Military action against Qaddafi rests on shaky ground

When President Ronald Reagan ordered American F-111 fighter-bombers, assisted by F-18 and A-6E fighters, to strike at Libyan targets in April 1986, he did so based on strong and clear evidence that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s government had directly ordered the bombing 10 days earlier of a night club in Berlin in which U.S. servicemen were killed. In other words, it was a surgical strike against government installations in a country linked directly to contemporaneous terrorist action against American personnel. It was a successful military operation, even though Qaddafi had been warned of the impending strike by one of his diplomatic supporters, and was able personally to escape the bombs by a matter of minutes.

Now, almost precisely a quarter century later, another American president apparently is contemplating military action of sorts against the very same foreign leader. This time, however, the reason for military action is far more vague — amorphous, even — and therefore far less likely to achieve an identifiable and defensible result if carried out.

Here are a few relevant facts. Fact — civil unrest in Libya is mounting; by some accounts, the country is in the throes of a civil war. Fact — Muammar Qaddafi continues to use force to defend against opposition forces seeking to oust him from power. Fact — some people already have died as a result of the violence in Libya. Fact — Libya’s long-serving leader rules with an iron, though not always even, hand. Fact — Libyans enjoy few of the civil or political liberties we enjoy in the United States. Fact — Muammar Qaddafi is not, at least by most accounts, a nice guy. Fact — many Libyans don’t care much for the United States. Fact — Libya poses no meaningful military threat to the United States. Fact — we are not at war with Libya. And, fact — there appears to be no evidence directly linking the Libyan government to any recent terrorist actions against the United States or American personnel.

So why are there reports that the Administration of President Barack Obama is contemplating creating and enforcing a “No-Fly Zone” over the country of Libya, or taking other military action against the country? Establishing and enforcing a No-Fly Zone is by any measure, a military action; one that requires the enforcing power to disable the target country’s air defense systems and capability, and then shoot down any unauthorized aircraft in that country’s or that area’s airspace.

While it may be the case that Washington is considering military action against Libya essentially because we just do not, like Qaddafi, no one wants to or would ever admit as much. Therefore, the explanations offered are more lofty; even if far less concrete. Many of the explanations in support of calls for military action against Qaddafi center around, or at least include charges, that the Libyan leader has committed “crimes against humanity?”

“Crimes against humanity?” Neither U.S. nor international law incorporates a single, clear definition of exactly what constitutes such an action. But all seem to include in a definition, the notion of a widespread, systemic practice of atrocities against a large population. U.S. civil law, such as the Alien Tort Statute found in Title 28 of the U.S. Code, invokes language referring to “genocide, large scale raping, torture, enslavement, and human trafficking.” While there seems to be little dispute that Qaddafi is employing military action to defend his regime, and that this has resulted in some deaths, including among those taking up arms against his regime; there is far less evidence, if perhaps any, the government in Tripoli in engaging in systemic and widespread “crimes against humanity,” however.

Even if it there existed a consensus that Qaddafi had committed a crime or crimes against humanity, the question would still remain how does that — or should that — provide a justification for U.S. military action, when the “crimes” are not targeted against the United States or American citizens?

And, while we’re at it, does anyone see a bit of hypocrisy in clamoring for military action against Muammar Qaddafi, when other leaders — such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, who systematically enslaves and starves the population of that country, thereby committing what would appear to be a much clearer “crime against humanity” — do not appear to be current targets of planned military action because of such deeds? In the North Korean leader’s case, in fact, the United States could be seen as complicit in his atrocities because we periodically provide shipments of food aid to North Korea.

Perhaps these inconsistent calls for action against leaders who engage in “crimes against humanity” have something more to do with the relative military power of the target country than with what the leaders are actually doing to their citizenry? Regardless of what’s really going on here in the behind-the-scenes decision-making, taking military action against a regime for reasons that appear thin and poorly-defined, at best — even if the target regime is an international pariah of sorts — does not provide the firm and consistent foundation for military action that serves the United States, or any nation, well in the long run.

