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UN Intervention Begins In Libya 688

Posted by timothy
from the at-least-there's-no-war dept.
maliamnon writes "US, French, and British forces began enforcing a UN resolution (1973/2011) to defend civilians in Libya today. French aircraft are attacking tanks, while the US and possibly UK are supporting the operation with cruise missiles from sea." Update: 03/19 22:34 GMT by T : Adds reader bloggerkg: "More than 110 Tomahawk missiles fired from American and British ships and submarines hit about 20 Libyan air and missile defense targets in western portions of the country, US Vice Adm. William Gortney said at a Pentagon briefing. The US will conduct a damage assessment of the sites, which include SA-5 missiles and communications facilities. A senior US military official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the missiles landed near Misrata and Tripoli, the capital and Gadhafi's stronghold."
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UN Intervention Begins In Libya

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  • Everything we touch turns to merd'.
    And eventually, when it fails, fingers will be pointed at the US as a "world tyrant". We should let the EU handle this one, by themselves. Or the Arab League

    • The Arab League and the UN have spoken. Strangely enough, the French acted first in support of both those organizations. Us and the Brits joined them. Also, if we clear the path for the Lybian rebels, who then march into Tripoli, then we're "helping" instead of "dictating".
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:33PM (#35544892)

        We are effectively playing the role of the French in the American Revolutionary War - keeping the powerful weaponry at bay so that they can liberate themselves. In the Revolutionary War, the French helped keep the British Navy at bay, something we could not do for ourselves. Similarly here we are keeping the planes/armor that the Libyans can't deal with themselves at bay.

    • by aBaldrich (1692238) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:06PM (#35544618)
      It was going to be France, UK and Italy, but for some reason the US did not want to miss the party.
    • by louic (1841824) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:56PM (#35545050)

      It is easy to say that the US should not interfere with other countries, but: "with great power comes great responsibility".

      Like it or not: the US are the world police. They have a big army and lots of fancy military equipment, and most of the time I believe they are really trying to do what is best for everybody, and prevent bloodshed etc. etc. With an army as big as theirs, they have a moral obligation to intervene when people are being killed for no apparent reason (or for "bad" reasons, whatever that means). It is however not so easy to decide when to intervene, because it is often not clear what exactly "good" and "bad" reasons are: wars and international politics are not as straightforward as movies (I wish they were. It would either make the movies more interesting or the politics easier to understand).

      And yes, they will sometimes decide to intervene when it should not have been done. That is always easy to say afterwards. How many times have you made wrong decisions in your personal life (or in your MMORPG if you prefer)? Often enough, I bet. The consequences may be smaller in case of personal decisions, but should that be a reason for a country to sit back and do nothing? No.

  • by camcorder (759720) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:00PM (#35544570)
    ...is like fucking for virginity!
    • by GuldKalle (1065310) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:02PM (#35544580)

      How else are you gonna make more virgins? :)

    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:15PM (#35544712)
      Yes, because sitting idly by while Gaddafi uses indiscriminate tank and artillery fire as well as air strikes on cities that contain not only rebels but innocent noncombatants such as women and children, detains foreign journalists, and outright lies to the rest of the world(the rebels are all brainwashed by al-Qaeda, and the Libyan government is abiding by the ceasefire) is a significant contribution to peace. To buy peace, you sometimes have to pay in blood.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        I'm not generally a supporter of military intervention to solve problems, however there are cases such as this where it is genuinely the only way. Qaddafi is sufficiently dangerous to himself and the people living in the region such as to justify our throwing our weight behind the pro-democracy forces. The thing we need to be exceedingly careful about is if they do win, we need to stand behind whomever the Libyan people choose in their elections.

        It might mean standing behind some questionable characters, bu

    • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:58PM (#35545072)
      How is this modded insightful? While this argument in favor of war is certainly overused, I can't see how this situation could be resolved with anything other than physical force. We currently have a very strong military force backing up a tyrannical dictator marching towards a city with every intention of murdering every man, woman, and child in the city when they get there. Because they were protesting. Against his tyranny. This sort of thing cannot be tolerated any more. I know it has happened many, many times in the history while we simply watched idly by, but this is no excuse to fail to act now, and we are simply out of options, Gaddafi has forced our hand.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:16PM (#35545256)

    Maybe this is for the best, but I have a queasy feeling about how it's going to turn out.

  • It's not Iraq (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:26PM (#35545346)

    It's very important to keep in mind that this is not Iraq.

    First of all, the revolution was sparked by the people, and fought by the people before the UN intervention. In the present case, the UN is in fact offering military SUPPORT, not a full-scale military intervention and is not starting anything.

    Second, one major problem with Iraq is the huge amount of civilian casualties, estimated at 100k. Whether they were killed by the Taliban, lack of medicine* or American troops doesn't matter: the war killed them, without the war they would have lived, and the war was started by the USA.
    In Libya, the war is already started so it's definitely not the UN's fault if people die indirectly as a result. The UN is indeed trying to reduce the damage that will occur.
    *The stats actually do not include people who died indirectly from the war, such as lack of medical treatment for injuries/diseases not caused by the war or lack of food.

