Libya: Another American Foreign Policy Mistake

We are all watching developments in Libya.  Tunisia and Egypt have disappeared from the headlines.  It is rather odd to me that of all the movements in the Arab world to remove long-entrenched dictators, the one that has gathered the strongest response from America is that in Libya.  America has frozen 30 billion in Libyan assets, and is positioning naval forces in the Meditteranean.  We are going to regret this.

America should be concentrating its efforts on aiding Egypt and Tunisia.  These are the two countries with perhaps the best odds at achieving democracy, should they survive the revolutionary turmoil that they are currently in.  A few days ago demonstaters in Tunisia were fired upon as they were protesting the interim government.  There were several deaths.  This is not good.  There is a fragile transition underway, and it could easily be derailed by such developments.

Libya is in the early stages of civil war.  "The Resistance" is gathering strength and has recently begun consolidating control over the oil fields in the east to use against the regime.  These are estimated to be 80% of Libyan production.  Mark my words: whoever the leaders in this "resistence" are that have taken control of the country's oil will not simply hand that control over to any hypothetical interim government.  Get ready for the warlords, people.

Whatever nastiness happens in Libya is now going to be stamped with the ubiquitous damnation, "American-backed".  Here is a sample of a future news article that the next generation of Eurotards will never allow us to forget:

"A ferry full of undocumented refugees fleeing the civil strife in Libya was intercepted off the coast of Sardinia this morning.  The humanitarian crisis in Libya continues to spiral out of control as the American-backed junta in Libya  persists in killing babies with impunity..."

Why do we (Americans) involve ourselves in efforts that have little chance of success, and thus guarantee that we are associated with the inevitable failure?  The intelligent strategy would be to pour all available energy and resources into developing democracy in Tunisia and Egypt, and leave Libya to Europe.

"The president does not have

"The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."    Presidential Candidate Barak Obama, 2007

Start an American spring.

Start an American spring. China, Russia, and perhaps Iran will help you with a no fly zone.

The United States should

The United States should totally impeach him.

Some Historical perspective

Some Historical perspective on the two Libya's.

Brendan, What's the point of

Brendan,

What's the point of quoting a retired (or rejected) Australian politician of no known expertise on the subject?

I'm not quoting him, it's

I'm not quoting him, it's simply a good essay for background on the conflict. It's better than wikipedia for example. Stalemate is a possible outcome in this, as I have said previously, I don't have a problem with that. It's not the outcome I am hoping for, but...

Brendan, The call of the

Brendan,

The call of the internet to bring in unqualified commentators should be resisted. Let's stick to the facts and those in a position to provide them.

Brendan,It was a good

Brendan,

It was a good article.  Thanks for posting it.   Eric can be a real snark before he has his coffee.  It is too bad that he doesn't drink coffee.

And what happens when the

And what happens when the fragile Euro-coalition starts to fall apart as it is destined to do based on the flaws already outlined?  

Don't worry, Mike, Hilary and

Don't worry, Mike, Hilary and Obama are keeping an eye on this. NATO will provide the military framework and a collection of European, Arab and other countries will form a council to give as acceptable as possible a political face to the thing.

I think Mike would agree

I think Mike would agree that, if the intent is really protect Libyans on the ground, then foreign boots on the ground will sooner or later be needed.

Regretfully, I have to agree.  This is not something airpower can fully accomplish.  That is why I am so bothered by the lack of a mission statement, defined end state, or exit strategy.

I also agree.  The Europeans

I also agree.  The Europeans have cast the die.  Now, they will have to do what America did in Iraq.  They will need to establish security, separate the fighters, call for elections, oversee the writing of a new social contract for the nation, and then stick around for a decade until the Libyans get used to the new system.

However, I don't know if the Europeans have the resolve to handle this.  It helps that Libya is only 20% the size of Iraq (population), but I am not sure if the Europeans can work together as equal partners.  They will wind up throwing rocks at one another as they fight over the dinner menu in the barracks.

Now, they will have to do

Now, they will have to do what America did in Iraq. JFT

God forbid.

To be fair, Jay, the U.S. was

To be fair, Jay, the U.S. was at the craps table when the die were thrown. It might have been the French fighters (heh, heh) that dropped the first bombs (anyone know where they landed, by the way?) but it was us firing Tomahawks and sending F-16, F-15 and F-18 sorties up.

