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Military Madness

World Affairs, National Issues, National Security

Obama, the French, the English and some unspecified Arab countries (are there any left with governments?), with the strangely enthusiastic acquiescence of the UN, have launched a military attack to establish a no-fly zone (at first) against the legal government of the sovereign nation of Libya in support of a ragtag, polyglot bunch of rebels who were getting the stuffing beat out of them by government forces. Question: WHAT IS OUR INTEREST IN LIBYAN AFFAIRS??

We get not one drop of oil from the 2% of the world's supply produced by Libya, although the Europeans get much of their oil from there. Are we once again saving their bacon? The nonsense about humanitarian purpose to prevent evil Muammar Gaddafi from massacring innocent civilians--well actually they're rebels trying to bring down the government--is an obvious smokescreen for something else. But frankly, I have no clue what that is, except for a nagging and scary suspicion. (Later.)

First, let's dispel the fiction about an international coalition with the French, English and unspecified Arabs--who at last call seem to be wimping out--sharing the load of this no-fly zone establishment, involving bombing and cruise missilling Gaddafi's military installations. No one but us has the capability and equipment to do this, so 90% of the load will be on us--our aircraft, our cruise missiles, our precision munitions, our ISR capability.

The problem with this is our air strength is stretched to--and in some cases, beyond--the breaking point, due largely to extreme overuse in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars following Kosovo. Our attack aircraft are on average over 26 years old and well beyond their design lives, except for the F-22 Raptor procured at half the needed quantity and then procurement was canceled by Obama. Our tankers are 50 years old and our tactical airlift (transports) are too few and in some cases (e.g. the C-130 Hercules other than the J-model) as much as 60+ years old. Tanker maintenance on our ancient workhorse KC-135's is becoming a serious problem due to fatigue-related deterioration.

So now we add Libya to the Obama war catalog. We are indeed nuts, or are we? Some conservative commentators have suggested that Obama does not like the military and is not supportive of American exceptionalism and superpower status. The main reason for that status is our military which is unparalleled in its capabilities and skill. The Defense Department budget has been cut by the Administration, with the Air Force taking the brunt of the cuts. If the purpose is--and I'm not saying it is--to cut us down to size by degrading our military strength through overstress and overuse, then this is the way to do it.

Finally, if we succeed in bringing down Gaddafi's government and driving him from the country, who or what takes its place? Are we embarking on yet another exercise in regime change and nation building, on top of Iraq and Afghanistan? How long is this going to take? Another 10 years? How many of our boys' lives will be lost to Gaddafi's supporters gone underground like Saddam's in Iraq while we nation build, which will require boots on the ground? And has anyone noticed how fast this all happened??

We are already overcommitted around the world. I 'm beginning to think we should let the world take care of itself, bring everyone home and let other countries take care of their own affairs. If human rights are violated, why is that our problem? Let the UN do it if they're so concerned, but without us. Why do we need to prop up other nations with our foreign aid money? Let them sink or swim on their own. (Humanitarian aid in the event of a natural disaster is an exception.)

 We don't need anyone. Repeat, WE DON'T NEED ANYONE! We have everything we need right here at home if only we have the sense and will to use it. Let's junk NAFTA and set up tariffs that level the playing field of workers' wages. If the WTO doesn't like it, tough. We really don't need BMW's. If you don't want to build it here then pay the tariff.

Yes, that's isolationism. I think it just may be an idea whose time has come. 

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