By Bob Barr — The Barr Code.

78 comments Add your comment

independent thinker

March 11th, 2011
7:26 am

I agree, let the Arab League nations use that military aid and weapons they get from us to control one of their own. Or is all that American aid strictly to keep dictators in power?

Flush with Flourish

March 11th, 2011
7:49 am

Any military action now would be seen as an attack by the United States against Libya, requiring a full retaliatory response. We would be taking sides in that civil war and then stuck with the bill for rebuilding all the hospitals, Coca-Cola warehouses, and kindergardens we blew up. It would perpetuate the loose-cannon profile that Bush/Cheney earned for Uncle Sam.

Snipits of revolution: Recently Overheard in a Casbah in a moderately-digruntled middle east Fatwa state: “Oh, we better not start protesting or have a sit in or a love in, because the US might blow us all to smithereens. But look, my fellow patriots, If we do start carrying signs and chanting, lets do it near the old soccer stadium so we can get a new one.”

I mean, lets bend the truth like Glenn Beck(ham).

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
7:50 am

Good morning all. I respectfully dispute one foundation argument in the essay: “Establishing and enforcing a No-Fly Zone is by any measure, a military action; one that requires the enforcing power to disable the target country’s air defense systems and capability, and then shoot down any unauthorized aircraft in that country’s or that area’s airspace.”

On the contrary, one naval carrier sitting 100 miles off shore has the capability of firing heat seaking missiles fully capable of taking out any aircraft over Tripoli. We do not have to disable any defenses, and we do not have to expose any men to the risks inherent in flying over enemy territory. The only question we have to resolve is whether Qhaddifi shall be allowed to slaughter his way back to power. A simple, moral question.

Flush with Flourish

March 11th, 2011
8:36 am

Seven hundred civilians were killed when we got Noriega. Morality gots nuthin’ to do’s wid it.

moron.

neo-con armchair dumbazz

March 11th, 2011
8:38 am

“The only question we have to resolve is whether Qhaddifi shall be allowed to slaughter his way back to power. A simple, moral question.”

The answer is no.
Only OUR puppet has the right to slaughter his way back to power.(even though Qhaddifi was our puppet as of late).
No Fly Zones are extremely good for business, especially now that Boeing and others are employing federal prisoners to manufactor Patriot misseles and other weapons of “defense”.

Carlosgvv

March 11th, 2011
8:48 am

Our military is streched to the limit already. Common sense says no. Big Business military suppliers say yes. Who will win?

Lee

March 11th, 2011
8:51 am

I agree. We’re already stuck to Iraq like Brer Rabbit and Tarbaby – at a cost of Billions of our treasure and thousands of American lives. The last thing we need is to get involved in another sovereign country’s internal turmoil.

First of all, it is none of our business and 2) we can’t afford it. In case you didn’t notice lately, but this country is bankrupt.

No, it is time to bring our service men and women home from Korea, Phillipines, Japan, Germany, and especially Afghanistan and Iraq. At some point, we must begin to put AMERICA FIRST.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
8:58 am

I note that the leader of the free world is now endorsing air strikes to neutralize the Libyan forces supporting Qhaddifi. And Sarkozy suggests he will act unilaterally.

In the meantime, the US community organizer in chief votes “present.”

the watch dog

March 11th, 2011
9:00 am

I do not see the acts of Muammar Qaddafi rising to the level of “crimes against humanity” certainly not on the level of Nazi atrocities in WW2. It would be an “impairment of sovereignty” for the U.S. to take military action against Lybia. Among peoples whose habit it is to regard peaceful ways of settlement as honorable, to become involved in the affairs of Lybia would run counter to our philosophy.

