Saturday, March 19, 2011

"De-Ja Vu?"

The first personal reaction yesterday to the news that the US, along with an "international coalition" was about to intervene in a civil war in Libya was, "What better way to take focus away from nuclear questions and crisis than to embark on a new Middle East war?"
Okay. Maybe, that is not fair.  Maybe, it is really cynical.  But the timing of this new military adventure in Libya (another oil-rich, Arab country, coincidently) seems just a bit suspect.
Khaddafy, after all, has been a nut job and brutal dictator for decades.
In many ways, the events of yesterday and today seem very "de-ja vu."  (Sans, of course the aspects of earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear disasters.)
One seems to recall the media and most of the Congress jumping on the bandwagon for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ten years ago.
One seems to remember "Coalitions of the Willing" sending troops and other support  during these invasions -- or at least in the beginnings, they did. 
These were NOT, after all,  "unilateral" ventures!  (Exactly what is being said now.)
And one recalls very compelling reasons for these military actions.
It was extremely critical to track down and get Osama Bin Laden who had orchestrated and carried out the 9-11 attacks against the US from his home base in Afghanistan.
And of course, it was vital to disarm and crush Sadam Hussein and his "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq.
Unfortunately, ten years later, we never did get Bin Laden and those "WMD's" in Iraq turned out to be paper tigers.
Meanwhile, those "Coalitions of the Willing" turned out to be not so "willing" after all.
After the initial invasions, most "coalition members" slowly dropped out of the ventures and it was America stuck holding the bags for both, fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, "resurgents" in Iraq and nation-building in both countries.
And though it was very easy and quick to jump into these wars, (like quicksand), it was not so easy and "quick" to get out of them.
In fact, almost ten years later, we are still in both countries.
It is hard to calculate the actual costs of these wars, both in human lives and money.
If one calculates both, civilian lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as "coalition" and American military lives lost, the numbers go well into the hundreds of thousands.  
That does not take into account, those losing limbs, committing suicide or suffering from PTSDs.
The financial price tags for these costly wars run into hundreds of billions of dollars to American taxpayers. 
 Indeed, a very odd thing considering we are otherwise in "economic crisis" and in recent days have almost shut down Congress for budget woes and disagreements and are even debating now, possible cuts to Social Security and other vital services.
None of this takes into account, questions that have arisen over the past week regarding United States "readiness" for powerful 9.0 earthquakes and Tsunamis similar to what just occurred in Japan.  
If our responses to Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill last year were any indications, then it is hard to imagine that we are "ready" for catastrophes of potentially far greater impact and deadlier consequences.
As for the state of our 102 nuclear reactors, most of which have been built decades ago and some of which lie along fault lines or near major cities, well, lets not even go there.
"Not going there" is exactly what we are doing today. 
Instead, we are going into Libya. -- PCA

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