I'm all for us pulling out sooner rather than later. But this is a pie we'll have to accept a piece of, if for no other reason than we helped bake it.

As with most complex events,

As with most complex events, there are no easy answers here. Is Gaddafi an unhinged tyrant who has been killing unarmed protesters and armed rebels (all of them civilians, by the way, momo)? Yes. Would Libya and the rest of us be better off if were he toppled? Common sense would seem to suggest that is so.

But ... and I might as well line up alongside Jay for the firing squad ... I tend to agree with momo that this should have been left to the Libyans to sort out.

Unlike momo, however, who hates the US and tends to see base ulterior motives in any action it undertakes, my reasons have more to do with logic and practicality.

(By the way, momo, the U.S. appears to be backing out of the action already. I guess that will leave Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Qatar and Norway to squabble over who steals the oil and builds the airbases – not to mention the new puppet government. We have enough bases around there, but nice of you to be thinking of our needs.)

The revolt in Libya was at the beginning and should have remained part of the Arab Spring, a natural development with citizens of each country protesting authoritarian regimes which they are no longer willing to put up with. That some of these protests have turned violent is regrettable but also not unexpected. In Gaddafi’s case, it should be surprising to no one that, rather than take the more logical approach of stuffing his suitcases with loot and fleeing to Gstad (or wherever would have him), he chose to stay and fight it out.

But what, exactly, is the difference between Libya and Bahrain? Protestors against a tyrannical government are being brutally crushed there, too. The difference, of course, is that Bahrain is an ally, and not run by a raving nutter who lives in a tent but by a royal family we’re on good terms with.

Obama has chosen to get the U.S. involved in what is an internal conflict. Whatever good might come from it – a few Libyan lives saved, Gaddafi toppled – are outweighed by the dangerous precedent that’s been set. Even if we were to pull out of the coalition tomorrow, the damage has been done.

Like Jay, I’m content to let the EU and whatever other nations are involved handle this from here. Of course, whether they can handle it is an open question. And what exactly is the end game? If, as it seems, Gaddafi is capable of killing his people even without aircraft and armored artillery, what comes next? I think Mike would agree that, if the intent is really protect Libyans on the ground, then foreign boots on the ground will sooner or later be needed. I foresee special forces teams inserted (if they haven’t been already) to lase smaller, better hidden targets for aircraft, liaise with rebel leaders, arrange arms and supply drops and, eventually, train cadres of fighters who can take leadership roles.

What I don’t want is for those special forces troops to have an American patch on their O.D.s.

Is Gaddafi an unhinged tyrant

Is Gaddafi an unhinged tyrant who has been killing unarmed protesters and armed rebels (all of them civilians, by the way, momo)?

G. has inhinged moments and rational ones, interestingly.

How come that armed rebels are civilians in your view? And what is, according to HH’s special definitions, a combatant in an internal conflict?

Unlike momo, however, who hates the US and tends to see base ulterior motives in any action it undertakes, my reasons have more to do with logic and practicality

You mean you are fending off logic and practicality by raising the strawman of anti-Americanism.

By the way, momo, the U.S. appears to be backing out of the action already. I guess that will leave Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Qatar and Norway to squabble over who steals the oil and builds the airbases – not to mention the new puppet government. We have enough bases around there, but nice of you to be thinking of our needs.)

I wouldn’t be too sure of the bases in Turkey, if I were you.

You forget the squabble over the reconstruction. Jokes say that French companies give lists of targets to their defence ministry, expecting that they will get the reconstruction contracts later on.

In Gaddafi’s case, it should be surprising to no one that, rather than take the more logical approach of stuffing his suitcases with loot and fleeing to Gstad (or wherever would have him), he chose to stay and fight it out

The ICC was mentioned fairly early. I imagine this prospect didn’t encourage G. to give up. By the way, his tribe ought to get a fair offer, otherwise they won’t see a reason to give up either. And that’s where G recruited his senior officers, so it would make a lot of a difference.

then foreign boots on the ground will sooner or later be needed.

I know, only Brendan is having some illusions about the “restricted” intervention.

Like Jay, I’m content to let the EU and whatever other nations are involved handle this from here.

It wasn’t the EU that attacked Libya, it was France, Britain, and the US. “Obama has chosen” as you say, and suddenly we are responsible? And you don’t want to hear protests, they are always anti-Americanism, I assume. How very convenient. I don’t hate the US, by the way, I only hate their policies of domination which you apparently take for granted.