Let Lybia and its internal chaos run its course. There is no reason for U.S. involvement. There has always been confusion about what international law actually is, International law without military support is meaningless.

roughrider

March 11th, 2011
9:06 am

Who appointed the USA as the world’s policeman?

TBone

March 11th, 2011
9:14 am

Hey Bob are you the only one working at that place? I mean the doors are flying off the outhose all around the world and not a whole lot being said from our flagship of misinformation, the ajc. Reagan was decisive and Obaby licks his finger to see which way the wind is blowing and sends his pants suit of a Secretary of State to rally the world. We are no longer leaders of the free world, merely another player.

BULLSEYE

March 11th, 2011
9:50 am

Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost, and will never lose a war… because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
9:50 am

Ragnar: When did you become an expert at military tactics?

“one naval carrier sitting 100 miles off shore has the capability of firing heat seaking missiles fully capable of taking out any aircraft over Tripoli. We do not have to disable any defenses, and we do not have to expose any men to the risks inherent in flying over enemy territory.”

I believe that the people actually tasked with making such decisions and managing the operations would wholeheartedly disagree with you.

Thankfully, we usually leave the complex decision making to the experts, and allow the simple-minded folk to debate the merits on talk-radio, Fox News, and local newspaper blogs. Every once in a while the simple-minded folk score a victory and we end up with 8 years of adolescent leadership.

Maybe we’ll get lucky this time and the adults can continue…

BW

March 11th, 2011
10:00 am

Thanks McGroots…apparently people think that we have the technology to “fire a heat seeking missile fully capable of taking out any aircraft over Tripoli.” Second more unilateral military intervention? One where we won’t raise taxes to fund it nor require any sacrifice of anyone other than our current military men and women? Sorry Rags….Bush screwed that up so it’s not happening. This is not a simplistic decision….I’d rather him vote “present” then for the US to end up in yet another boondoogle.

TBone

March 11th, 2011
10:05 am

@ McGroots Why is it that all these men of erudition have made things alot worse than the “8 years of adolescent leadership”. At least we can be thankful that that was a period of leadership. All of these ivy league self-idolators are so over their heads in the day to day operations of this country that they won’t admit the harm they are causing in a short period of time. If they are the adults we are in a bit of a sticky wicket.

Ramzad

March 11th, 2011
10:06 am

Only a fool would not see that Gadhafi is another Saddam Hussein in training. In fact the former’s WMD was no supposition or conjecture. His poison gas are not huge vats of Kool-Aid or oxygen for hospitals. There is every reason to attack Gadhafi.

Maybe the plan is to save Gadhafi so the next Republican administration can make an Iraq out of Libya. This is a golden opportunity to get even with a very deplorable human being.
Maybe we can get a new Bush or Cheny’s daughter to fix it so we can get the term “al-Qaeda in Libya” fixed in our national lexicon or we can wait till we have evidence that Libya was responsible for 9/11.

Our national spine has turned to Swiss cheese.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 11th, 2011
10:09 am

Funny, at a time when the rhetoric is “It’s the Economy, Stupid”, the likes of RD want to engage us in a military skirmish that will cost us dearly. Later, Obama would be blamed for intervention without an exit strategy and further diminishing our treasury.

Just another instance of “let’s cut everything across the board….except defense, of course”.

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
10:22 am

TBone: Let me say first that I disagree with your assessment of the situation, but I am willing to listen to your arguments that things are “alot worse”.

Please elaborate.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
10:22 am

Dear McGroot @ 9:50, “Ragnar: When did you become an expert at military tactics?

“one naval carrier sitting 100 miles off shore has the capability of firing heat seaking missiles fully capable of taking out any aircraft over Tripoli. We do not have to disable any defenses, and we do not have to expose any men to the risks inherent in flying over enemy territory.”

I believe that the people actually tasked with making such decisions and managing the operations would wholeheartedly disagree with you.”

