Let’s Not “Nation Build” in Libya

Since late March, when the United States – along with several of its NATO allies — decided to become militarily involved in internal Libyan political affairs, our government has spent more than $1.0 billion trying to remove strongman Muammar Qaddafi from power. Although Libya remains in turmoil, it appears the Army Colonel who had ruled this oil-rich, north African nation for more than four decades, no longer controls the levers of power. 

Before Washington and its European allies pop too many bottles of champagne, one might ask legitimately just what our efforts and tax dollars have really accomplished. 

The potential gains for some of those European countries, especially Italy which has roots in Libya going back a century, are clearer than for the U.S.  Oil is the key.  Of Libya’s pre-conflict daily production of some 1.8 million barrels of oil, almost all flowed to Europe.  Italy’s scandal-plagued President, Silvio Berlusconi, reportedly is already negotiating with the coalition claiming to now control the reins of government in Tripoli. 

For Washington, the fallout from the battle over control of Libya is unclear at best.  The inconsistencies in America’s treatment of Qaddafi – from international pariah to friend (under the Administration of George W. Bush) and then back to outcast, within the space of just a few years – are at least partly to blame for this uncertainty.  Questions also have been raised about whether Washington really understands the tribal-based political culture still prevalent in Libya.  

While the Libyan National Transitional Council has neither the hold on power nor the presence of a strongman that would form the basis for tyrannical rule such as exercised by Qaddafi, elements of radical Islam clearly are present.  And, thanks in large measure to relentless NATO air strikes over the past five months, Libya’s already fragile infrastructure has been further weakened.  In such an environment, leaders with despotic tendencies can find ready support. 

We can only hope Obama resists the urge to send in American “peace-keeping” forces to help rebuild the country; Afghanistan and Iraq provide clear examples of why such a policy invariably becomes an expensive tar baby.  Perhaps even more important, let’s keep our fingers crossed that another colonial viceroy like Paul Bremer – air dropped into Baghdad by the Bush Administration in the immediate aftermath of our 2003 military occupation of Iraq — is not tapped to completely muck things up in Libya. 

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

31 comments Add your comment

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Gerald West

August 26th, 2011
6:57 am

Right, Bob! We have tried foreign nation-building, and failed every time: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Have you noticed that the USA is not only falling behind, but also falling apart? Let’s spend our excess trillions of dollars on nation-building in our own backward, deprived areas: Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, West Virginia, and rural Georgia and Texas.


August 26th, 2011
7:58 am


August 26th, 2011
7:58 am

I hope our Country has enough sense to not get involved in any nation-building in Libya. Unfortunately, our past history indicates our Leadership is filled with people who are convinced we are God’s gift to the world and must spread our way of life to as many countries as possible, whether these countries want us there or not. And, of course, let’s not forget the Corporate-Military-Industrial-Complex, who will make a huge amount of profit in any peace-keeping and/or nation-building we attempt in Libya.

Joe the Plutocrat

August 26th, 2011
8:48 am

Bob, you can’t have one (military action) without the other (nation-building). the latter is why we initiate the former. what is a “nation”? in the US, the “nation” (government and citizens) exist to be both employees and customers of the oligarchs (private business owners). this is not a pro-socialist view by any means, but rather an acknowledgment that ALL foreign policy is designed to “build” nations like ours (economically speaking). since man left the cave we have explored, conquered and subjegated in order to “trade”. again, I’m, not saying this is good or bad (or left or right), but it is generally our M.O. to “destroy a nation in order to save it.”

the original and still the best John Galt

August 26th, 2011
10:19 am

Making Libya safe for the western oli companies has been the plan all along, and it’s likely that The Messiah Barack The Chosen One, the Magnificent and All Knowing, has been drawing down the forces in the other Middle East quagmires so that he has enough troops to occupy Libya.

the original and still the best John Galt

August 26th, 2011
10:22 am

Excuse the typo, read “western oil companies.”

Hillbilly D

August 26th, 2011
10:42 am

I agree; let the Europeans do it. It’s their backyard and I have a feeling this thing is far from over.

farm boy

August 26th, 2011
10:43 am

We actually now less about Libya than we did about Iraq, when we went in there. Expect mayhem.


August 26th, 2011
11:01 am

Rock on Carlos! Great point.


August 26th, 2011
11:18 am

Instead of going in as a “peacekeeping” effort, why don’t we just do a full on violent mass invasion and take what we want? That way military contractors get massives amounts of money for the war effort, and the US gets what it really want, all of Libya’s oil. This tactic is must more effective than that “nation building” crap being touted to the world.

Junior Samples

August 26th, 2011
11:23 am

we should ‘privitize’ nation building, what could go wrong?

the guy

August 26th, 2011
11:40 am

We need to withdraw about $1B worth of oil out of Libya to cover the costs of our intervention, then pull out entirely.


August 26th, 2011
12:13 pm

Exactly. We have no legitimate reason (in the interest of the Republic) to be in Libya or ANY of the middle east. Contrary to the NeoCON rhetoric, there’s no (American) “freedoms” being “defended” in the middle east. Our troops are there to serve the Globalist agenda.


August 26th, 2011
1:05 pm

NATO Targets Syria After Libya for Regime Change

With globalist restructuring plans for the Middle East and North Africa looking to be nearly complete, one major hurdle remains. After a relatively easy path to victory in Tunisia and Egypt, and with the project to dismantle and re-privatise the Libyan state nearly complete, only Syria remains as the last serious contender for resistance against a globalist effort to dominate the greater region.

[W]estern media consumers can firstly expect a trial by media of Assad, followed by more Western-backed provocateur actions within the country designed to sway international opinion in favour of international sanctions, a UN Resolution, followed by a No Fly Zone, coupled with a protracted NATO bombing campaign, and finally capped off ultimately by a “regime change” in Syria.

