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No Fly Zone

Time for me to get back on the blogging horse after a week of Spring Break. I’ve already talked about the Japanese nuclear crisis so it seems that there is only one major world even left to talk about: the UN No Fly Zone over Libya. Notice how this is a UN No Fly Zone, and not simply one imposed by one country over another. The world body looked at the situation and said, “he needs to stop doing this,” and so imposed upon autocrat a situation wherein he can’t continue doing this. I know that the right wing gets all in a tiffy whenever the UN does anything, although I’m not sure why* so when the president authorized the US to do what people like McCain were asking him to do I suppose their objections were completely based around the fact that the UN is officially the leader of this party. It can’t be something as petty as “I’m against it because the president is for it” right?

That’s what I don’t understand, why are they against it? I remember before the presidential election that one of the bigger criticisms was that Obama wasn’t the person you wanted making that decision because he wouldn’t make that decision, but he made just that decision.

Even though the right seems to be opposed to something that a week ago they wanted, that doesn’t infuriate me as much as the left does right now. I wonder what it would take for the Democrats to support their party’s president the way that the GOP always did with Bush.

–I’m going to note here that my support of this action is in no way hypocritical against some claim I made against Bush back in 2003. I didn’t have a blog then but I actually supported the ousting of Saddam Hussein, although my reason was different than the WMD threat.–

First off, the president does not need Congressional approval to use military force. Legally speaking we never fought a war in Korea or Vietnam. The president can use the military underneath the war powers act without such approval. Quick what do conflicts in Lebanon , Bosnia, Panama, Kosovo, Macedonia have in common? Answer: Involvement with US forces and no prior Congressional approval. Not to say that the President doesn’t have to submit reports to Congress, and has only 60 days to do the work. But, and this is a biggie, because this is a UN mission our membership allows the president to do things like this as the War Powers Act doesn’t allow the government to violate treaties. That’s the wall Bush would have run into had he not had Congressional Approval in 2003.

Secondly, for those claiming why Libya and not Yemen or Bahrain. I’ll give you an answer, although it should be really obvious: in the latter two countries guns are being used against protesters, in Liby: tanks and air strikes. Hence, no fly zone, as opposed to invade the country and kill their leader.

Which by the way the United States does not legally do: assassination. Typically the justification and I’ll paraphrase General Colin Powell regarding is that you don’t target the leader but you do target command and control as well as the places of that leadership.** I believe that only Reagan actually tried to kill Gaddaffi, and before that I think was the laughable attempts to kill Castro.

If the Right wants to call the Left hypocrites because they called Bush’s 2003 illegal what they have to remember is that this isn’t like 2003, it’s more like 1991. UN approval, Coalition of support, and the pleas of the actual people of the country for that support. Does anyone think that the removal of Gaddafi would be a bad thing?

Gaddafi is in his own trap here as well. If his people support him as much as he says they do then a no-fly zone shouldn’t be a problem because there is no one to bomb. Although all of those mercenaries who signed on to fight the revolution are probably reconsidering their job now…which is always why you never outsource a job. That however is for another entry, and possibly dissertation chapter.

*I have my suspicions and I will list them here: crackpot base made up of conspiracy theorists like Bachman and Beck, lingering anger over not giving approval to invade Iraq, and/or not acceding to the idea that exceptionalism only applies to the United States.

**After the 1991 war Powell remarked that the US never tried to kill Saddam Hussein, they just put a bomb everywhere he was supposed to be.

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