Fair question: my son, a Navy O-3, is one of those so tasked. I asked him that question yesterday. He confirmed that it would be a no-brainer for him.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
10:25 am

Dear BW @ 10:00, “Sorry Rags….Bush screwed that up so it’s not happening. This is not a simplistic decision….I’d rather him vote “present” then for the US to end up in yet another boondoogle.”

I think your statement true, that leftists prefer seeing a holocaust of freedom-loving people rather than expending amounts equal to funding of NPR to extinguish the evil.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 11th, 2011
10:34 am

I’d like to ask where exactly in our constitution our government is authorized to fund the extinguishment of evil to benefit freedom-loving people halfway around the world.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
10:39 am

Dear I Know @ 10:34, “I’d like to ask where exactly in our constitution our government is authorized to fund the extinguishment of evil to benefit freedom-loving people halfway around the world.”

If you are asking about funding of NPR, there is no Constitutional authority. As to waging war, Article I Section 8 reads, in relevant part,

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

TBone

March 11th, 2011
10:42 am

@ McGroots Since you seem oblivious to the world around you here are a few observations: since Obaby’s immaculation gas prices have gone from $2.11 to $3.45; unemployment around 10% (everyone knows it’s higher); the middle east is blowed up and we sit on the sidelines; we persist in this ridiculous green energy economic course which has already sunk Spain, and have spent more money than we will ever be able to repay trying to create a social utopia to the detriment of the country. Other than that, I really haven’t seen much improvement in his golf game either.

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
10:42 am

Ragnar: Respectfully, perhaps you should expand your sample beyond a single Naval Lieutenant. If it were that easy, I suspect we would implement the tactic much more frequently than we have. Recent comments made by the Secretary of Defense, past interviews I have heard with more senior officials, and common sense lead me to conclude that it is not so simple.

I could see a carrier-launched heat-seeking missile taking out a fighter here or there and perhaps making life a bit more risky for Libyan pilots, but I doubt that it is an effective strategy for maintaining a sustained, effective no-fly zone.

That said, I am no military expert – this is just my opinon.

Please thank your son for his service, on my behalf.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
10:50 am

Dear McGroots @ 10:42, “If it were that easy, I suspect we would implement the tactic much more frequently than we have. Recent comments made by the Secretary of Defense, past interviews I have heard with more senior officials, and common sense lead me to conclude that it is not so simple.” Fair inquiry. My question to my son arose – not from my own imagined genius – but from an article,
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703386704576186341186182986.html?mod=ITP_opinion_0

I think the essay may be available only to subscribers, but the area of discussion arose from their argument:

“In warning against a no-fly zone, officials like Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have made three critical assumptions. First, that it will necessitate putting combat aircraft over Libyan territory. Second, that protecting those aircraft would require extensive attacks to suppress Libyan air defenses, potentially escalating the conflict. And third, that maintaining a no-fly zone would require a substantial number of aircraft for an indefinite period of time.

“These assumptions are entirely consistent with the lessons learned from the no-fly zones over the Balkans and Iraq, but in Libya an alternative approach may be possible. Call it a “stand-off” no-fly zone.

“Unlike in the Balkans and Iraq, Libya’s most populated cities and airbases are situated near its coastline, with most located less than 10 miles from the shore. In addition, due to the fracturing of the Libyan military, Gadhafi’s forces have limited capability to retaliate. Thus it may be possible to enforce a no-fly zone without putting a single coalition plane directly over Libyan territory.

“This approach would use precision-guided weapons to keep U.S. and allied planes out of range of Libya’s air force and air defenses.

“Rather than putting combat air patrols over Libya, it would employ ships and aircraft operating off the coast. Libyan aircraft violating the no-fly zone could be intercepted using ships armed with SM-2 surface-to-air missiles and fighter aircraft armed with AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, which can hit targets beyond visual range.”

I thought the argument plausible, and that was why I asked my son. Leftists like credentials: he is a flight officer, sits at 40,000 feet working as an air traffic controller for his combat jets, identifying for them opportunities and risks. On his recent deployment he logged 53 sorties and 350 hours in combat zones.