Brendan,The difference being

Brendan,

The difference being that these affiars will be settled less violently, by infantry and small weapons on an equal playing field.

As citizens of democracies who have a tendency to submit to domestic pressure for foreign interventions on humanitarian grounds, it is important that we understand the nature of civil wars.

I would bet that 85% of the all deaths resulting from political violence over the last 40 years occured at the hands of 22 year-old males who recently came into possession of an AK-47.

What do you want to see?  An end to Gadaffi, or an end to the violence?  They are not one and the same.  You must choose.  Tanks and artillery are the best way to end the violence quickly.  An armed population in a sectarian society during a state of anarchy is going to kill more people and endure for years longer.  You keep saying there is no comparison to Iraq.  You are wrong.

You keep saying there is no

You keep saying there is no comparison to Iraq.  You are wrong.

There is no comparison to Iraq. No one from Texas is making decisions in this conflict.

 

To be fully accurate, no one

To be fully accurate, no one anywhere--including D.C is making decisions in this conflict. 

Eric,You and I were in

Eric,

You and I were in agreement when you held this position:

eric_5
4 March 2011 - 10:21pm

There are measures that can be taken against Gaddafi and his associates that will undermine their position and discourage other dictators.

  1. The UK and other countries are taking steps to freeze assets of Gaddafi and co.
  2. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is launching an investigation.
  3. Interpol has issued a worldwide alert.

Everything doesn't depend on sending UN gunboats to determine the result of military conflict.

I consider the UN resolution 1973 to be unwise.  I think it is unwise of you to so blindly follow the decisions of the UN, even when they are in contradiction of your original position.

I understand that you put a lot of your future hopes for humanity in the arms of the UN, but the institution is highly fallible, and you can't see the forest for the trees.  UN endorsement does not, automatically, makes things wonderful.  It often makes things worse.

The Security Council Has At

The Security Council Has At Last Lived Up To Its Duty  by Kenneth Roth (Director of Human Rights Watch) Published in: Foreign Policy March 18, 2011

For the second time in three weeks, the council (UNSC) accomplished the politically impossible, first referring Libya to the International Criminal Court, then, yesterday authorizing military force to protect civilians from Muammar al-Qaddafi's wrath.

 The challenge now is not only to translate this remarkable Security Council consensus into effective protection for Libyans. It is to extend the human rights principles embraced for Libya to other people in need....Can it begin to recognize that a leader's atrocities against his own people are a global concern, not an internal affair? No one believes these steps will be easy, but the task before us is to translate the Security Council's principled reaction to Libya into a broader doctrine of genuine protection for people facing mass atrocities.  

As far as I know, bigC has

As far as I know, bigC has rather wisely positioned himself against intervention from the start of this thread.  

Not quite so. BigC, who can answer for himself, has basically sat on the fence. He was more inclined towards intervention but felt the rebels would win regardless. I disagreed and I advocated air strikes 2+ weeks ago. Maybe then the rebels would have won by now. 

Would someone please shoot me

Would someone please shoot me now?  I have suffered long enough on this thread, but at this exact moment I believe that I have sunk to the lowest level of my entire life.  I am a drunken vagrant passed out in the gutter, and a passing dog just lifted its leg and pissed on my head.

Momo, I agree with most of what you just said.  Someone shoot me.

You made a point about Bahrain the other day, and I somewhat agree, but with a different logic.  What about Bahrain?  If the West is going to take such a forceful stance on Libya, will we not be seen as hypocritical for being silent on Bahrain?  I don't want to get involved in Bahrain, Syria, or Yemen, because these are all sectarian societies possibly emerging from an extended period of dictatorship, and things are going to get ugly.  But then again, so is Libya.

Like Momo, I really don't understand the sense of urgency on Libya.  I don't understand why America knew to stay on the sidelines for the Arab Spring, but then so suddenly intervened.  Like Momo, I don't really see any genocide or massive human rights abuses.  Sure, they existed, but not a the scale that has historically provoked an international response.

You know what certain Arabs are going to allege, right?:  We are in Libya because of the oil.  I hate that allegation, but, something is gnawing at my gut right now.  This just doesn't make sense.

We took sides in a civil war, and there is no one to hand power to.

