Common Sense & An Open Mind

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    "You must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision." T. Jefferson

Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Who is Ron Paul?

Posted by Free to Think on November 11, 2011

My dear Common Sense followers,

Five months ago I walked away from my blog, feeling disheartened and hopeless.

The more I researched, the more evidence I found that our country is shifting at an exponential pace from its foundations. Not only have checks, balances, inalienable rights, and constitutional, limited government become things of the past, but so have public concern and the objective, watchful eye of the free press. I began to feel that expressing a critical view was simply futile.

I admit I don’t have the time or heart to continue producing the in-depth posts I have in the past. At least not consistently enough to fill a blog. But I am still reading and learning. I hope that more and more people begin to understand some of the causes of the crises that our nation is now facing. Problems are coming to a head, and one can only hope there’s a positive side to that. When things are relatively good, it’s easy to be complacent about irresponsible government spending, trampling of personal rights and unconstitutional laws.

I’d like to do my part by using this venue to pass along some pieces worth thinking about. I’ll start with the wisdom of Jon Stewart.

To me, a very pressing and troubling issue  is the media’s determination to shun Republican candidate Ron Paul, the only person running for President who has something unique to say. While our Titanic of a nation sinks, every other politician is busy declaring how they’d rearrange the deck chairs, while Paul has spelled out exactly how he’d plug up the hole.

Last week Paul came in first in the Illinois straw poll. In fact, he won 52% of the vote, more than Romney, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Bachman, Huntsman and Santorum combined. Wow, big news? Hardly. Paul’s notable victory was promptly buried by the mainstream press. Meanwhile there’s been a plethora of airtime about Herman Cain’s irrelevant personal debacles. The obvious and intentional snubbing of Ron Paul by the media was well summed up in a hilarious piece by Jon Stewart back in August.

In addition to the silence of the press on his grassroots campaign, Ron Paul’s airtime during the Republican debates have been glaringly inequitable. One blogger went to the trouble of doing the math for one of the debates and found that Paul was 8th in speaking opportunities, though at the time he was 3rd in the polls (were you aware that he was third in the polls?) Yet, as evidenced by the Illinois survey, Ron Paul’s popularity has continued to grow.

Whether or not you like Ron Paul’s message, a burning issue is why the press has gone from purveyors of the truth to outlets for their own personal agendas.

In a side note: it has been so long since I last wrote that I didn’t remember what my last post was about. It was interesting to see that it was an argument against sending American troops into Libya. I was disputing the position that the Libyan people needed us to intervene in their civil war to escape being crushed by government-backed forces.  As it turns out, the Libyan people were able to oust strongman Moammar Qaddafi in short order without the help of a U.S. ground war. This averted the deaths of American servicemen and likely saved our nation hundreds of millions of dollars. But perhaps most importantly, by limiting America’s role in another nation’s conflict there will be less potential for our enemies’ animosity: Qaddafi was killed by his own people, not by an”invading U.S. force.”

I apologize for disappearing.  I hope you’ll continue to be a loyal reader.

Posted in Debt, election, Freedom of Speech, Libya, Media bias, Politics, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Things are worse in Libya because of us

Posted by Free to Think on May 2, 2011

Things are likely worse today in Libya because of us.

On March 18, President Obama ordered a U.S. airstrike to begin in Libya, declaring that it was America’s responsibility to stop the forces loyal to Col. Qaddafi from massacring the Libyan people during a civil uprising.

In announcing the attacks, President Obama said, “Today I authorized the armed forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians…The United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people.”

Resolution 1973 was adopted by the UN Security Council on March 17, which required the establishment of a no-fly zone, and demanded an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

Now, there is evidence that Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat. Human Rights Watch has released data revealing that Moammar Qaddafi had not been deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who were fighting against his government. The “no mercy’’ warning, of March 17, had targeted rebels only and Libya’s leader promised amnesty for those “who throw their weapons away.’’ Qaddafi had also offered the rebels an escape route and open border to Egypt to avoid a fight.

A cease-fire has now been proposed by the African Union that would effectively leave Colonel Qaddafi in control of part of the country. This proposition seems to accomplish the U.S. mission of keeping civilians safe. Asked recently whether the United States could accept this plan, at first Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had agreed, under the condition that the Libyan government would allow food, water, electricity and humanitarian assistance into cities it has cut off. Later she backpedaled, added that nothing could be resolved without “the departure of Qaddafi from power.”

So we have yet another interventionist war with military creep: it’s now clear that America is not involved in Libya to protect the innocent populace from slaughter. It’s to put a government we approve of in power.

The U.S. has rejected the African Union cease-fire proposal. But we must ask why it’s become America’s business to accept proposals about a Libyan civil war in the first place. Has Libya attacked or threatened us? No, they have not.

Now that the U.S. has openly declared its objective of ousting Qaddafi, we must realize that this is no peacekeeping mission. One must wonder if the use of American troops will now be necessary to accomplish our true objectives. Obama has continually denied the possibility of sending U.S. ground troops to Libya. But Army Gen. Carter Ham has told lawmakers that Moammar Qaddafi’s forces are making airstrikes more difficult by staging military forces and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques. Ham says the use of an international ground force, though not the “ideal circumstance,” is a possible plan to bolster rebels fighting forces loyal to the Libyan leader.