He would appreciate your support, McGroots. Not everyone feels that way.

TBone

March 11th, 2011
10:51 am

@ McGroots Since you seem oblivious to the world around you here are a few observations: national debt though the roof the last few years; unemployment higher than advertised; GM on th verge of bellying up (again); union thugs sinking state economies and a really pitiful golf game that does not appear to be improving despite hours upon hours of hacking golf balls.

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
10:52 am

Ragnar, let’s discuss respect for a moment.

I can only imagine your response if I were to have accused your son, the 0-3, of being a squid who should keep his opinions to his pay grade. I didn’t, and I won’t.

Perhaps you could refrain from accusing leftists of preferring to see “a holocaust of freedom-loving people rather than expending amounts equal to funding of NPR to extinguish the evil”.

It might aid in your understanding to start by respecting some of those leftist’s opinions (note that I did not say agree with), and assuming that maybe they have something to offer to the discussion.

Otherwise, you are always right, they are always wrong, and our Founding Fathers were idiots to have granted them a voice in their own government.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 11th, 2011
10:59 am

Ragnar

Nice try, but the enumerated powers seem to lack any specific reference to extinguishment of evil or supporting freedom-lovers in sovereign nations.

Let the Arab nations police their own. We’re not under any constitutional mandate to be the world’s enforcement agent.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
11:03 am

Dear McGroots @ 10:52, you hold a false assumption, that my contempt for leftist “thought” was sua sponte, rather than in response to the snarky comments subsequent to my 7:50 AM argument.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
11:05 am

Dear I know @ 10:59, the general Constitutional powers of war-making were broad by design, to allow the Executive to respond quickly, with only the Congressional check of the “purse.” You will be amazed to learn that the Founding Fathers did not intend to limit the circumstances under which the government would be allowed to protect its citizenry from external enemies.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
11:08 am

Dear I Know @ various times, is it possible that you are not aware of the history of Libyan attacks against the US during the Qhaddifi regime? It is a petro-State, with both financial resources and the evil-will to injure the US.

SAL GENTILE

March 11th, 2011
11:08 am

We are considered the police of the world, we didn’t ask for the job, it was laid upon us. Surgical strikes might be just what Libya needs right now, the people who aspire to democracy and freedom are begging westerners to get more involved and I’m not so sure sanctions will do it. Gadhafi has no fear of anything ,he needs to leave office and allow someone to take over.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
11:11 am

Trivia question for the community: why the second line of the Marine’s Hymn?

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
11:20 am

TBone: I am not oblivious. I choose however, to look at the big picture.

There is no doubt that the debt is “through the roof”, and I am not wholly unconcerned about this.

However, we are (hopefully) on the tail end of the worst recession in 80 years, and there are a host of economic theories that argue that deficit spending is a valid tactic to take in the effort to right the economy. I agree with this philosophy to some extent, although I’m not sure that it’s appropriate to this level. That said, your point was that ‘these men of erudition have made things alot worse than the “8 years of adolescent leadership”’. The facts do not support this statement.

The National Debt in actual dollars was on a downward track at the end of the Clinton administration. Bush turned that trend around and almost doubled the #. Obama has continued that trend. As a percentage of GDP, however, it tracked downward during almost the entire Clinton administration, upticked somewhat during Bush, but leveled off, and has stayed close to level, rising slightly.

As for unemployment, it spiked at 10.6% in January 2010, and has generally been declining since then. I’m not sure where your “unadvertised” numbers are coming from.

As for GM, I gonna need some backup to your claim. Just because you said it doesn’t make it true.

Your comment about the unions is not worth debating, and I’m tired of research (as evidenced by the diminishing paragraphs).

As for the golf, I hear he’s about a 20-handicapper. I’d say that’s not bad given the fact that everything he hits must go left!