    Third, the UN must stick to offering military support where needed and nothing else. Air strikes on military assets are efficient - they are accurate and do not require a presence on the ground. Jets and bombers can take off from nearby countries, drop bombs on very specific military assets in Libya, then go back to where they came from. No territorial occupation, no troops spending too much time among the population (which can put the population at extra risk by drawing enemy fire or causing troops to mistake civilians for enemies). On top of that, when foreign troops are on the ground the local population may feel "invaded" even if troops are on their side, so at least air strikes avoid this and the population feels like they're leading the fight.
    The Libyans must be in control or else they will resent the UN and things will not get better. Basically, the UN must offer the required help but needs also to keep their involvement to a minimum. Most of all, the UN must make sure that Libyans are happy about their help. If at any point the Libyans want to UN to leave them alone, the UN must back off not matter what help the UN believes it could provide. The moment the UN takes control, we're headed for another Iraq.

    Fourth: Mistakes will happen. A bomb might hit civilian assets by mistake and kill innocent people.
    This is a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan because when it happens we point the finger to the USA and say "It wouldn't have happened if you hadn't started this mess".
    But if the Libyans started the revolution, if they asked for the help of the UN or at least approved of it and if the UN takes extra care to avoid errors, then the UN can't be blamed for mistakes. What I'm saying here is not that the UN must cowardly put all the responsibility on someone else. But it's important that the Libyans do not come to hate the UN's involvement or else the new government will be anti-democracy and anti-Western World. It's important that the Libyans see that the Western World is a friend and the UN must be a genuine friend.

    Fifth: the USA should not have gotten involved in this. The USA have a terrible image in the Middle-East, Africa and pretty much all third-world and all Islamic countries. This is unlikely to improve the image of the USA, instead it's much more likely to make Libyans think "If the USA is involved, the UN's help might be a bad thing after all". This just makes it easier for terrorists and religious fanatics to gain support from the population and take power.
    I can't believe the US government was that stupid. And frankly, I'm actually wondering if the USA really are involved because they want to help the Libyans. I'm suspecting they can't be that stupid and did this on purpose to serve whatever new megalomaniac secret plan the CIA/White House/DoD came up with.
    I won't say the USA should back out, it's too late anyway, the harm is done. The UN intervention has been tainted with the mark of conquest by the USA now.

    Sixth: the UN must back out once their role of offering military support is done. They have to let the Libyans choose the

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:18PM (#35545800) Journal

    I fully support the military action in Libya, because nothing short of that is going to stop mass murder of civilian population that is perpetrated by Gaddafi forces in rebelling parts of the country. Good for them that they've acted swiftly enough, too (one month sounds like a lot, but when it comes to world diplomacy it is remarkably fast).

    However, I'm afraid that UN forces will make the same mistake that NATO did in Bosnia and especially Kosovo - acting as peacekeepers in name, but picking a side and sticking with it in reality. In Kosovo this was most prominent - when Serbs were burning down mosques, killing Albanians and driving them out into Albanian, NATO was quick to intervene. But when Serbian army and paramilitaries withdrew, and the only force remaining in the province was KLA, the latter started burning down churches, killing Serbs, and driving them out into Serbia - and KFOR stood aside and watched.

    Now, if the rebels prevail, I don't think anyone is going to shed tears if the "colonel" hangs, trial or no trial. But the sides in this civil war are largely arranged around tribal identity - Qadhadfa vs the rest of them. We say that the rebels are "pro-West", but so was KLA, by their own words - which did not stop them to partake in genocide themselves when they had the upper hand. So if the rebels win, and start massacring Qadhadfa - would the West also intervene militarily to stop that? Somehow, I doubt it, which is too bad, and would discredit the whole operation. I hope I'm wrong.

  • by thaig (415462) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:22PM (#35546894) Homepage

    As a Zimbabwean I know that nobody's going to "misdirect" one of those 110 tomahawks a bit further south to sort out our problem but I do know that Mugabe considered Gadaffi an ally and has received help from Lybia. It is also clear that Bob has reacted to the situation in the middle east - i.e. he has felt the cold fear that bullies feel when they realise that they are more alone and beginning to stick out.

    So from us Southern Africans to the rest of you - we don't have any aeroplanes to send but we are with you in spirit. Kick G's hairy arse as thoroughly as you can for us please. One day when we have sorted out our own home we will be able to help you like we did in WWI and WWII.

    Regards,

    Tim

  • by im just cannonfodder (1089055) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:06AM (#35548062) Homepage
    Will the US now bomb Israel toï force them to comply with the hundreds of UN resolutions that Israel is in violation of?,

    OFC not as the USA funds & veto's (blocks) all intervention at stopping Israel's illegal occupation, illegal constructions, genocide, torture, assassinations...

    what's the difference between Yemen, Bahrain & lybia?

    two of them have pro USA puppets & are allowed to murder civilians...
    • Will the US now bomb Israel toï force them to comply with the hundreds of UN resolutions that Israel is in violation of?

      Depends. Is there a UNSC resolution authorizing the use of military force against Israel? There was one for Libya.

      what's the difference between Yemen, Bahrain & lybia?

      One of those doesn't exist.

      If you mean Libya, then the difference is that it has an ongoing country-wide armed uprising (not simply street protests) for almost a month now, and government has been using artillery (incl. heavy naval artillery) and bombers to suppress it.

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