It’s quite possible that our intervention will actually prolong this civil war, creating the very humanitarian crisis we sought to prevent. Has no one taken into account that the normal reaction when one’s country is being attacked by outside forces is to defend one’s government, as imperfect as it is?

As NATO plans to step up its attacks on the Libyan government, the American ambassador to Libya says that the current estimates of the total death toll from the violence range from 10,000 to 30,000. Would things be even worse for Libyans if we hadn’t gotten involved? No one will ever know for sure.

Aside from the effect our military action has on Libyans, does our involvement in Libya make the world a safer place for America? That seems unlikely, considering:

  • We have invited hatred from Qaddafi supporters who attest that we attacked without provocation.
  • On Sunday, a NATO airstrike killed Qaddafi’s son and three young grandchildren. The strongman’s allies will be seeking revenge not on rebels, but on the West.
  • We have even provoked the ire of the rebels we’re attempting to assist, who have blamed defeats on insufficient “help” as this civil war lingers on.
  • We have known since February that Al Qaeda members are in the rebel ranks. If Qaddafi is overthrown, it’s questionable whether the future leadership in Libya will be friendly towards the West.
  • The Arab League, which had lent support to Resolution 1973, has objected to the current bombing campaign. “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” said Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

Despite Obama’s insistence that we will have “no U.S. boots on the ground” in Libya, U.S. Marines are already deployed and waiting along the Libyan coast.

We must not allow American soldiers to die so that Obama may claim “victory” by removing Qaddafi from power. Americans need to speak out, and our representatives in Congress must halt any further U.S. involvement in Libya.

Despite Obama’s insistence that we will have “no U.S. boots on the ground” in Libya, U.S. Marines are already deployed and waiting along the Libyan coast. Will we continue to stray from our stated aim of protecting Libyan civilians and making the world safer, or will we engage and endanger American soldiers so that Obama may claim “victory” by removing Qaddafi from power?

Postscript:

I wrote this piece over the weekend, before news broke that U.S. forces had killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan early this morning.

I must add that another repercussion of our aggression in Libya is that it muddles other missions, such as eliminating known orchestrators of mass American murders.

 In announcing the assassination, it was interesting to note President Obama stressed that Americans “did not choose this fight” against al Qaeda, but rather, “it came to our shores.” I find this ironic to emphasize, considering we are also currently in the act “choosing” to bomb a Muslim nation that had threatened us in no way.

Posted in Detrimental policies, Libya, obama | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New administration, new wars

Posted by Free to Think on April 4, 2011

On March 17, President Obama announced that he was sending United States troops to Libya to help oust leader Moammar Gadhafi.

I was preparing an article on this subject when I discovered that Joe Biden and Barack Obama have already eloquently voiced my opinion on this new “mission.” So I will let them do the talking:

As this 2007 video shows, in the expert opinion of a group of constitutional scholars headed by ranking Senate Judiciary member and constitutional law professor Joe Biden, launching an attack against another nation without congressional approval is cause for a President’s impeachment.

But let’s ignore for a moment that this war was initiated unconstitutionally. Is it moral, justified, in the best interest of our nation?

In this powerful video, presidential candidate Barack Obama explains clearly that the U.S. should never rush into war without establishing long-term commitment, how much it would cost and what it would mean to rebuild. He questioned America’s ability to stabilize a volatile Middle Eastern country and prevent it from splintering into factions.

Ending military involvement in the Middle East was one of the focal points of Obama’s campaign. But last week President Obama said that it was America’s “responsibility” to intervene in Libya.

Though no one can condone Qaddafi’s ruthlessness, is it America’s place to invade and police foreign civil wars?  One might point out that Qaddafi doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of the world’s worst dictators. But Libya does have a lot more oil beneath it than say Zimbabwe or Burma, where we have not chosen to invade. Coincidence?

In 2007, Obama expressed concern to the Senate that meddling in Iraq would lead to greater Al Quaida recruitment. But as Chief Executive, Obama doesn’t seem worried that anger towards this latest American intervention could create more terrorists throughout the Islamic world.

America’s leaders are sending a loud, clear message that the U.S. feels it is its prerogative to initiate foreign “regime change” whenever it sees fit. This gives countries such as Iran and Syria no incentive to negotiate with the West on terrorism or nuclear arms.

Qaddafi is a brutal dictator. He is a former terrorist who has plotted against the United States. But he has more recently cooperated in counter-terrorist activities like information-sharing and halting the development of “unconventional weapons.” Now we must wonder whether Qaddafi will retaliate against America’s unprovoked attack by reverting to terrorism again.

Finally, with tens of thousands of troops spread thin in over 1,100 overseas bases and a nation on the brink of a government shutdown at home, is this endeavor the best use of American resources?

As someone famously said in 2008, “It’s time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreements that lie at the heart of someone else’s civil war. America, it’s time to start bringing our troops home.” I agree with you wholeheartedly, Mr. Obama.

Posted in Detrimental policies, Iraq, Libya, obama, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »