Cult of Personality

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 20th, 2014

Politics 101

Hitler received the Iron Cross for Bravery which carried a lot of Currency in a Militaristic Germany

Adolf Hitler could give a speech that fired up the masses.  People loved him.  The Nazis rose to power by winning elections.  People elected them because they liked what the Nazis were saying.  Things were not that good in Germany.  The victorious Allies blamed World War I on them even though all nations jumped in enthusiastically.  And then to add insult to injury the Allies made Germany pay reparations.  Burdening Germany with the cost of World War I.

This was especially galling as Germany didn’t lose the war.  The war ended in an armistice.  Which is a mutual cessation of warfare.  Not unconditional surrender.  And yet here was Germany.  Being treated as if they surrendered unconditionally.  It made a lot of people feel angry.  And betrayed.  Enter Adolf Hitler.  Who could tap into that anger and feelings of betrayal.

Hitler was a war veteran.  He served as a dispatch runner in World War I.  Wounded by artillery.  And blinded temporarily by mustard gas.  He even received the Iron Cross for bravery.  Although it may have had more to do with spending so much time with senior officers at headquarters that issued those dispatches.  But for a militaristic Germany an Iron Cross carried a lot of currency.

When the Reichstag burned down Hitler blamed the Marxists and turned Germany into a Police State

So Hitler was a brave war hero.  Even though he didn’t actually use a weapon.  Which was a good foundation to build on.  For war heroes don’t stab people in the back after fighting bravely for them in war.  Which is how many Germans felt about the politicians.  Betrayed.  Victims of the evil, conniving politicians.  So the people felt victimized.  And they were looking for someone to stand up for them.  To right these wrongs.

Hitler wanted to be an artist.  But when that didn’t work he turned to politics.  And learned what a good speaker he was.  He even studied how to become a better speaker.  How to look.  How to use his hands.  How to inflect his voice.  His speeches became very moving.  Very dramatic.  He made the defeated Germans feel better.  For he told them that it wasn’t their fault.  It was the politicians, and the Marxists, that stabbed Germany in the back.  And he was the one man that could do something about it.

When the Reichstag burned down he blamed the Marxists.  Who the Nazis shared power with in the Reichstag.  But didn’t want to.  It’s still debated who started the fire (the communists, the Nazis, others) but what it did was allow the newly appointed chancellor, Adolf Hitler, to urge President Hindenburg to suspend all civil liberties so they could hunt these communists down like the dogs they were.  President Hindenburg did.  And the government rounded up the communists.  With them out of the government the Nazis no longer had to share power.  And turned Germany into a police state.  To keep that power.

The Equation Brutal Dictators use to stay in Power is Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Power

Hitler was charismatic.  He could give a powerful speech.  And after the Reichstag fire he controlled the people.  Using censorship and propaganda he made himself god-like.  The war hero.  The savior of the German people.  To undo all the injustice of the Versailles Treaty.  Standing up to the Allies.  Punishing those who stabbed Germany in the back (first the Marxists and then the Jews).  And restoring German pride.  Because he got even with those who wronged the German people.  The people loved him.  He could do no wrong in their eyes. No matter how much wrong he did.  Which he could hide from the people.  Thanks to his censoring of the free press.  And his state propaganda machine.  Which is why people packed stadiums and the sides of roads.  Showering him with their adoration.

Adolf Hitler was Germany.  Germany was Adolf Hitler.  His national socialism provided for the people.  In return the people were subservient to the state.  Germany was more important than the individual.  And Adolf Hitler was more important than Germany.  So anything he did was okay.  For he could do no wrong.  As there was nothing more important than Adolf Hitler.  For Hitler was a cult of personality.  Above the law.  And god-like.  Where people believed he was the only one that could save the nation.  And would do anything for him.  With the most devout joining the SS.  Fighting with unbounded fanaticism in combat.  And carrying out the Holocaust with ruthless efficiency.  They pledged their loyalty to Adolf Hitler.  Not Germany.  And would do anything for him.  Anything at all.  Even torture and kill their fellow Germans.  If that was what their Führer wanted.

