United States warships and military aircraft are steaming toward Libya at this hour. The White House has explained this deployment as: 1.) show of force to put pressure on Gadhafi to step down and 2.) a positioning of assets to better offer humanitarian aid if needed. They state that there are no immediate plans to intervene in the Libyan unrest but are quick to add that all options are on the table.
Here we go again.
Does anyone remember Somalia? Bosnia? The US positioned its forces to offer humanitarian aid in those conflicts as well. Anyone who saw “Black Hawk Down” knows how that turned out.
The truth of the matter is the US is positioning itself to enter into Libya. Our participation will be sold as being part of a NATO peacekeeping mission; but make no mistake that it will be US blood and treasure spearheading the effort.
It is hard to believe that the American public would stomach another military conflict given all that is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, while addressing the cadets at West Point, said: “any future defense secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia, or the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.”
So why do It?
We cannot afford it. Sending a carrier group to the shores of Tripoli as a show of force is not like jumping into the family Prius and running up the mini-mart. A quick up and back by the USS Whatever Carrier Group costs tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars…dollars we don’t have.
It is not a matter of national security or a peacekeeping mission. Gadhafi is no military threat to us. Since Reagan bombed his tent he has been quite the gentleman.
It is not a matter of providing humanitarian aid either. Genocide has been going on in Africa for years and you didn’t see the USS Whatever deployed to Darfur.
Make no mistake, Gadhafi’s violent attacks on his own people warrant the condemnation of the world community and perhaps military intervention by NATO forces. But why must the US always be at the forefront of these efforts? Why will we see the United States taking the lead, investing more of our blood and treasure into another political civil war than all the other NATO nations combined?
The answer is oil plain and simple. We are grossly, ridiculously dependent upon it and Libya has massive quantities of it. And we will use any means necessary to guarantee that oil continues to flow uninterrupted to our shores.
As long as US gasoline prices continue to soar, Secretary Gates is preaching to an empty room.