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 11th, 2011
11:21 am

But RD, how in the world are you connecting the dots between Gadhafi’s rule and a present-day, imminent threat to American security interests?

By the way, I’m keenly aware of our history with Libya, but more particularly, with our recent (Bush era) “friendship” with Libya that was transformative…until the recent uprisings.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 11th, 2011
11:29 am

Refers to the first Barbary War. Similar in many ways to modern times, with the exception that American sailors were held captive by North African Muslim pirates, and the USA was forced to pay a ‘tribute’ of roughly 1/6 of our national budget at the time ($1 million, if you can believe it!).

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
11:37 am

Ragnar: I gotta call BS on your sua spontaneity.

I’ve trolled around these blogs for quite some time, and it seems to be right in line with your well-developed pattern.

And don’t try intimidating me with your Latin legalese! It won’t work…too many lawyers in the family.

(shouldn’t be long now…)

Flush with Flourish

March 11th, 2011
11:45 am

I did like Barr’s nod to the Japanese earthquake with “shakey ground”.

SaveOurRepublic

March 11th, 2011
12:01 pm

Lee @ 8:51 AM EST (3/11) – Very well stated. We should heed the sage advise of Thomas Jefferson & avoid these foreign entanglements. Not only should we avoid Libya, but extract all troops from the Middle East. We need to get out of the business of policing the world.

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 11th, 2011
12:09 pm

From reading this morning’s news report, the time for action may have already passed. Qaddafi appears to be gaining the upper hand. The Western world and the Arab League have stood by and done nothing.

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 11th, 2011
12:10 pm

I thought it was George Washington who said we should “avoid foreign entanglements”, in his Farewell Address.

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
12:11 pm

Ragnar: I should say that I agree that the “stand-off no-fly zone” theory sounds plausible. I’m curious about the authorship of the article, but as I said, I’m tired of research.

Of your 10:50 I just have to say, is it necessary to toss out the “leftists like credentials”? Respect is lacking in debate today…don’t fuel the fire.

Your son’s job sounds interesting and, dare I say it of being in harm’s way, even fun!

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
12:13 pm

It was Washington.

It was Eisenhower who said, “Beware the military-industrial complex”.

…but who listens!

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
12:14 pm

I guess it’s lunchtime.

There’s nobody left to play with…

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama, BEND OVER, here comes the CHANGE!

March 11th, 2011
12:20 pm

Way to go Bob – You appear to be back on track. :)

old shoes

March 11th, 2011
12:48 pm

beck predicted the quake

Flush with Flourish

March 11th, 2011
12:53 pm

In the wake of the Japanese Earthquake, the GOP wants to intern in camps all Japanese Americans . You know, just in case.

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

March 11th, 2011
12:53 pm

Good essay Barr. I would also point out that Arab countries are not in favor of foreign military intervention.

The League of Arab Nations should request whatever support they need from the UN Security Council and NATO. Meanwhile, the US should (continue?) to send munitions, humanitarian aid, etc to the rebels via the Saudi’s or other allied channels.

President Obama is showing the appropriate level leadership which one must assume is in large part driven in conjuction with the wise counsel he receives from Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, the JCS and other experts at his disposal in these type matters.

old shoes

March 11th, 2011
12:56 pm

beck warned us the ocean is mad at 60’s radicals….

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
1:03 pm

Sorry TBone. I missed your 10:42. It’s hard to keep up with RD. However…

It is either naive or intellectually dishonest to argue that a short term increase in gas prices is the President’s fault. I say “the President’s” because the same thing happened during Bush’s term, and I did not hold him responsible either; although many others did. This is not to say that the Prez’s policies aren’t a contributing factor, but you would be crediting him with much more direct influence than I think is warranted.

The Middle East has been “blowed up” since the dawn of time, and whether we sit on the sidelines or not hasn’t really made any difference. (I do have a theory on the solution to the problem – but that’s another topic)

As for the “ridiculous green energy economic course”, I like to think that the current administration is taking a visionary course, rather than burying it’s head in the oil-soaked sand.