This is how dictators were able to do some of the things they did. Because they were a cult of personality.  Mao Zedong.  Saddam Hussein.  Benito Mussolini.  Muammar Gaddafi.  Kim Il-sung.  Kim Jong-il.  Kim Jong-un.  These brutal dictators were/are all worshipped by their people.  At least the people they weren’t/aren’t torturing or killing.  For they had an equation they used to remain in power.  Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Power.  Similar to the equation the Democrats use to win elections.  Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Democrat Votes.  Where they victimize the people.  Find someone to demonize for this victimization.  Such as Marxists and Jews in Nazi Germany.  Or Republicans in the United States.  Then use state propaganda to disseminate their lies.  Like Joseph Goebbels did in Nazi Germany.  And like the mainstream media in the United States disseminates Democrat talking points.  And then use fiery rhetoric to incite the people’s emotions.  Like Hitler, Hussein, Mussolini, Gaddafi, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un and every other cult of personality did.  Like these ‘god-like’ people still do today.

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Bush didn’t Lie but President Obama Did

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 31st, 2013

 Politics 101

Bill Clinton said in a 2005 Interview that the 1981 Israeli Bombing of an Iraqi Nuke Plant was a Good Thing

“Bush lied people died.”  You heard that a lot all during President Bush’s presidency.  The left was shouting it from the mountain top.  “Bush lied people died!”  Saying that the dumbest man ever to occupy the White House fooled the most brilliant people in the world—liberal Democrats—into voting for the invasion of Iraq.  Because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Saddam Hussein used WMDs on March 16, 1988.  It was the closing days of the Iran-Iraq War.  In the Kurdish town of Halabja in Northern Iraq.  Hussein was no friend of the Kurds.  And the Kurds had no love for Hussein.  Which is why Kurdish guerillas fought with the Iranians against Saddam Hussein.  And after the Iranians took this Kurdish town in northern Iraq Hussein had no problem with committing an act of genocide in Halabja.  Which he did on March 16, 1988.  The largest chemical attack against a civilian population in history.

On June 7, 1981, Israel carried out a surprise bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction.  For they feared a Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons.  During the Persian Gulf War the Americans bombed what was left of that nuclear reactor.  For they, too, feared a Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons.  Though publicly condemned by pretty much everyone at the time of the bombing most were probably happy the Israelis did that unpleasant task for them.  Even Bill Clinton said in a 2005 interview that the bombing was a good thing.

Saddam Hussein violated the Terms of the Gulf War Cease Fire by not Documenting the Destruction of his WMDs

The Congress saw the same intelligence the Bush administration saw in the run-up to the Iraq War.  It was so convincing that Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Harry Reid voted to give George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq.  Who all feared a Saddam Hussein with WMDs.  For as bad as 9/11 was it could have been worse if the terrorists had WMDs.  Hussein had WMDs.  And he had no moral compunction against using them.  As proven by Halabja.  Making him a very dangerous man in a world where terrorists who hate America are in the market for WMDs.

So there was a very strong case against Saddam Hussein.  Especially when you throw in his violation of the terms of the Gulf War cease fire agreement.  In particular the documentation of his destruction of his WMDs that he agreed to do.  Which was a tantamount admission of having them.  WMDs.  But he didn’t document the destruction of his WMD stockpiles.  Because he did not destroy them.  Which meant one thing.  He still had weapons of mass destruction.  Which is probably why Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Harry Reid voted to give George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq.  For they were terrified…of being on the wrong side of history when those WMDs they knew he had were found.

Well, we found no WMDs in Iraq.  Probably because Hussein shipped them off to Syria for safekeeping.  Assuming he would remain in power after the Iraq War.  Just as he remained in power after the Gulf War.  After the invasion nonsense was done he could go to Syria and take his WMDs back.  And perhaps get them into the hands of a terrorist for use against an American city.  To retaliate for the big headache George W. Bush gave him.  Of course his subsequent capture and execution put a wrench into all future plans he may have had.

Liberals play Fast and Loose with the Truth as Telling the Truth rarely helps the Liberal Agenda

President Obama made some promises about Obamacare during the Affordable Care Act debate.  Because the people were against it.  They didn’t want anything near quasi national health care.  So he kept saying that Obamacare wasn’t a government takeover of our health care system.  And that it would actually make the private health insurance industry better.  It would cover more.  While costing less.  And the best thing about the Affordable Care Act was this (see Obama’s pledge that ‘no one will take away’ your health plan by Glenn Kessler posted 10/30/2013 on The Washington Post).

“That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

The Fact Checker on The Washington Post gave this statement Four Pinocchios.  Their highest level of dishonesty.   Or ‘whoppers’.  As About The Fact Checker calls Four Pinocchios.  Basically saying the president lied about Obamacare to get the Affordable Care Act passed into law.  And lied again to win reelection.  For the election results may have been different if he had told the truth.  If he had said that some will lose their doctors and some will lose their health-care plan.  If he had said that premiums and deductibles would rise.  If he had would the people who had insurance and doctors they liked vote for him?  No.  Probably not. 

So President Obama and the Democrats told lies that deceived a great many people to get what he couldn’t get by telling the truth.  Obamacare.  One of the most divisive pieces of legislation ever passed in Congress.  Passed on purely partisan lines.  No Republicans voted for the Affordable Care Act.  Unlike the legislation that gave George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq.  Which had bipartisan support.  With both Republicans and Democrats voting for it.  Yet the left said, “Bush lied people died.”  But when it comes to President Obama’s flagrant lies about the Affordable Care Act all you hear are crickets from the left.  Because for them the truth is whatever they say it is.  And a lie is whatever they say it is.  For the only way to pass their liberal agenda is to play fast and loose with the truth.  As telling the truth rarely helps the liberal agenda.

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Obama Explains Autocratic Action in Libya was Necessary to Keep UN Legitimate

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 28th, 2011

Obama Explains the Libyan War

President Obama finally took to the television to explain what we’re doing in Libya.  He takes a dig at George W. Bush over the Iraq War.  Says this isn’t anything like the Iraq War.  And that the U.S. role will be short and sweet (see Obama: Libya Isn’t Iraq by Carol E. Lee posted 3/28/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

During the 2008 presidential campaign,  Barack Obama became a hero of the left for his opposition to the Iraq war. Tonight, he used the eight-year-old conflict to explain how the U.N.-backed mission to protect rebels in Libya, not overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi, won’t result in a prolonged U.S. engagement.

“If we tried to overthrow Gadhafi by force, our coalition would splinter,” President Obama said. “We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.”

He added: “To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq.”

“[R]egime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars,” Mr. Obama said. “That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.”

Yes, we’ve been down the ‘regime-change’ road before.  And we’ve also been down the ‘no-fly-zone’ road before.  In Iraq, for example.  After the Gulf War.  Some twelve years before the Iraq War.  You see, after we threw Iraq out of Kuwait we entered into a ceasefire.  But Saddam Hussein did not behave.  Or honor many of the terms of the armistice that ended the Gulf War.  Worse, he was violently oppressing Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south that were rising up against his Sunni government.  We were hoping for regime change.  We didn’t get it.  And we didn’t try to help the Kurds or the Shiites.  For the same reasons Obama cites in the Libyan War.  Of course, the Left brutally criticized George H.W. Bush for ending the war too soon.  For not toppling the Hussein regime.  And there we were.  Watching Hussein putting down those uprisings with extreme prejudice (i.e., deadly force).  Oh, it was bad.  Like in Libya. Only worse.

The atrocities got so bad that the international community finally did something.  They established no-fly zones in the north and the south.  And maintained them for some eleven years.  Did we end them after we’ve achieved success?  No.  They ended after the Iraq War toppled Hussein from power making them moot.  You see, here’s the ugly truth.  Unless you topple the bad guy from power, those no-fly zones can never go away.  Even Bill Clinton launched an attack against Hussein while president.  Because he kept attacking the Kurds.  Even with the no-fly zone in place.

What Obama says in effect is that we’re going into Libya half-assed.  We’re not going to do anything that will have a permanent affect.  Just like after 1991 in Iraq.  And we’re leaving ourselves with an open-ended commitment that won’t end until Qaddafi dies by natural causes.  Because he ain’t going anywhere.  He’s a marked man.  And even if he finds safe sanctuary, whoever takes him in may become another Jimmy Carter and see their embassy staff taken hostage (when Carter reluctantly allowed the deposed Shah of Iran into America for medical care).

So the question remains.  Why Libya?  There’s suffering all around the world.  But we help only Libya.  Some have suggested that it was to help the Europeans protect their Libyan oil as they fear another ‘Hugo Chavez‘ nationalization of their oil assets.  Being that they made those agreements with the Qaddafi regime, I’m not sure why they would want to help the rebels trying to topple him from power.  If the Muslim Brotherhood or al-Qaeda fills the power vacuum in a post-Qaddafi Libya, you can bet that their terms on the ‘revised’ contracts won’t be as favorable to any Western economy.  So I don’t know.  It’s a stretch.  But one thing for sure Obama isn’t telling us the whole story.  There has to be a reason why Libya.  Better than the weak arguments he’s making now.

We Attacked Libya so the UN can Save Face

In making his case President Obama inadvertently attacks the role of the UN.  And tries to ease our concerns about a third war with the nation mired in recession.  And buried under a rapidly growing debt (see Obama on Libya: ‘We have a responsibility to act’ by Ben Feller posted 3/28/2011 on The Associated Press).

Citing a failure to act in Libya, he said: “The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the U.N. Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security.”

 Well, isn’t that a fact?  That that “writ of the UN Security Council” is pretty worthless unless backed by the wealth and military might of the United States?  The UN has no military.  Article 43 of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter tried to build a UN military but no nation contributed any forces.  So the UN has no teeth.  Oh, sure, you can say NATO can fill that role.  But the bulk of NATO’s assets are whose?  That’s right.  Ours.  However you want to slice it doesn’t change this fundamental truth.  Any UN or NATO operation is only as strong and as effective as the size of the U.S. role in that operation.

Domestic politics got a nod, too, in a nation saddled in debt and embroiled over how to cut spending.

“The risk and cost of this operation – to our military and to American taxpayers – will be reduced significantly” Obama said.

The president said transferring the mission to NATO would leave the United States in a supporting role, providing intelligence, logistical support and search and rescue assistance. He said the U.S. would also use its capabilities to jam Gadhafi’s means of communication.

The U.S. in a supporting role?  Whenever has the U.S. played that part before?  We’re the John Wayne of international peace-keeping and humanitarian efforts.  We don’t get supporting roles.  Even if that’s all we want.  And the sop to the taxpayers?  This from the guy that is running trillion dollar deficits?  That’s ‘trillion’ with a ‘t’.  Not the ‘billion’ dollar deficits of Ronald Reagan that were irresponsible and bankrupting the country.  He has shown little regard to the American taxpayer.  Why should we believe him now?  He likes to spend tax dollars.  And he likes to tax. 

Fighting Illegal Wars and Cozying up to Big Corporations just isn’t for Republicans Anymore

And tax he does.  He and his progressive Democrats.  They go after rich people.  And big corporations.  Well, some of the big corporations (see 15 Tax Escape Artists by The Daily Beast posted 3/28/2011 on The Daily Beast).

As reported Friday, General Electric concluded 2010 with $14.2 billion in profits, for which the Internal Revenue Service is paying them a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, thanks to a shrewd use of U.S. tax loopholes, aggressive lobbying and favorable international tax provisions. They’re far from alone.

“Companies are becoming much more sophisticated in the way they arbitrage the U.S. tax system,” says Howard Gleckman, a resident fellow at The Urban Institute, which analyzes economic issues in the U.S. “GE is not the only one, there are many other companies doing the same thing.”

Did you catch that?  GE earned $14.2 billion in profits and did not pay any taxes.  In fact, the IRS paid them a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.    How does that make you feel about a ‘green’ corporation in tight with the Obama administration?  GE is a heavy Democrat donor.  And crony.  A big proponent of green energy.  Because they want to sell compact fluorescent lamps and windmills.  They’re so committed to Obama in going green that Jeffrey Immelt, GE CEO, leads Obama’s economic advisory board.  And yet it’s always the Republicans that are criticized for being in the pocket of the big corporations.  But when it’s Democrats, we don’t call it crony capitalism.  Go figure.

Is GE getting favorable treatment?  Perhaps. 

Critics argue that the avoidance of corporate income tax hurts the economy and hampers domestic investment and job creation, but defenders of the practices argue it’s the only way their companies can stay competitive on a global scale as the American corporate tax rate of 35 percent is one the highest in the world…

“GE is a symptom of a much bigger problem and GE management uses the tax code for their benefit,” says Gleckman. “I’m not offended by GE, I’m offended by a tax system that allows this to go on. They have an obligation to their shareholders and their workers to maximize after-tax profits.”

Of course, the irony is that GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt is the same person Barack Obama appointed to head the panel of external economic advisers created in 2009 to help steer the U.S. out of the economic crisis. Says Willens, “when [Immelt] was appointed to that position, people who had familiarity with GE’s tax practices had a good laugh, which are rare for tax professionals.”

Obama says our role in Libya will be limited to help the American taxpayer.  Does having the highest corporate tax rates in the world that stifle economic growth and sends jobs overseas help, too?  These tax rates are so high that it forces poor corporations to manipulate the tax code to stay competitive.  Which is okay as long as you are pouring money into Democrat coffers apparently.  Even if you outsource jobs to countries with lower tax rates.

And having the fox guard the chicken house?  In the world of Obama, there’s no conflict there.  Of course, if George W. Bush selected an oilman to lead such a board I suspect there would have been some protestation.  But Obama can do no wrong.  Although the Libyan War is now straining some of his strongest supporters.  Which should make for an interesting 2012 election.  If we have one, that is.

Going Rogue or Just in over his Head?

Special tax deals and policy influence for cronies?  Wars launched without Congressional authority or any clear idea of what exactly our national security interests are?  High taxation?  Huge deficits?  You know, there is a name for this kind of leader.  Autocrat.  Someone who does whatever he wants.  This reminds me of another leader.  You might have heard of him in the news lately.  He’s Libyan.  Goes by the name of Qaddafi.

Of course, Obama is no Qaddafi.  He’s much more conservative in dress.  And he doesn’t murder his own people.  But apart from these two things, you have to admit there are some similarities.  Both are cults of personality (before you object remember that Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize before he had a chance to do anything as president).  Friends of both get special treatment (the stimulus bill didn’t hire anyone – it went to the public sector unions and other supporters).  Both feel they’re above the law (take Obamacare, for example.  Ruled unconstitutional yet the Obama administration is still proceeding in defiance of the court’s ruling).  And they both attack their enemies (the Obama machinery bussed protesters to Wisconsin to try to prevent the elected Wisconsin Assembly from voting on the bill to restrict collective bargaining rights to public sector workers).  Oh, and even though he defied one judge (in the Obamacare ruling) he used another judge in Wisconsin to stop a law he didn’t personally like (restricting collective bargaining rights of public sector unions).

So this leaves all scratching our collective head.  Why Libya?  When you get right down to it, he must like a lot about Qaddafi.  He’s doing a lot of the same.  Only without the blood and fancy dress.  And while we’re asking questions, here’s another.  Will there be an election in 2012?  That may depend on how far his poll numbers drop.  Because there’s a limit to the number of dead people that can vote without drawing suspicion.  I’m joking, of course.  There will be an election.  Obama hasn’t gone rogue.  He’s just young, inexperienced and in over his head.  At least based on his incomprehensible actions.

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Obama Going all George W. Bush in the Middle East?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 19th, 2011

Fighting Wars on the other Side of the World

In 1775, the shooting in the American Revolutionary War began.  The world’s superpower, the British Empire, had planned on taking some arms away from local rebels.  Some shots were exchanged at Lexington and Concord.  And the small British force retreated to Boston.  The rebels harassed the British column the entire way.  The war did not begin well for the British.  And it would end like it began.  Not well.  The British formally recognized the United States of America 8 years later with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The British outclassed the Americans in every way but one.  Lines of communications.  The British lines were some 3,000 miles back to Great Britain.  About a 6 hour flight today.  Then, a couple of months by ship.  By contrast the Americans held the advantage of short, interior lines.  We could ‘hit and run’ and melt back into the surrounding country.  Like we did in 1775 during that British retreat.  As we did throughout the war.  Though General Washington wanted to defeat the British in a decisive battle, he would not get the chance to meet the British in such a battle until 6 long years later at Yorktown.  Unable to win a decisive battle, he did the only thing he could.  Not lose a decisive battle.  The American Revolutionary War was a war of attrition.  The British sued for peace when the cost of continuing the war was greater than the British people were willing to pay.  As wars are wont to be with such long lines of communications.

Military planners have learned this lesson.  You are probably familiar with a more recent war that was similar.  Where a world superpower was involved in a war of attrition half way across the world.  In South Vietnam.  The Americans came into the conflict to support South Vietnam from Communist North Vietnam.  There is no South Vietnam today.  Like the British some 200 years earlier, we won the military engagements but just couldn’t win the war.  When the cost in blood and treasure became too great, we met in Paris, too, to end the war.  We signed the Paris Peace Accords in 1973.  And we learned the British lesson of 1783.

Winning the War is Easier than Winning the Peace

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, George H. W. Bush assembled an international coalition and threw the Iraqis out of Kuwait.  Operation Desert Storm was an overwhelming victory.  However, Bush was heavily criticized for ‘not finishing the job’ in the Gulf War.  His critics said we should have gone on to Baghdad to remove Hussein from power.  We didn’t.  For a couple of good reasons.  First of all, the coalition included Arab nations.  They only joined to repel Hussein from Kuwait.  Not to remove him from power.  The other reason was that if we toppled Hussein we would own Iraq.  And we would probably end up there for years trying to ‘win the peace’.

Following the Gulf War there were uprisings throughout Iraq.  The world watched hopeful that he would be overthrown by his own people and democracy would break out.  It didn’t.  He suppressed the rebellions brutally.  So brutally that no-fly zones were established in the north over the Kurds and in the south over the Shiite population.  But we didn’t invade.  And he remained a thorn in our side.  And his people suffered.

After 9/11, the US invaded Afghanistan.  Then Iraq.  The official reason was his weapons of mass destruction that he never documented destroyed.  He had used chemical weapons against the Iranians.  And the Kurds.  Being a ‘supporter’ of terrorism there was worry he might provide these weapons to a terrorist.  So there was that reason.  The other reason was a little more convoluted.  Osama bin Laden was a Wahhabi Sunni.  He had ties in Saudi Arabia.  And there was a large Wahhabi population in Saudi Arabia providing funding to al Qaeda.  The Saudis were reluctant to shut down this funding for fear of a rebellion by the Wahhabis against the House of Saud.  But there was one thing that worried them more than the Wahhabis.  Shiite Iran.  By invading Iraq we forced their hand.  They had a vested interest in seeing us succeed in Iraq.  And in our war against al Qaeda.  We made progress against al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts in Afghanistan.  And the Saudi started to shut down their funding.  The Iraq War was a success.  But the one drawback was that we now owned Iraq.  And winning the peace was nowhere as easy as winning the war.  As George W. Bush learned.

Obama Commits Military Force in Libya

The US has some very important friends in the Middle East and North Africa.  Among these are Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.  To name a few.  These are nations with Sunni populations and/or Sunni governments unfriendly to Iran.  Egypt made peace with Israel and kept the Suez Canal open for international trade for decades.  Saudi Arabia peacefully coexists with its neighbors and is the largest oil exporter in the world.  Except for the oil embargo of 1973, they have maintained the flow of that oil at market prices to Western economies.  The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain.

These nations aren’t perfect.  Saudi women can’t drive a car, for example.  But they’re stalwart US allies.  One of these nations was pretty progressive as well as being a staunch US friend.  Egypt.  Egyptian women were about the freest in the Middle East, second only to Tunisia.  Egypt and Tunisia, though, were suffering economically.  Had high unemployment.  And a Muslim opposition unhappy with their ‘Western’ ways.  The largest organized opposition group is the Muslim Brotherhood.  And they can be best described as being more simpatico with Iran.  When Egypt had their uprising, the Obama administration called it a democracy uprising and called for Hosni Mubarak to give up power.  Without considering who would step into that power void.  Which did not go over well with Mubarak.  Or the Saudis.

Now Libya is burning.  Qaddafi is attacking his own people.  The US dithered for weeks.  While the Libyans cried for help.  Even other Arab nations cried for our help.  But we did nothing.  Even though Qaddafi is not a US friend.  And was a sponsor of terrorism.  As the carnage mounted, though, someone took action.  The French of all people (see U.S. Missiles Strike Libyan Air-Defense Targets by David Kirkpatrick, Steven Erlanger and Elisabeth Bumiller posted 3/19/2011 The New York Times).

American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Saturday, unleashing warplanes and missiles in a military intervention on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war…

The campaign began with French warplane missions even before the end of an emergency summit meeting in Paris, where leaders, reacting to news that Colonel Qaddafi’s forces were attacking the rebel capital city of Benghazi on Saturday morning despite international demands for a cease-fire, said they had no choice but to act to defend Libyan civilians and opposition forces.

