Social Question

YoBob's avatar

Do you believe the US should be bombing Lybia?

Asked by YoBob (12828points) March 21st, 2011

Given that we are currently engaged in active military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, do you think it wise for the US to be taking an active role in military action against Libya?

I can’t help but wonder if the opinions, with regards to use of military force, of those who believed our previous commander and chief was evil incarnate when he proceed with military action against Iraq have changed now that our current commander and chief has:

1) Failed to make any significant progress in full Iraqi withdrawal.
2) Increased our military involvement in Afghanistan
3) Proceeded to bomb the snot out of Libya

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

50 Answers

marinelife's avatar

To stop the Libyan army from murdering their own people, I think it is justified.

janbb's avatar

The US is being pretty careful in keeping its involvement limited. France and England are taking the lead and the Arab League is cooperating. An UN Security Council resolution was passed – big difference right there. It is a difficult issue but too many genocides have proceeded while the world looked askance. We are getting out of Iraq, progress is being made there. I hope we will be withdrawing from Afghanistan soon. Libya does not equal Iraq.

YoBob's avatar

@marinelife Just curious about your feelings on Iraq when we began military action there. If I recall, protection of the people from an tyrannical regime was one of the primary justifications there as well.

tedd's avatar

1) When Obama took office there were nearly 150,000 US troops in Iraq. As of last November that number was 47,000 I’d call that progress towards withdrawal.

2) Our troop increase in Afghanistan was around 30,000 troops, not counting the 30,000 more that our NATO allies also sent. Furthermore they are planned to be removed with a set timeline for that removal. Not that the government has never broken one of those timelines, but so far Obama’s doing pretty good about it.

3) The vast majority of the planet decried what is happening in Libya. And though I believe the real root cause most of the world leaders may be going in for is Oil, by bombing “the snot” out of Ghadaffi we are essentially saving the lives of potentially thousands of Libyans in the rebel held cities. If a Democracy forms in Libya the world will be a better place.

In short, yes, I believe us helping in the military assault on Libya is a good thing. Besides the cruise missiles we’re hardly helping at all anyways… France, Britain, NATO as a whole, the Arab League, and the rebels themselves are taking and will take the brunt of the work….. We just happened to be the only ones capable of virtually immediately eliminating Ghadaffi’s air force.

nikipedia's avatar

I think the outcry against Bush II invading Iraq was based largely on the made-up allegations of weapons of mass destruction and the fact that it seemed like a thinly veiled attempt to gain control over oil supplies.

This operation is qualitatively very different and has my full support.

YoBob's avatar

@janbb Just curious about your opinion of the differences between Iraq and Libya.

In Iraq the government was actively engaged in a genocide of a particular ethnic group because of political differences and there were scores of UN resolutions condemning those actions.

In Libya we also have a government that is murdering political dissenters and there has been a UN resolution condemning the actions.

The main difference I see is that we exercised a bit more caution before actively engaging in Iraq.

YoBob's avatar


“The vast majority of the planet decried what is happening in Libya”

Erm… the vast majority of the planet decried what was happening in Iraq as well.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

How come when one mentions the wars we are in, no one EVER says Pakistan and Yemen?
If we are bombing someone, it is either war or terrorism.

WasCy's avatar

We probably shouldn’t stop there. After we finish with Libya we can set up a base there to begin operations against Sudan… and France. Maybe Cyprus some off weekend.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I wouldnt call 47,000 troops in Iraq progress towards withdrawal. I would call that the average number of troops we leave in a country after we “leave.” See Germany or South Korea

YoBob's avatar

@WasCy who the heck cares about France. We can get average wine and rude waiters anywhere… ;)

tedd's avatar

@YoBob Ok so the vast majority of the world decried us invading Iraq….. How does that devalue them decrying Ghadahfi’s actions in Libya? If anything given your argument, it would strengthen them and further justify us attacking.

@chris6137 That may be a long term garrison… but to say Obama has made no progress at all towards pulling troops out, is flat out false. (also we have mid 20k in both Germany and South Korea).