One of the things that I disagree with Momo on in the above post is this:

The original aim of the UN was to prevent war, Brendan. This has been sacrificed and replaced by “nation-building”. The idea is that one system, the one of the US, which obviously they are happy with, makes all nations happy.

That is some vintage Momo stupidity and anti-US paranoia, but my point about it is that the mission definitely has not turned to "nation-building".  I believe that that will eventually be necessary now.  You can't knock out Gadaffi and then walk away.

Another thing:

I am only surprised at Brendan’s and BigC’s attitude.

As far as I know, bigC has rather wisely positioned himself against intervention from the start of this thread.  That will probably be the last time I am ever in need of defending him.

Momo, I agree with most of

Momo, I agree with most of what you just said.  Someone shoot me

I won’t send flowers for your grave.

I have some comfort for you: we agree less than you say.

Like Momo, I really don't understand the sense of urgency on Libya. 

I understand the urgency very well. Gaddafi is a tyrant who isn’t predictable and has often taken a position against the west. Mubarak, Hamad, and more are tyrants who are predictably on the west’s side. That is the reason why the latter can kill as many civilians as they like, and our governments won’t mind. Look. Or remember Clinton, the enemy of humanity, admonishing Iran the other day for killing peaceful protesters. She did not mention that another tyranny, Iraq, had killed more peaceful protesters on the same day.

It is power-politics, pure and simple. And transparently so.

You know what certain Arabs are going to allege, right?:  We are in Libya because of the oil.  I hate that allegation, but, something is gnawing at my gut right now.  This just doesn't make sense

Not only Arabs will allege that. And it is more than the oil, of course.

As Napoleon (Bonaparte, not Napoleon Bonsai) used to say: most stupid questions are asked because people did not consult a map beforehand. You forget Libya’s strategic position. The government of independent Cyrene will allow the US to build a gigantic airbase, I imagine. 

We took sides in a civil war, and there is no one to hand power to

No matter. The power won’t be given away. The president’s portrait will be printed on stamps, but that is all he is needed for.

The Libyan National

The Libyan National Transition Council has already been recognized by France as the body acting on behalf of the Libyan people. The UN mandate does not authorize military support for hostilities by anti-Gaddafi militias. Its aims are to establish a free-fly zone, to interdict military activity on the ground, establish a ceasefire, open the borders of Libya to humantarian aid, maintain an arms embargo, prohibit travel and freeze the assets of designated persons and bring about conditions for a political settlement by the Libyans themselves.

Eric,The Libyan National

Eric,

The Libyan National Transition Council has already been recognized by France as the body acting on behalf of the Libyan people.

That is a fatal error.  The French have thrown their lot in with a group it knew little about.  I don't believe that any group that arises in Libya in the next 6 months will be able to take eventual control of the nation.  Here is my opinion from my first post on this thread:

I say, let Europe seize the day, and wait a couple of years before America grants official recognition to any new government that arises in Tripoli.

The French have royally screwed themselves.  What are they going to do when no one outside of Benghazi acknowledges their authority?  I keep saying that this is complete sloppiness.  The French acted aggressively simply to get out in front of the Americans diplomatically and curry some international presitige.  The Libyans are going to suffer for this bullshit power posturing, and so are the French.

The UN mandate does not authorize military support for hostilities by anti-Gaddafi militias.

Eric, that is in effect what is happening.  We took sides.  We screwed up.  Normally the UN screws up by attempting to be seen as not taking sides, and I can't figure out the departure from protocol here.

Its aims [of UNSC 1973] are to... establish a ceasefire... and bring about conditions for a political settlement by the Libyans themselves.

How the hell do you do that from the air?  The UNSC has ultimately paved the way for regime change, or, to be more precise, it is merely allowing for regime destruction.  You guys are not hearing me here: THERE IS NO ONE THAT CAN TAKE CONTROL IN LIBYA AFTER GADAFFI IS GONE.  IF YOU ABANDON LIBYA WHEN THE CIVIL WAR REALLY STARTS, YOU WILL NOT HAVE HELPED THE LIBYANS.  THERE WILL BE FAR MORE DEATHS THAN IF GADAFFI HAD MERELY CRUSHED THE REBELLION.

THERE WILL BE FAR MORE DEATHS

THERE WILL BE FAR MORE DEATHS THAN IF GADAFFI HAD MERELY CRUSHED THE REBELLION

You're not really getting into the spirit of the "Arab Spring" are you?

