Saturday, March 19, 2011


In the past ten years many people have learned a very hard lesson about military entanglements in the Middle East. An increasing number of people want to end the wars there, and for a variety of reasons. Some are opposed to the financial cost, some are swayed by Just War theory, some because the two major wars (as well as the minor ones) have had too great a cost in human life, some because the war was never actually declared, and some for a combination of reasons. Some people who were initially in favor of invading Afghanistan and Iraq have even turned against those wars.

On the other hand, since January 19, 2009, some who had taken an opposition position on the war turned out to be in favor, provided that the right people were in charge.

For the political leadership of the United States, nothing has been learned in the 10 years that the United States has been in an undeclared war against various countries that just happen to be key countries in the oil and gas industry. They still believe that a simple invasion to support some side will quickly achieve favorable results.

Of course there are some differences from the earlier wars of a decade ago. Obama, unlike Bush, is careful to get as many approvals from as many different international bodies as he can, in order to give proper window dressing to yet another intervention in another country that just happens to be an oil producing country. But like Bush, Obama failed to get the one approval mandated by the constitution.

True, Libya produces far less than Saudi Arabia or Iraq, as defenders of this conflict will point out, but as all economists know all activity takes place on the margin and any change in Libya’s output impacts prices throughout the entire oil market.

At this point, in proper Democratic Party militarism form, the initial intervention will be in the form of No-Fly zones, air patrols. It was the same pattern for Clinton in both Iraq and in the former Yugoslavia. Eventually ground troops were sent in to both, with Clinton sending troops in to Bosnia and Bush sending troops in to Iraq.

If Obama holds true to the pattern of other pro-war Democrats, ground troops are only a matter of time. Then the US will be embroiled in yet another war of occupation. In ten years the people have learned, but the political class that claims to represent them haven’t.

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