CaptainHarley's avatar

NO! This military action, like almost all US military actions of the past 50 years or so, was not voted on by Congress as the Constitution requires. Presidents have chosen to ignore this requirement and we are now all suffering for it!

phoebusg's avatar

Given Pro-Gaddafi forces used even anti-aircraft guns against the people—- yes it is justified. But it’s not just the US. It’s also the UK, Italy France and now Qatar as well. It’s bound by a UN resolution and has strict purpose – of de-clawing the pro-gaddafi forces so we stop seeing people being blown to pieces by anti-aircraft shells.

YoBob's avatar


“How does that devalue them decrying Ghadahfi’s actions in Libya?”

It doesn’t. I am just pointing out many who were vehemently opposed to our actions in Iraq seem to be more supportive of our actions in Libya, and since the underlying causes are not all that different I can’t help but wonder if the support or opposition of many to these involvements are driven more by political affiliation rather than the issues at hand.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Im surprised our media hasnt convinced us to bomb WIsconsin or Michigan yet…

jaytkay's avatar

…protection of the people from an tyrannical regime was one of the primary justifications there as well…
I take it you were too young to be watching the news at the time. The public justification from the administration was entirely concocted around the hysteria they could whip up over weapons of mass destruction, including fictional drones capable of reaching the US

There was also the unsubtle effort by the President , his people and FOX to tie 9/11 to Iraq, by mentioning the two together incessantly beginning approx. 9/12/2001.

Only after it finally dawned on the majority of Americans that they had been duped, was there a big revisionist push to paint the invasion as a humanitarian venture.

…the vast majority of the planet decried what was happening in Iraq as well…
The 2003 invasion of Iraq spurred the largest protests in human history – against the US invasion.

…In Iraq the government was actively engaged in a genocide of a particular ethnic group because of political differences and there were scores of UN resolutions condemning those actions…
I presume you are speaking of the Kurds, who had been effectively removed from Iraqi control for years before 2003.

tedd's avatar

@YoBob I think in this case it is more driven by the fact that this guy is openly, actively, and very publicly committing mass genocide, using heavy grade military weapons on what is largely civilians with small arms.

Whereas in Iraq… Saddam hadn’t made any active genocidal acts in nearly a decade, and as far as everyone knew he was “being good” for the time being. Especially after the excuse of WMD’s fell through, it became more and more obvious the US went in either out of a presidential grudge, or for oil.

YoBob's avatar

@jaytkay Erm… I was old enough to be watching the news during Vietnam…

That aside, feel free to use your favorite search engine to look up “Iraq Kurd Genocide”. However, ignoring the genocide, there was that matter of Iraq invading Kuwait. Feel free to look up the number of UN resolutions regarding that before we actually used military force as well.

Yes, there was that weak WMD excuse. However, that kind of illustrates the point I am trying to make:

Iraq – Activly engaged in genocide, invading a neighboring country, and scads of UN resolutions against them and still because of resistance to use of force the administration felt the need to conjure up the whole WMD story as an excuse.

Libya – A bunch of protesters attempt to overthrow the existing government, said government responds with deadly force, the UN passes a resolution against it and their seems to be widespread public support to cut loose with a bombing campaign.

YoBob's avatar

@tedd How exactly can you construe invading Kuwait as “being good”?

tedd's avatar

@CaptainHarley By being members of the UN and NATO we are legally bound by our congressionally signed and maintained treaties to uphold their orders. The UN ordered that its members do everything possible to stop the genocide in Libya, the US happily agreed.

tedd's avatar

@YoBob Saddam invaded Kuwait during the first gulf war, not the second. The First Gulf war, as with Libya now, was overwhelmingly supported by the entire planet.

jaytkay's avatar

@YoBob Iraq – Activly engaged in genocide, invading a neighboring country

There seems to be some confusion about the time-line here.

Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 Kuwait and was ejected in 1991. And Iraqi Kurdistan was effectively removed from Iraq. Iraq withdrew its troops in 1991 and the US/UK no-fly zone kept them out.