There are some that argure that peak-oil has come and gone. Whether it has come and gone or not is a matter of debate. Whether the concept exists or not is not. Fossil fuels are a finite resource and we will eventually have to find another way. The sooner we get on board that train, the more likely it is that we will own the train, rather than be shoveling coal for the Chinese.

I think it’s doom-and-gloom to suggest that we have “spent more money than we will ever be able to repay trying to create a social utopia to the detriment of the country”. Leaving aside the politics for a moment, while the numbers seem staggering, the current debt is not an unmanageable figure. Additionally, you can’t lay all of it at Obama’s feet without closing your eyes to reality.

Are there any other Fox/EIB Network company lines you’d like to tow?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
1:04 pm

Dear I Know @ 11:21, “how in the world are you connecting the dots between Gadhafi’s rule and a present-day, imminent threat to American security interests? By the way, I’m keenly aware of our history with Libya, but more particularly, with our recent (Bush era) “friendship” with Libya that was transformative…until the recent uprisings.”

Every fact you affirm is true. “How I connect” however is that which is eternal, “character.” The US invasion of Iraq undoubtedly terrified Qhaddafi, and while it motivated good behavior for a period – seemingly only until our current president engaged his world-wide apology tour – the dictator has equally-clearly reverted to form.

Dear McGroot @ 11:37, “I gotta call BS on your sua spontaneity.” You wound me to the core. I begin each day with the assumption that leftists have changed form, and I am always disappointed.
Re: 12:11, “leftists like credentials,” I don’t really perceive that as epithet, although I admit I am not above hurling epithets where appropriate. I have never encountered a leftist who did not argue against logic with a “who’s your daddy?” argument. For relevant example, earlier today someone asked me, “When did you become an expert at military tactics?” To arrest such regular concerns arising from my lefitst friends, I now willingly and readily cite source for ideas not my own, and I cite basis for expertise where I rely on testimony (or in rare cases from my own vast experience. The “vast” part is conservative self-deprecating humor.) “Your son’s job sounds interesting and, dare I say it of being in harm’s way, even fun!” I agree, I envy my younger son. He is everything I wish I were

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
1:05 pm

Are there a lot of 60’s radicals hiding out in Japan?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
1:09 pm

Dear McGroots @ 12:11, “I’m curious about the authorship of the article, but as I said, I’m tired of research.” I should have anticipated your curiosity, as leftists always want credentials.

Mr. Thomas is vice president for studies and Mr. Cooper is a senior research analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
1:19 pm

Ragnar: Regarding your 1:04

“Re: 12:11, “leftists like credentials,” I don’t really perceive that as epithet, although I admit I am not above hurling epithets where appropriate. I have never encountered a leftist who did not argue against logic with a “who’s your daddy?” argument. For relevant example, earlier today someone asked me, “When did you become an expert at military tactics?” To arrest such regular concerns arising from my lefitst friends, I now willingly and readily cite source for ideas not my own, and I cite basis for expertise where I rely on testimony (or in rare cases from my own vast experience. The “vast” part is conservative self-deprecating humor.) ”

I can’t argue with that!

I’m not sure that I can even deconstruct this composition sufficiently to figure out exactly what you’ve said.

If nothing else, we can agree on the merits of self-deprecating humor.

Regarding your son – Congratulations!

Who says you don’t get second chances in life!

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
1:27 pm

What is it that right-wingers want, in the absence of wanting credentials?

SaveOurRepublic

March 11th, 2011
1:30 pm

Hillbilly Deluxe & McRoots, good catch. I think Jefferson echo’d Washington’s sentiments by stating…

“Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.”.