The story by now, should be a familiar one. As with Libya, top analysts have concluded that the recent Syrian unrest was planned many months ago, and has since been seized upon by the western media. It is not surprising here that unrest in that country has been both financed and driven mainly by a foreign agents of influence, and not true reform seekers as is depicted in the western mainstream press.

As with the technique used in Libya, the western PR machine will then spin the story that Assad’s forces opened fire on “peaceful protesters” and therefore rendered illegitimate as a ruling government in that country. This PR effort is then helped along by digital trending using social networks like Twitter, with the majority of regime change activity being posted in English language format.

It’s all a big racket.


August 26th, 2011
1:13 pm



farm boy

August 26th, 2011
1:47 pm

The tribal situation in Libya is a wild card here. I love how some bloggers think they understand how these tribes will interact when they think nobody’s looking. Expect chaos.

JF McNamara

August 26th, 2011
2:20 pm

$1B isn’t even worth worrying about at this point. Lets stay out of it.

Not to be the PC police, but you might not want to use “Tar Baby” even in the proper context as you have.


August 26th, 2011
2:49 pm

Too late BOB. Nation-building and appropriating oil are the only reasons we are there at all. I mean if we cared about brutal dictatorships we would have helped in Syria, Rwanda, Israel, and others. Not that I think we should, but if people rather than oil actually mattered….


August 26th, 2011
5:38 pm

“We can only hope Obama resists the urge to send in American “peace-keeping” forces to help rebuild the country;…”

Bob, the correct terminology is “advisers”. Thousands of names on the VietNam War wall in D.C. were “advisers”. The 50,000 U.S. combat troops still in Iraq…”advisers”.

farm boy

August 26th, 2011
6:31 pm

Lets not nation build in Labia. No Fatah Chicks!!!


August 27th, 2011
8:04 am

See caslosgvv above–he’s so right!

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blog soup

August 28th, 2011
12:20 pm

what a total embarrassment for the AJC lives in the person of Jay Bookman. He would trade one or two Al Queda terrorists for the thousands lost on 911, and he’d call that a win. Then, to declare victory when we know not about what attacks are in motion now is supreme folly. Worse, his replies to contrarians on his pathetically oblivious blog prove he’s nothing more than an arrogant traitor, (and an misguided jargon-mongerer, and, of course, an idiot.) It’s possible to be a bigger horse’s patoot, but I’ve not seen it in fifty years.


August 28th, 2011
4:11 pm

Bob…good points…but watch that tar baby reference…you’ll have Al and Jesse and MSNBC all over you. Referencing K’dafi and Libya…the worst foreign policy decisions the USA has made in the last 40 years have been centered in the Middle East: 1)Carter getting rid of the Shah which helped turned loose the Islamic crazies in Iran, 2)George W. getting rid of Saddam Hussein who was the 600-lb. gorilla between Israel and Iran, 3)Obama getting rid of Mubarek and K’dafi which will now destabilize the entire northern peninsula of Africa and the oil fields…poor Israel is really in the cross hairs now. Why does this country always stick someone in power or befriend a dictator and pour billions into their sorry country, then turn around and spend billions throwing them out?? And has it dawned on anyone that since 1988, this country has been run by Ivy League-educated Presidents…how’s all that been working out??


August 28th, 2011
8:15 pm

You know, Howard, actually, your historical analyisis is not just ignorant of the 911 awakening of all of us about radical Islam, but to bring up saddam Hussein as some sort of canary in the mine shaft is proof that you are from the bookman blog, and thus a total and complete and self-actualized idiot from hell, and tell bookman he can kiss and suck my boney, hairy white patoot and I don’t even mind if he deep tongues, because he is the journalistic equivalent of maggot droppings.

and thad’s just a natural born fact, jack.

Have a nice day.


August 28th, 2011
10:22 pm

Jay Bookma is an idiot.


August 28th, 2011
10:28 pm

Jay Bookman: I charge him formally with social-engineering, that is the macro-media-infusion of the zeitgeist-level delusion that there are only two points of view: the conserative-Right vs the Liberal Left, which throughout history has produced a flatulence that conforms to poll-mongering demogoguery which in every case has accompanied every single traditional campaign.

Blog Soup

August 28th, 2011
10:48 pm

Jay Bookman has deleted all of the comments on his blog from a lone commenter, who apparently has gleaned the enmity of every single one of his trolls. Whenever this guy comments, and I mean this guy is hilarious, and wins nearly every single debate with sheer comic genius, Jay Bookman is alerted that he has commented and then all of his comments are deleted.

Luckily for me, I was visiting Jay Bookman while much of the latest exchanges were taking place. The trolls actually brought up five or ten year old comments from the commenter. It was like they have been waiting years to respond with the same ubiquitously-obsolete “take your meds” reply that embarrassed the blog five or ten years ago.

On his blog, he has trolls who patrol for differing opinions, which are usually expertly-expressed. These cultists somehow report to him within seconds by tweet or sexting or facebook. Thus alerted, Jay responds by deleting all of the contrarian opinions. Jay is a book-burner as guilty as Der Heetler.

Doesn’t Jay Bookman’s behavior match the clinical definition of a delusional-sociopath leading bipolar-psychopaths? I mean, hasn’t anyone majored in Psych in College out there?

It’s so obvious to even a casual observer. isn’t it?

Blog Soup

August 28th, 2011
10:51 pm

Oh, and do I have to remind Jay Bookman about the deep and wide spaces out there that exist where the sun don’t shine?

Richard D

August 29th, 2011
11:34 am

Harry @ 10:28: You made me lol. It’s so true.