Brendan,You're not really

Brendan,

You're not really getting into the spirit of the "Arab Spring" are you?

I am not really getting into us getting involved.  A month ago, we knew better.

Of course you are, and I’m

Of course you are, and I’m appreciative that you’re aware of that, It’s just a pity that you’re not capable of understanding that being dogmatic, on any issue, isn’t something to be proud of. It’s why your voice carries little or no value with most people here.

Momo,'It’s why your voice

Momo,

'It’s why your voice carries little or no value with most people here.'

I should apoligise for saying that, went a little too far.

 

Okay, accepted.

Okay, accepted.

Brendan, Yes, there is

Brendan,

Yes, there is evidence of a systematic attack against unarmed protestors

Yes, that is undisputed. You have no evidence of a systematic attack against a civilian population, though.

I simply can't understand why you not consider Gaddafi's own words and that actions of his troops as they prepared to enter Benghazzi.

But I do. He wants to commit crimes under any internal law. They are not crimes under international law, though.

This distinction enables all nations to rule their internal affairs. They have the right to establish their own order without having to ask other nations. As Kant put it, the intervention of a foreign power is a violation of a nation wrestling with an internal sickness, a scandal that endangers the autonomy of all nations. It’s a fundamental principle of international law.

The only limits are crimes against humanity, genocide, or an attack on other nations.  All international law bans strongly any intervention into an internal conflict on foreign territory. It’s not only in the UN Charter, it’s in the Geneva Conventions too. The hurdles to justify an intervention are high, and rightly so.

If you equal Gaddafi’s brutality against the Libyan opposition with the crimes against humanity that were the reason for this provision, you are either falling into a propaganda trap of contemporary warmongers or belittling the mass murders that were at  the root of this legislation.

The original aim of the UN was to prevent war, Brendan. This has been sacrificed and replaced by “nation-building”. The idea is that one system, the one of the US, which obviously they are happy with, makes all nations happy. All that is needed is the removal of the old regime by foreign forces and the implementation a new order without historical and cultural foundations. If the population doesn’t show any loyalty to this new state, the reason must be some inherent deficiency in this population. 

As a result of this repulsive ideology war has become an option again, and additionally peoples are robbed of their freedom from foreign domination.

If the aim of this resolution was the protection of civilians, it should protect civilians from both sides. You mentioned the harassment of blacks, because all blacks were suspected of being mercenaries: the resolution does not. The aim, openly stated by the foreign parties to this war, is to take sides in this conflict and to topple Gaddafi. It is an aim that I have sympathy for, but not by war (and even less by invasion and colonisation). It is entirely the Libyans’ right to do this, no-one else’s.

And my position is the position of valid international law, even if I am the only one here who values it. This war, which you support, will shift the limits farther into power-politics. You are butchering provisions that gave all of us the right to peace and freedom.

 

 

Chris and Mike,

Majorities in the oD forum will definitely not influence my conscience. I am indeed dogmatic in my views on lawfulness, peace, justice, and freedom, and definitely not ashamed of that. These values are under attack by the war you advocate.

Since your positions have been clear from older threads, your support for the Libyan war doesn’t surprise me, as I mentioned before.

I am only surprised at Brendan’s and BigC’s attitude.

Majorities in the oD forum

Majorities in the oD forum will definitely not influence my conscience.

Apparently, nor do facts.

Momo,So, you believe that

Momo,

So, you believe that protesters are separate from the civilian population somehow? If Gaddafi were only targeting women or young people, would that also negate my claim that there was a systematic attack the population as well because it is a demographic group?

The specifics are important here as well. The call for a no fly zone did not materialize from thin air. It had to do with Gaddafi using air superiority to quell protests:

The Times of Malta reported on its website the pilots had told officials they flew to the island after being ordered to bomb protesters occupying Libya's second-biggest city of Benghazi.

 

So, you believe that

So, you believe that protesters are separate from the civilian population somehow? If Gaddafi were only targeting women or young people, would that also negate my claim that there was a systematic attack the population as well because it is a demographic group?

You got it at last. I explained that difference in my post this morning, which perhaps you haven’t read carefully …

If Gaddafi were to kill all women, or all inhabitants of town X, or all tuareg, he would target a civilian population, and that would be a crime against humanity. He is targeting people because of their actions though. Different thing. And to repeat: this is a criminal act from the internal perspective of Libya. All sorts of resistance by Libyans are legitimate (think of the legitimacy of the murder of a tyrant—you know that stuff I assume). From the perspective of foreign powers an intervention is not legitimate. And this is current international law.

