Countries like Israel, Egypt, and Lybia.

        • You’d almost wonder if he wanted to set the stage for a Caliphate, but I don’t believe that’s it.
          Most of us, especially those of us posting here, have a vision of a happy world to be a mosaic of independent nations that live and let live with each other.  Or work together voluntarily when necessary.
          Obama would revile that scenario.  He’s an internationalist or even a trans-nationalist.  He would rather see a world where forces were trying to erode national boundaries, even if it would be a world of bloodshed and misery.
          And all his contradictions align under support for that trans national vision and oppose the independent mosaic model that the US generally supported in its history (with some exceptions resulting from fighting the cold war).

          • And I have to wonder if that’s why the Left turned on Israel.  I used to be it was because Israel backed away from socialism to a degree.  Coincidentally, socialism in its incarnations (specifically soviet communism) has been another path to trans-nationalism.  But now I believe it isn’t because of that back away from socialism itself.
            In addition to traditional antisemitism, its because Israel is the one state in the middle east that will never relinquish its independence and autonomy.  Even if their relationship with their neighbors was wonderful, Israel would never give that up.  The Left has realized this.  So now Israel is on the sh*t list.

        • I can’t respond to all of that, but the important thing to know, I think, is that what Obama is doing is not specifically about the Islamic world, whatever the impact it has there.

          Here is what I believe is the central fact about Obama: He is the most powerful man in the world and he is now in charge of the revolution. He has always believed in the revolution, and he intends to prosecute it to its fullest. That’s going to include as much destruction of the bourgeois world and of bourgeois ideology as he can manage. And he probably feels that his goals have to be met before the 2012 election, because there is a good chance that he would not be re-elected.

          He is accelerating his pace. That’s the way to understand why this Libya thing took off the way it did. Why he needed to get in the middle of the dangerous turmoil of the “Arab Spring.” There’s just so much potential there to unleash violence and unleash class struggle. And there’s great potential domestically as well, with the uprising of the public employee unions, including police unions.

  • And…now we find out – casualty report
    should be interesting to see how mister thoughtful addresses what was predictable and inevitable.