Sunday, May 1, 2011

We have seen This Movie Before

As the action in Libya heats up some of our good old politicians have weighed on what we should do to aide the rebel cause. Now I do think that we as the United States of America must make sure that the civilian residents of Libya are protected but we should not get overly involved in military conflicts. Our Armed Forces are too spread out as it is with trying to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq and need to focus in those areas. We do not need to take on conflicts that are not directly linked to our national defense.

President Obama himself has said that he wanted to use U.S. power to prevent Qadhafi from killing his own civilians, not to topple Qadhafi from power. He also says that the United States "had the ability to stop Qadhafi's forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground." But you would have to think that his Republican counterparts have a different opinion on how the United States should handle this situation.

After Senator (R-Ariz) John McCain's recent trip to Libya and his meeting with rebel leaders. After his surprise visit to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi he urged greater American involvement in the bloody movement to remove longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The Arizona Senator believes that predator drones would increase NATO's capability in the war-torn country, but there still would be a shortfall in assets needed to break a "significant degree of stalemate." He also wants the free world to recognize the Transitional National Council as the legitimate voice Libya. At this point Senator McCain has officially chosen a side in a civil war. This not just coming from any old Senator, McCain is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Also echoing the sentiments of Senator McCain are some of his allies in the Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Liberman (I-Conn) believe that we need to get deeper involved in Libya.
Despite the warnings of our Commander and Chief who says that “To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq,” Obama said. “Regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.” President Obama is on the right track because disposing of a leader and occupation of a country is much more than just taking them on in physical battle. What President also does not mention but I will touch on is that we have taken sides in conflicts in other countries that have not worked out well for us. Most of these conflicts in the past were based on which side the faction chose in the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. If the rebels supported the US democracy movement we decided to give them a helping hand.

Hey Remember These 2 Guys , They Used to be our Friends too
We had some experience supporting rebel and opposition forces in civil wars and it has not worked out in our favor. Not saying that supporting the Libyan forces will end as disastrous as others but lets take a look at our past encounters.

Saddam Hussein Takes Power in Iraq
A lot of you know Saddam Hussein as the 5th President of Iraq who was executed in December of 2006 after the United States removed him from power. But well before Mr. Hussein was caught hiding in ditches and his palaces raided by US forces he was an ally. Saddam was one of the main leaders of the revolutionary Ba'ath Party that spread a message of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.

The revolutionary sentiment of the Ba'ath was characteristic of the era in Iraq, Syria and Egypt during Saddam's youth. The Ba'ath Party in Iraq came to power following a military coup on 17th July 1968. Saddam played a big part in the 1968 bloodless coup that allow the party to take long term control over Iraq. What we do not talk about is that the United States helped support this coup. The U.S. assisted the 1963 Iraqi coup by Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was financially.
Saddam took official control over Iraq in 1979 and shortly after began a war with his neighboring Iran. The was had gotten pretty heated battles after 1980 in mostly a ground war. Iraq's troops began to suffer losses from ground attacks by Iran. By 1982, Iraq was on the defensive and looking for ways to end the war. This led to the usage of chemical weapons like nerve gas on his own people. These chemical weapons were developed by Iraq from materials and technology supplied primarily by West German companies and France sold 25 billion dollars worth arms to Hussein. They also had gotten diplomatic, military and financial aid from the United States. The military aid included weapons, training in espionage and counter intelligence. Iraqi military personnel received various types of guidance from their American counterparts on U.S. soil, with the elite Iraqi guard training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The war ended in 1988 with a cease fire agreement between the 2 Arab nations.

The Iran Contra Affair

During the Iraq vs Iran war the United States did not just get involved by helping put Iraq. In November of 1986 we learned that the United States government sold weapons to the Iranians. During the Ronald Reagan presidency, senior Reagan Administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran the subject of an arms embargo at the time. The U.S officials involved hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow government agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Reagan would contend that he had no knowledge of this going on but most intelligence says that he did. Pretty much at the end of the day Oliver North was left holding the bag.

Osama takes on Russia
Some of you may know of our public enemy number 1, Osama Bin Laden. The leader of Al Qadea the top terrorist organization in the world. The Saudi born terror leader most widely recognized for the September 11th attacks in New York city. He has also coordinated many other attacks on US military bases and US Embassies. Before that Osama worked with United States and received support from the CIA.
In Afghanistan there was 9 year war between the Soviet Union backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and the indigenous Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers(rebels). The government had a pro-poor, pro-farmer and socialistic agenda which led to its alliance with the Soviet Union. All of this took place during the 1979 - 1988 time line that a lot of the other conflicts took place. The US viewed the conflict in Afghanistan as a key Cold War struggle, and the CIA provided assistance to rebel forces through Pakistan Intelligence, in a program called Operation Cyclone. In early 1979, U.S. foreign service officers began meeting insurgent leaders to determine their needs. This brought in the Afghan Arabs, foreign fighters who wished to wage Jihad against the atheist communists. Of course one of the key leaders in this group was a young Saudi named Osama Bin Laden.

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