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Ed Koch

Ed Koch

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Where Do We Start and When Do We Stop?

Posted: 03/30/11 03:44 PM ET

I listened intently this week to the speech given by President Barack Obama explicitly intended to explain to the American public why the U.S. decided to engage in military activities in Libya. The speech was substantive and delivered superbly, but when it was over, I was not convinced it was in the national interest of the U.S. to commence a third war in North Africa while we are currently involved in two ongoing wars in the Mideast.

Our President does not see our military activities in Libya as a war. For him, it is a military humanitarian effort to prevent Muammar Gaddafi from carrying out a threat that he made to put to the sword the rebels and their supporters in his country, situated primarily in Benghazi. There is no evidence that such a human tragedy, which would constitute a war crime, has in fact occurred. The preemptive military activities of those allied with us in the attack on the Libyan military forces controlled by Gaddafi caused them to retreat from Benghazi. While we cite the UN Resolution authorizing our interdicting Qaddafi's use of his air force in his country's airspace, and the support of our NATO allies particularly France and Great Britain, with the endorsement of the Arab League, it is the armed forces of the US that have been responsible for taking out Libya's air defenses and preventing the use of Libya's airspace by the Libyan government's planes.

A Times article of March 29 reported

From the air, the United States is supplying much more firepower than any other country. The allies have fired nearly 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles since the campaign started on March 19, all but 7 from the United States. The United States has flown about 370 attack missions, and its allied partners have flown a similar number, but the Americans have dropped 455 precision-guided munitions compared with 147 from other coalition members.

Each Tomahawk costs over $1 million. Meanwhile, we are eliminating services to Americans because of our budget deficit at home. Let our NATO and Arab allies do the dirty work for a change. We are overextended.

I would welcome President Obama's adding Gaddafi to the list of those subject to assassination by our special forces. Osama bin-Laden's name has been on that list for more than 10 years.

Many believe we are violating the "no fly zone" UN resolution by expanding our military activities in Libya to include destroying Libyan tanks which are not capable of flying.

Finally, does anyone know anything about the rebels? Are they really good guys who should they win will turn Libya into a democratic oasis in that area? I doubt it. In the recent election in Egypt which overthrew Mubarak, a longtime friend of the U.S., it is reported in the media that the victors were a coalition of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Army.

If Libya needs rescuing and boots on the ground, let the Egyptian Army, one million strong and next door to Libya, do it.

By the way, Mr. President, do you intend to stop the murderous shootings in Syria of innocent civilians, or those occurring in Bahrain where the Saudis are doing the shooting? Shouldn't the U.S., if it is going to protect civilian populations from their own governments, first protect the black Sudanese citizens in the Darfur province who are being killed and raped by the Arabs supporting the Sudan government, and have been for so many years? Even more in need of protection are the black citizens of the Congo, where it is reported five million people have been killed by various rag-tag armies over the last few years.

Where do we start and when do we stop?

 

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