France has a Muslim problem.  They had some riots a few years back in some Paris Muslim suburbs.  Where young Muslims were unemployed.  Unhappy.  And not all that willing to assimilate into French culture.  Though they want to live in France.  So there’s been tensions between the French and their Muslim population.  So it says a lot that France was on point in this attack on a Muslim country.  Yes, at this time the international community, including some Arab states, approve of this action.  But you play with fire whenever you attack a Muslim country.  Especially if they have oil.  And Libya has oil.  In fact, it’s some of the finest oil in the Middle East.  A low-sulfur sweet crude.

When the international community was coming together against him, Qaddafi was defiant.  Warned us to stay out of their internal affairs.

“Libya is not yours. Libya is for all Libyans,” he wrote in one letter, read to the news media by a spokesman. “This is injustice, it is clear aggression, and it is uncalculated risk for its consequences on the Mediterranean and Europe.

“You will regret it if you take a step toward intervening in our internal affairs.”

Colonel Qaddafi addressed President Obama as “our son,” in a letter jarring for its familiarity. “I have said to you before that even if Libya and the United States enter into war, God forbid, you will always remain my son and I have all the love for you as a son, and I do not want your image to change with me,” he wrote. “We are confronting Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, nothing more. What would you do if you found them controlling American cities with the power of weapons? Tell me how would you behave so that I could follow your example?”

Could this be why the Obama administration was so reluctant to act?  Because of a father-son relationship between Obama and Qaddafi?  You gotta admit this is a strange thing for Qaddafi to say.  Makes you wonder just what was the extent of Obama’s apology tour in the Middle East.  One thing for sure, it will give fuel to those who think Obama is a Muslim.  I mean, it just doesn’t help when the bad guy calls you a son.

Regret?  We should take that threat seriously.  After some military encounters with Libyan losses in the Gulf of Sidra Qaddafi retaliated with the bombing of a German disco frequented by US troops.  When we discovered his connection to that bombing we bombed Tripoli.  In retaliation for that bombing he had a bomb smuggled aboard a 747.  Pan Am Flight 103.  Brought down on Lockerbie, Scotland.  So he has a history of getting even.  Which we need to be on guard for.

Obama now Owns Libya

So it’s war.  Missiles are flying.  People are dying (see Libya: British forces launch missile attacks on Gaddafi by Colin Freeman, in Benghazi and Sean Rayment posted 3/20/2011 on the UK’s Telegraph).

Explosions were reported at an airport east of Tripoli as a British Trafalgar Class submarine and US Navy ships and submarines stationed off Libya fired 110 Tomahawk missiles at 20 targets in what one source described as a “night of carnage”.

The missiles targeted Libyan command and control centres, radar installations and surface-to-air missile sites. Libyan officials said the attacks were “barbaric” and causing civilian casualties…

British sources and Pentagon officials said Nato would undertake a “battle damage assessment” of Libya’s military during daylight hours and would decide whether to continue with further attacks.

Sources at the Elysée Palace said Britain, France and the United States had assumed the “leadership” of the coalition in early talks between the Prime Minister, Mr Sarkozy and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State. The “extremely purposeful conclusion” of the early talks was endorsed by the full meeting, where speakers included Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations secretary general.

Well, President Obama has his third war.  Pretty impressive for a guy that said he would get us out of Iraq (he didn’t).  That he would fully prosecute the Afghanistan War to victory (he hasn’t).  And he wouldn’t nation-build like his predecessor.  George W. Bush.  He now may.  There’s no way Qaddafi can withstand the military force now aligned against him.  So he will lose.  But what then?  Who will fill that power vacuum?  In an already unstable and changing Middle East?  He can say what he wants about Iraq and Afghanistan, but it’s different with Libya.  This happened on his watch.  And he now owns it.  It will be up to him to win the peace.  Or lose it.

Those naval operations against Libya will be based out of Bahrain.  I sure hope he doesn’t encourage any more ‘democracy’ uprisings while we’re using that base for combat operations.  It would be a shame to lose that base during the middle of these operations.  And by a shame I mean a complete and utter disaster.  Because that would greatly extend our lines of communications.  And history has shown what that can do in war.

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