The specifics are important here as well. The call for a no fly zone did not materialize from thin air. It had to do with Gaddafi using air superiority to quell protests

As you say: to quell protests. Same argument as before.

Additionally, I don’t believe that it was a common ocurrance, because fighter jets are an awkward means against demonstrators. Libya has helicopters too, and they make more sense against protesters. And less easy to prevent flying. A strawman.

I wasn't offering up the use

I wasn't offering up the use of military aicraft, be they helicopters or jets as a straw man. I was pointing out a separate but important point about the limitations of the action being a specific response. It is not a full intervention and therefore cannot be described as "foreign domination" as I think you phrased it earlier.

A strawman, because the use

A strawman, because the use of helicopters, which is difficult to impossible to prevent, wouldn’t improve the demonstrators’ situation, but wouldn't have the call for a no fly zone. I suspect the use of the airforce against the demonstrators was very much blown out of proportion, because the plans for the intervention were already there. 

I expect that this intervention will develop into a full occupation. Most likely the country will be split. It will be the source of conflict too. The protesters who started the thing have already been replaced by tribal leaders and former ministers who have changed sides. The interior minister who is responsible for the affair of the Bulgarian nurses is on the side you support, too …

And I am thinking of the precedent: all peoples of the world must reckon with a foreign intervention in any internal conflict from now on. This is very scary.

Look, you are cynical about

Look, you are cynical about the intent here. I understand that. I just don't agree with that assessment.

I don't think there is any chance of occupation either. Simply not in the cards. Which, in my view, leaves the internal affairs completely in the hands of Libyan nationals as it should be. The difference being that these affiars will be settled less violently, by infantry and small weapons on an equal playing field. If Gaddafi does have legitimate support, we'll know soon enough. If the conflict ends in a stalemate with a separation in the east then at least there is a refuge for those who dissented to escape to. Military bases? Have you listened to the Americans here?

I suspect the use of the airforce against the demonstrators was very much blown out of proportion

Until refuted, we have direct statements that those where the orders.

  Momo,  For you

  Momo,

 For you information:

 Invoking Chapter UN Chapter VII powers to act against Libya is based on the 'responsibility to protect' doctrine

 collective international responsibility to protect... populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.Willingness to take timely and decisive collective action for this purpose, through the Security Council, when peaceful means prove inadequate and national authorities are manifestly failing to do it.UN 2005 WORLD SUMMIT

 UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011), following on Resolution 1970, cites '

 heavy civilian casualties' and 'Demands the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians ' and authorizes member states acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, ...., to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

 Waiting for the International Criminal Court to reach a post mortem verdict, some years hence, on the exact nature of the crimes committed and who is guilty of them does not meet the responsibilty to protect, which the Libyan government has not merely failed to fulfil but has manifestly violated. It is important to underline that the rebels are, obviously not exempt from international law and that, again obviously, a cease-fire would include all participans in hostilities and not just Libyan government forces; However, Libyan government forces are those civilians require protection from and, consequently, are targets for coalition fire. 

Eric, The responsibility to

Eric,

The responsibility to protect doctrine demands protection rather than prosecution of crimes. It does not alter the legal definition of justified foreign interventions, aka war.

I suspect the thought that the right to start a war is restricted is alien to you all, but that’s what international law says, and I am glad of that, even if I am the only one here who values peace, as most of you continually point out.

You have no evidence for your statements that Gaddafi’s side commits crimes against humanity and the rebels’ side does not. You only claim that because you want to interfere in an internal conflict.

For your information: you advocate a war of aggression.

You have no evidence for your

You have no evidence for your statements that Gaddafi’s side commits crimes against humanity and the rebels’ side does not. momo

Any violations of international law will be liable to prosecution. Your comment is, therefore, irrelevant. The Libyan government was requested by the UN Security Council (UNSC Resolution 1970 2011) to cease its attacks on civilians which had caused hundreds of deaths. It refused to comply. Therefore, invoking the doctrine of 'the responsibilty to protect' UNSC Resolution 1973 authorized member states to take any necessary action, short of invasion, to bring about a ceasefire. Your position of allowing the suppression of demands for democratic reform by unlimited lethal attacks by the Gaddafi government is not a humanitarian one, as Human Rights Watch, among others, points out.