The US invaded Iraq in 2003.

syz's avatar

I can’t help but feel that we/the international community waited too late to react.

marinelife's avatar

@YoBob If you are talking about Bush Jr’s illegal war in Iraq, I was opposed.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I thought Russia and China were members of the UN too??

tedd's avatar

@CaptainHarley Yep. They are. They don’t really have the capabilities of us, but you’re right they should be actively enforcing the resolution as well.

But frankly their simply not vetoing it is about all we’ll get.

YoBob's avatar

@marinelife Can you elaborate on why you were opposed to US military action in Iraq during the previous administration but support military action against Lybia now?

(FWIW, I support both actions for multiple reasons, none of which include me being a “war monger”. I’m just curious about the reasoning of those who support one intervention but not the other)

tedd's avatar

@YoBob Even having initially supported the war in Iraq I feel I can answer that question. Because Ghadafhi is actively, openly, and very publicly committing mass genocide using heavy weaponry on a bunch of citizens armed with small arms at best. Saddam may have long ago committed similar atrocities, but it had been nearly a decade since that time…. frankly (and somewhat sadly) no one cared anymore.

WasCy's avatar

Sure, why not? People are always accusing the US of being uninvolved in Africa.

This oughtta shut up those people.

Jaxk's avatar

This is a civil war, not genocide. The rebels took up arms to overthrow the government. The government fought back. Now we say we are trying to protect innocent lives and stop the bloodshed. But if the rebels continue to attack the government, I suspect we will continue to support them against the government. This is all about overthrowing Gaddafi. Maybe justified, maybe not. We’ve been involved in these kinds of civil wars before and they quite often end up in worse shape than they were before it started. And we always blame the US for less than stellar results.

If we want to get involved, let’s at least be honest and say it is for political reasons, which it is.

YoBob's avatar

Amen @Jaxk!

I suspect that if it were a grass roots group of communists trying to overthrow the government of France we would probably be rushing in to aid the French government against the “terrorists”.

Problem with being honest is where the rest of the world draws the line between supporting human rights and “imperialistic” behavior (aka. supporting the spread of freedom and democracy throughout the world.)

rooeytoo's avatar

@Jaxk – superbly and succinctly stated!

GQ @YoBob – I have been asking myself this same question since it all began. Lots of reasons listed above but none of them seem totally on the mark.

jaytkay's avatar

The run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion was a fraud and it was well known at the time.

The administration was stirring up hysteria over Iraqi WMD while UN and US inspectors were reporting the WMD programs were gone.

Cheney was reported at the CIA twisting arms of low-level analysts to falsify WMD reports.

Colin Powell made a ridiculous presentation at the UN “proving” the existence of WMD and his whole speech was debunked before the week was out.

They were trumpeting about their mighty 30-nation coalition when it included countries like Palau and Micronesia and most were sending ten or twenty people.

Those are just a few items are off the top of my head. It’s not hindsight, I am talking about common knowledge before the March invasion.

The current situation doesn’t compare.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I don’t think any right-minded person would stand around watching thousands of people being massacred by their own government when they had the power to act. The right thing to do is to prevent more civilian deaths, and the UN mandated action is the best way to do that.

Jaxk's avatar


That’s a very noble statement but it’s not what happening. The rebels took up arms to overthrow the government. No matter how much you may approve of their cause, they are not innocent civilians. Is it an even match, of course not. Rebellions never are. We are there to take out Qaddafi. You certainly don’t need to blow up tanks to enforce a no fly zone. And frankly, we will end up killing a lot of non combatants in our bombing. Delude yourself if you must, but it’s not a humanitarian effort, it’s to remove a dictator. Why this one and not others, there’s no way to tell. And this is likely to get very messy. Wars always are.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Jaxk That is a bit of a cynical statement. You don’t need to blow up tanks to enforce a no fly zone, but the UN resolution also allowed for all measures necessary to protect civilian lives. An advancing enemy that has proven over and over that it will kill non-combatants and combatants needs to be stopped if civilian lives are to be saved. The current bombardment is not there to take out Gaddafi. Maybe that one cruise missile that landed in his compound was, but if the objective was to get rid of him there would be more deliberate attacks where he is known to be. The rebels only took up arms in self-defence originally, before it became a civil war. They were unarmed protesters until Gaddafi started shooting them in the streets.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk When a dictator in any country is using tanks, airplanes, bombs, and heavy artillery vs rebels, and his means of doing it is to simply shell entire cities….. it is most definitely genocide.