Randy

March 11th, 2011
1:40 pm

Ragnar Danneskjöld: You need to do some research before you talk about the capabilities of an aircraft carrier and the aircraft/weapons/tactics that are needed to enforce a no-fly zone. Heat-seeking missiles have a range of about 2 miles. Radar missiles around 30. To actually patrol, intercept and prevent a country from flying is aircraft you have to get up-close, and that means going to where they are. Of course you have to take down, and continue to suppress the air defenses. If you have never been a part of this process (and I have, many times) you have no idea of how complex, costly and difficult it is. This is not a video game.

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
1:46 pm

Randy, what are your credentials?

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Randy

March 11th, 2011
1:58 pm

I flew in U.S. Naval aircraft over Iraq and Bosnia during the periods those no-fly zones were active, and I worked at USCENTCOM helping to monitor the Iraqi no-fly zone.

McGroots

March 11th, 2011
2:03 pm

Yes, yes…but do you believe in self-deprecating humor.

In all seriousness – Thank you for your service!

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

March 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

And as a past War Planner on the USCINCPAC staff, I can tell you that with 2 wars in progress, ANY type of force deployment exercise must be clearly planned and prioritized against current events.

Randy

March 11th, 2011
2:16 pm

McGroots: I used to believe in self-deprecating humor, but I don’t think I have it in me anymore….;-)

Thanks for the thanks, but anyone who has been there will tell you it was our pleasure.

Flush with Flourish

March 11th, 2011
2:23 pm

Do any of you geologists and oceanographers realize that if that Jap Sunami collides with the regular ebb and flow of the lunar tide at exactly the wrong moment it could create a wave so huge that it would sink not just Hawaii, but the entire Alleutian Archipelago. The only remedy would be to have a national flush. If all 300 americans flush their toilets at the exact RIGHT moment, we could absorb the hit and diminish the damage from the wave.

If not, we’re finished.

TBone

March 11th, 2011
2:30 pm

Let’s see I teach physics and I think it will take more than 300 toilets; especially if they are of the low flow variety.

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 11th, 2011
2:40 pm

I have a septic tank and I fail to understand how flushing my toilet is going to affect anybody but me, in the short term.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
2:49 pm

Dear McGroots @ 1:27, “What is it that right-wingers want, in the absence of wanting credentials?” The difference goes to the core of our ideologies. Leftists believe in the “Superman,” that some individuals are superior leaders by virtue of their backgrounds, and that the rabble should yield to the leadership. Conservatives are less respectful of the genius of the individual, believing that all men are flawed, and are more likely to parse the program of any overlord.

Dear Randy @ 1:40, good afternoon, you err in assuming I did no research. I outlined my research in the several posts today. I know enough to know that I don’t know what weapons exist in our arsenal today; I know enough to know that my son knows what weapons he has at his disposal. I also know that I don’t ask my son about what weapons he has at his disposal. The “heat seeking” argument – to the extent that my adjective is possibly wrong – is my own error. For all I know my son shoots spitballs at the enemy.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 11th, 2011
2:54 pm

Dear Randy @ 1:40, the most accurate affirmative representation I should make is that I presented the Thomas-Cooper argument to my son, and I asked if this would work. He said this is within his mainstream capacities. He did tell me that he had minor quibbles with some specifics of the essay, but that the core argument was sound.

killerj

March 11th, 2011
3:40 pm

Roberto

March 11th, 2011
4:08 pm

Hey old shoes,

If you listened to Beck ( and heeded the financial advice) back in ‘08–before the big crash–you saved yourself a whole lot of money. He was practically pleading with people to get their money out of the market.

I wish I would have heeded.

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Flush with Flourish

March 12th, 2011
2:50 pm

Atomic Bomb Footage

March 13th, 2011
3:16 pm

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[...] Continue reading Military action against Qaddafi rests on shaky ground…. Tweet [...]

[...] Continue reading Military action against Qaddafi rests on shaky ground…. [...]

[...] Continue reading Military movement opposite Qaddafi rests on unsure ground…. [...]

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