Eric,The UN has

Eric,

The UN has 63,450 employees in the entire UN system worldwide.. By comparison: the United States Department of Education employs nearly 71,000 people; the city of Ontario, Canada, has over 80,000 public employees; and the Coca Cola Company has 74,000 employees.
http://www.un.org/geninfo/ir/index.asp?id=160

Do you honestly believe that a UN website dedicated to answering criticism against is not going to spin that?

63,450 is the permanent staff of the United Nations.  The vast majority of those that work for the UN do so in a temporary capacity.  Do you want a fact finding mission in Lebanon?  Do you want a peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast?  Do you want to document war crimes in Liberia?  You hire temps for that.

Here is a .pdf file from February 28, 2011 listing the number of current peacekeepers by nation.  It is 30 pages long, and lists 100,000 employees.

http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/contributors/2011/feb11_5.pdf

 

Here is a .pdf file from

Here is a .pdf file from February 28, 2011 listing the number of current peacekeepers by nation.  It is 30 pages long, and lists 100,000 employees.JFT

Troops and policemen from national contingents are not employees of the United Nations. Peacekeeping operations are funded by member states . These funds are transferred to the nations supplying the peacekeeping contingents who pay their troops and policemen according to national payscales with additional allowances for UN duty. They are, in no sense, employees of the United Nations. A permanent UN army whose troops would be 'employees' of the UN would be a step forward but this is not it.

Perhaps you are referring to the few hundred 'experts' on the list. All organizations and corporations pay contract workers for services which are not provided by their in-house staff. The UN is no different.

Eric,Here is a .pdf file from

Eric,

Here is a .pdf file from February 28, 2011 listing the number of current peacekeepers by nation.  It is 30 pages long, and lists 100,000 employees.JFT

Troops and policemen from national contingents are not employees of the United Nations. Peacekeeping operations are funded by member states .  Eric

Technically, you may be correct, but realistically, you are full of it.  I am not going to split hairs with you, because I know how stubborn you are.

If the UN mandates an operation and requests personnel, they are obviously part of the UN workforce.  Obviously.  I actually answered this post before I read it, in my reply to you at 8:16 pm, directly above.

By the way, would one of you

By the way, would one of you Canadians please point out the obvious flaw in this UN propaganda?

the obvious flaw JFT I claim

the obvious flaw JFT

I claim the prize. That must be the Province of Ontario. I'll bet the number doesn't include those on short-term contracts, the cleaners, temps, all the work done by outsourcing. In every large organization there are many people working there who are not on the permanent staff.

Thank you, Eric.  I kept

Thank you, Eric.  I kept waiting for one of our Canadians to say, "Wow, how much did we pay for THAT fact finding mission?"

It is not currently my cause to attack the UN.  I only wanted to point out some of the reasons why I have less respect for the organization than you and Brendan do.

I do take exception to the way that the UN has provided their statistics, though.  The truth is that the UN is a supranational organization and that they have little oversight.  They are under little pressure to control costs, and that really bothers Americans.  They can order expensive operations and missions that don't figure in to their annual budgets or employment figures, and then they just send member countries a bill later.  In my opinion, it gets out of control.  Taxation without representation.

I may have mentioned this in

I may have mentioned this in the distant past, but back when the US did not require passports from Canadians, the trick question at the Mexican border for people claiming to be Canadian who had no ID and wanted into the US was "What is the capital of Ottawa?"

Seriously. Those were the days, eh?

Everyone who has read my

Everyone who has read my posts can see that I am not an apologist of tyrants.

Challenge accepted!

I agree with Chris...therefore, Momo's universal assertion of "Everyone" is universally false.

Perhaps Momo fears asking the real question, does ANYONE out there (other than Solve) NOT believe that Momo is a de facto apologist of tyrants in her refusal to support the use of military force to protect civilians from genocide? 

Right now, I'd say the far majority of readers agree with Chris.

Anyone?

Bueller?

<insert crickets chirping here>

Momo,As Jay so eloquently

Momo,

As Jay so eloquently put, you are the only person here who has difficulty finding common ground with people, and you argue tirelessly and pointlessly with everybody. You are uncompromising and dogmatic, of course you are unable to see that. If you remember, I chose to limit any dialogue with you for this very reason, I see more people are moving in that direction.