Monday, March 21, 2011

Libya reminds me of the past

The news alerts on my iPhone about the Coalition efforts to bomb Libya reminded me of the original Gulf War.

Decades ago I watched CNN report about the efforts of American troops to take back Kuwait from Iraq.  It was a Coalition effort with the United States taking the lead.

Today, a lot of pundits and politicians complained that we are not taking the lead. We followed the French and others to seek and enforce a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent Moammar Gadhafi from killing innocent citizens.

In the wake of other uprisings around North Africa, Libyans tried to fight back, but met a brutal military resistance. Gadhafi wouldn't leave like other leaders in the face of a popular revolt. He stood his ground and showed his guns.

The pundits and politicians are killing me on this issue, because I think we are in a much different place than we were back in 1991. Our economy remains fragile. We are involved in two wars.

While some complain about Obama's golf outings or his basketball brackets, I believe he considered our ability to help Libyans along with the consequence to the United States and its people.

Wars take a great toll on American soldiers and their families. Wars result in dead soldiers and civilians. Wars cost a lot of money. Wars can be dangerous to our nation. Wars can stretch us all very thin.

I know some folks think we are weak, because Obama did not demand a no-fly zone earlier. I've read criticisms that we are following the French or other nations.

So, I had to laugh when I saw this line from a BBC report:
It comes as a coalition of countries including the US, UK and France continue strikes to enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya.
Please note that the United States is listed before the United Kingdom or France. While we are criticizing our government for not taking the lead on the efforts, other nations are giving us the credit and/or blame. I guess we'll have to wait and see how successful this effort is to see how the history books write about this.

For the original Gulf War, many people lament that Saddam Hussein wasn't removed from power. In this present day situation, the official word is that they are not trying to take out Gadhafi, rather they want to target his armed forces and air defense systems. I wonder, if people will lament this too.

I know there are a million reasons why this Libyan effort is different, but it only takes a few reasons to remind me of the original Gulf War's successes and failures.

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