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All of this has happened before...
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3/28/2011 7:37:06 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
All of this has happened before, and will happen again. So sayeth the scriptwriters for the Battlestar Galactica reboot, but nonetheless is true of the U.S. intervention in Libya.
One nation, espousing freedom, takes a side between two other powers.
It happened in the 18th century, when the French intervened on the side of the fledgling nation that would become the United States in its rebellious war for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and without which, realistically, Britain would have put down the rebels due to its naval might the rebels had no means of challenging on their own and the crack British troops that outnumbered, outgunned and out-experienced the Yankee rebels.
It happened in the 19th century, when the United States entered a war between Mexico and the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas and achieved victory for the Texas rebels.
It happened a number of times in the twentieth century, including intervention on behalf of the Allies in World War I and intervening on behalf of Kuwait in the first Gulf War.
Desert Storm under the first President Bush, to me, and the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia during Clinton's last year to me are the most recent conflicts that are the most reminiscent of our current activity in Libya. These battles contrast with our stalemate in Korea, our defeat in Vietnam and our very high-cost barely-a-victory in Iraq in that we limited our military activity and put no soldiers on the ground in the territory of a hostile power (yes, we put tanks and troops in Kuwait, but Kuwait is a sovereign state; President H.W. Bush knew better than to try and invade Iraq with ground forces and instead maintained a no-fly zone that kept Hussein strongly boxed in).
When judging whether Obama's actions are right or wrong, and whether or not we belong doing anything in Libya, I think it is important to bear those conflicts in mind -- especially the French intervention on the U.S.' behalf in American Revolutionary War (granted, they did put boots on the ground, but there were no jets or cruise missiles in those days and their most significant contribution in areas the U.S. was weak was naval), and the U.S. interventions in Kuwait and Yugoslavia. Compare and contrast the Libya campaign to those campaigns, not to Iraq nor Afghanistan which involved our invasion with ground troops of sovereign state.