Hell, his own ambassador to the UN (not to mention about a dozen countries) resigned in the first few weeks because of Ghadhafi committing genocide.

WasCy's avatar

Possibly cynical, @FireMadeFlesh, likely, even. But accurate on all counts. Don’t forget that in our own Revolution we were aided by the French. It wasn’t that they loved us so much, and they certainly didn’t appreciate the idea of a republican democracy (one to which their own monarchy would soon lose their heads). They just wanted to put a stick in the eye of the British.

A bit hyperbolic, @tedd. I don’t think there’s any racial component to Ghadhafi’s antipathy; he’s shelling large areas of his country that are sympathetic to the rebel cause. No more or less than that. And if I recall the timeline correctly, his ambassadors resigned a couple of weeks ago, before he began his offensive against the rebels (and it looked like he’d be swept into the Mediterranean on a “human surfboard” of his own people). I’d say those people are pretty much sweating bullets right now, since it looks like Ghadhafi will be in place for an indeterminate time yet, and they have nowhere to go (and no jobs) currently.

mattbrowne's avatar

The US isn’t “bombing Libya”. Like other countries joining the effort, it is targeting military installations and military equipment misused by Gaddafi’s troops enforcing the no-fly zone mandated by the UN.

Not targeting these military installations and military equipment, means they will target innocent Libyans who have committed no crime and who want freedom just like the people in Tunisia and Egypt did. While the military in these two countries protected the protesters, Gaddafi’s military including his mercenaries inflict great harm on protesters.

Jaxk's avatar


I think you miss a big point here. These are not protesters. It is an armed insurrection. They’re not carrying signs, they’re carrying guns. Big difference.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@WasCy I’m assuming that by ‘our’ you mean the US. I don’t think it is an accurate statement either. It is plain that the US doesn’t want to be drawn in to another long war, and if they take direct action to remove Gaddafi the whole world will look to them to provide a replacement government. By protecting civilians, but not actively seeking to unseat the government, the responsibility to form a new government in the event of victory is solely with the rebels. The current UN approved action is exactly what should be happening, because eventually it needs to be the Libyan people who unseat Gaddafi.

@Jaxk I think you’re the one missing the point. They were protesters, but they were forced to take up arms when they were attacked. While it has gone past self-defence now, it would never have progressed past simple protesting if Gaddafi hadn’t started killing his own population.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Jaxk – I totally agree with @FireMadeFlesh – because the Egyptian military protected the peaceful protesters against Mubarak’s secret police there was no need for them to defend themselves.

janbb's avatar

This is a fine article about why we are intervening and the Libyans’ reaction from a journalist whom I highly respect. I suggest people read it..

Joker94's avatar

@janbb That was a great article!

mattbrowne's avatar

I agree. Great article, @janbb !

There’s a huge opportunity here for America and Europe to be seen in a positive light by freedom-loving Arabs.

YoBob's avatar

Thanks for the link to the excellent article @janbb.

@mattbrowne brings up a very good point about the need to be seen in a positive light by freedom-loving Arabs. America has had some rather bad experiences in the past almost every time we have attempted to play world policeman and I hope and prey that this one does not wind up being remembered as one of those historical tipping points. It is extremely important to be viewed by the public in the region as a the “good guys” rather than imperialist dogs who really just want to protect their interests. OTOH, in past police actions such as in Korea, the fact that the man on the street was generally in support of the ideals of freedom and did not view western troops as invaders, but rather as protectors, did not stop the “police action” from dragging on for years, costing countless lives, and leaving America with a pretty big PR mess on its hands. Most “police actions” we have been involved with since that time have not gone much better.

blueberry_kid's avatar

One simple answer, No.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther