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Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

If we, (the U.S.) are involved in Lybia because the gov. was killing civillians, why have we done nothing about Robert Mugabe?

Asked by Russell_D_SpacePoet (6449points) March 21st, 2011

I heard Obama say we were involved because Gaddafi was killing civilians with his army. Mugabe is just as ruthless if not more.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article4207831.ece
Any good excuses?

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41 Answers

WasCy's avatar

OMG! A hypocritical politician?! Horrors! I had no idea that this was going on.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@WasCy I’m afraid it is a little more than that.

Zaku's avatar

You should have seen the people we were supporting back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@Zaku I’m well aware. I think it is very telling about the moral compass of the U.S.

Qingu's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet, while I agree that our justification for this war hinges on a huge double standard, and that this double-standard is probably going to be hugely problematic… I’m not sure this question has all that much bite.

A counterargument/analogy would be that it’s not wrong for a police force to intervene in a high-profile armed robbery on Wall Street, just because police don’t intervene in low-profile armed robberies in ghettos.

wundayatta's avatar

I heard Hillary Clinton answering that question the other day. If I remember correctly, she acknowledged that there were places all over the world where civilians were being killed. We’re involved with Libya because of their “strategic” importance (read oil).

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@Qingu I guess genocide doesn’t rank high enough with you to merit the comparison. To each their own.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@wundayatta Ding, ding, ding!!!!!! I am fairly sure that oil is the reason.

Qingu's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet, I don’t disagree with you, I just think that pointing out a double standard doesn’t invalidate acting on one side of that standard.

And I don’t think oil is even a primary reason. Not everything reduces to oil or economic reasons. Clinton was the primary mover for promoting this war, not the oil interests, not the military. By “strategic importance,” she probably meant in terms of the Arab uprisings that we want to get on the good side of.

janbb's avatar

I don’t want to jump in too much on political questions any more but I do think there is a valid distinction to be made between multi-lateral support of an ongoing national uprising and unilateral intervention to overthrow a government where there is none, i.e. Iraq’s.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@janbb We shouldn’t have gone to Iraq.

janbb's avatar

That was my point.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@janbb I don’t think we should have gone in to Libya either.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Considering that the pretense is that Qaddafi is bombing and shooting at his own citizens, and that the U.S. has done just that many times before, it’s just downright hypocrisy.

missingbite's avatar

@wundayatta Hit the nail on the head. All the more reason we should be frac drilling here.

wundayatta's avatar

@missingbite Sorry, dude, but that stuff is poisoning my drinking water. I don’t want my tap to be the next one that pours out flaming water.

Qingu's avatar

It does seem pretty clear that the US would not have gotten involved if the international community did not support this action.

So I am taking heart in that. I don’t actually have a problem, in theory, with a “World Police” that operates with UN mandate. We just need to make sure that the World Police actually act like police and not soldiers fighting wars of attrition that kill thousands of civilians.

tinyfaery's avatar

$$$—which is the answer to most war related questions.

Qingu's avatar

@tinyfaery, I don’t agree. Vietnam and Afghanistan were not fought for economic reasons; we also didn’t end up making any money on our most recent adventure in Iraq.

It’s certainly true that some people will always profit from wars, but I think looking at warfare only through an economic lens shortchanges the very powerful ideological factors that lead to wars.

tinyfaery's avatar

Just because the federal government didn’t make a profit does not mean that money was not the incentive. Underneath all the political maneuvering I always see $ (dollar signs).

incendiary_dan's avatar

It’s probably useful to keep the economic understanding, but not on a numerical basis. Consider that in many cases, wars or proxy wars are faught to keep access to certain resources stable. The Libyan conflict quickly destabilized the oil market, so it’s in the interest of the major world powers to resolve it. And they can hardly side with a mass-murdering lunatic now that everyone is aware of his crimes (i.e. they couldn’t cover them up to side with him).

ddude1116's avatar

Gadaffi has al-Qaeda behind him, who want to kill we sitting in our ergonomic chairs in America, whereas Mugabe has little concern with killing us. The US is more interested in the bigger threat, which in this case is the ulterior motive of thwarting al-Qaeda’s recent escapades.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@ddude1116 That’s funny. Gadaffi says he’s fighting al-Qaeda.

CaptainHarley's avatar

We are not the world’s policeman. We should follow our own founders’ advice: avoid foreign entanglements.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@CaptainHarley I agree, but we don’t do that. We can’t seem to not get involved where there might be a disruption to part of the oil supply.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It has to do with far more than the supply of oil.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Three magic words that cause even the French to perk up (especially when it’s their supply): light, sweet crude.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Mugabe has been doing that for years, but Gaddafi has just started. Since Libya grabbed the headlines, the politicians of the world felt a need to act. Zimbabwe hasn’t had the headlines, and not many people know what’s going on, so the good people of the civilised world aren’t aware that we should be demanding action there too.

Also, there are no bases within appropriate distance to be able to carry out effective action without ground forces in Zimbabwe. In the case of Libya, Italy is close enough to be a convenient base of operations. Intervention in Zimbabwe would require an occupying ground force – something that would be costly, and that the African people would not tolerate, since it would be seen as akin to the white supremacy of Apartheid in neighbouring South Africa.

mattbrowne's avatar

I’d say we’re also involved with Libya, because we let down the Tunisian and Egyptian people by supporting their dictators. We’ve learned from our mistakes, now showing solidarity with the Libyans who also demand freedom and justice like the people in Tunisia and Egypt before them. While the military protected their people, especially in Egypt, Gaddafi uses parts of the military plus mercenaries to slaughter his people. How much slaughtering is going on in Zimbabwe?

tedd's avatar

Well a few reasons. Gaddafi is very publicly and openly committing genocide for one. He also has a history of resorting to terrorism (see Lockerbie bomber), and the worry is that now with most of his world life lines cut he’ll go back to it. Honestly the biggest concern is probably oil… as sad as that is to say.

Just be thankful it lines up with helping some people from getting slaughtered.

Qingu's avatar

@tinyfaery, I really disagree. Money is too simplistic of an explanation for warfare. It ignores so much of human nature, it completely fails to explain a number of major wars we’ve engaged in (Afghanistan, Vietnam), and it shortchanges the very real—and arguably more dehibilitating—ideological currents that motivate foreign policy.

Anticommunism was not simply based on economic desires, and neither is the neoconservative “spreading democracy through bombs” doctrine, or our desire for vengeance on al-Qaeda and their supporters in Afghanistan. If you try to stuff these motivations into the “greed” box, you lose a lot of insight and detail.

janbb's avatar

Can someone edit the title of this question and correct the spelling of Libya?

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@janbb I know. I found it spelled 2 different ways yesterday. My bad. Although that is kind of anal.

Qingu's avatar

I blame Qadaffi for all misspellings related to his country.

janbb's avatar

@Qingu Or do you blame Ghadaffi?

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@Qingu LOL! I agree. :) He should issue a statement clarifying the spelling of his country and his name.

anartist's avatar

Qadafhi [sp] and everyone else in the middle east all caught up in revolutions at the same time? And many of the rulers more secular than not [e.g. Mubarak, Hussein]—what the hell has lit up the entire region? Populist uprisings for human rights and democracy, uprisings fueled by Muslim fundamentalism? A combination of both?
And what will the middle east be like in 5 years?

mattbrowne's avatar

@anartist – Because of the Internet young Arabs know about the freedom we enjoy in our Western societies. In Egypt the uprising was triggered by cell phone video clip which recorded the severe beating of an activist using an Internet cafe in Alexandria. See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Khaled_Mohamed_Saeed

Yes, the revolutions will continue. Progress is unstoppable.

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