Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Consider the pathetic meaninglessness of our current military engagement over Libya.
Three of the world's mightiest military powers - countries with legitimate axes to grind against Moammar the Mad - instead quibbled and dithered for years - decades even - before the spectacle of a popular uprising being brutally crushed at last shamed us into doing something, anything . . . and even then we approach it half-heartedly.
It's not as if the self-proclaimed Modern-Day Hannibal hasn't given us enough reason already; the bombing of the LaBelle Disco and Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie were but his most visible crimes.
Gaddafi is a legitimate sponsor of international terrorism, and he's a total nutjob on top of it all. ODDYSEY DAWN could also be known as "Operation Long Over-Due".
Our President had to be coerced into committing by an openly mutinous Secretary of State, and on Day Three of combat operations objectives anything resembling a plan, stated objectives, or an exit strategy have yet to be described.
And yet this miniscule engagement over the Gulf of Sidra is enough to fascinate the world, and to pull the media off a truly significant event; an earthquake and tsunami of epic, biblical proportions, and a subsequent nuclear accident involving six reactors.
And it is miniscule; we're going to crush this guy and blow his forces to smithereens - more than likely within the space of a fortnight. And yet the so-called "experts" in the media dish up comparison after comparison to Iraq & Afghanistan; as if huge land engagements involving hundreds of thousands of forces against countries that harbored legitimate physical threats against the people of the Free World can be compared to this maritime adventure. I say adventure for this is hardly a war.
Of course, by historic standards, Iraq itself was a microscopic war.
Consider - in the first eight years of Iraq, we lost as many people as we lost in a single day at Normandy.
By the same standards, Vietnam was a low-intensity conflict. Over the course of ten years we lost just under fifty thousand; we lost that many in three years in Korea, and in three days at Gettysburg.
This is the illusion of body count math, of course - to the single soldier who is killed, wounded, maimed or taken captive, what he is involved in is very real, very legitimate war - even if it only lasts for fifteen minutes.
Nowadays the sheer lethality of modern weapons preclude the requirement for clashes between huge armies a la Waterloo or the Somme; an Infantryman with a shoulder-fired weapon negates a 55-ton tank.
A shoulder-fired, man-portable anti-aircraft defense (MANPAD) missiles allowed a bunch of religious zealots of a 13th century society - the Mujahadeen - to defeat one of the largest, most powerful militaries in the world - the Soviet Union. While at the same time the amplifying effect of the modern media allows tiny symbolic conflicts - such as we are witnessing now - to gain great meaning.
Endless war? Yes, of course. Meaningful significance of these wars? Less and less. Consider this Libya thing - he's a tin horn dictator sitting on top of a huge puddle of oil. Yet nobody even pretends its about the oil - because it really isn't. For more than a decade we chose not to buy our oil from Gaddafi, at cost and sacrifice to ourselves. Now, we can buy from him or we can go through this unpleasant business, expend huge amounts of treasure (which we haven't got), shed the precious blood of our best and our brightest (for what? for whom?) to buy it from the next crowd who take over. We don't even know if we LIKE them or not - for all we know, they're WORSE than the current management - if such a thing is imaginable.
Let it be shown for the record: since that September morning in Tokyo Harbor 67 years ago, on the deck of the USS Missouri . . .
. . . there hasn't been a single day on this Earth without a war going on somewhere, not a single day of total, complete peace anywhere on Earth . . . the shooting never stopped.
- SEAN LINNANE SENDS
Today's Bird HERE