the military-industrial complex has no time for existential questions

Obama Confirms There Is No Point To Our War In Libya

Has anyone ever asked Pokemon WHY they fight?President Obama is spending these crucial first days of the War in Libya tending to his flocks of alpacas in the mountains of South America, so it’s understandable that it’s taken him days to notify Congress he is blowing up that African nation and to tell the rest of us why. So now, at long last, here’s the reason why: There isn’t one. The White House apparently made a big boo-boo yesterday in issuing a statement that said our goal in Libya is “installing a democratic system,” words they later had to retract, because we would never want anyone to think the United States of America supports democracy. Yes, Gaddafi may coincidentally fall from us spending millions of dollars a day bombing him, but we really don’t care if does or not! Officially, Obama says, we are there to “protect civilians,” but considering this is a civil war consisting of two sides of tribes who are both shooting each other and taking prisoners and asserting their authority, it’s hard to tell which one is supposed to be “civilian.” So, yeah, there’s no official point to all of this.

Hillary Clinton:

“Now obviously, if we want to see a stable, peaceful, hopefully someday democratic Libya, it is highly unlikely that can be accomplished if he stays in power as he is.”

Yes, obviously, the United States is not taking the side of Gaddhafi. But is it taking the side of the rebels wearing camo uniforms who are killing people who support Gaddhafi? By definition, no. It is taking the side of mysterious neutral “civilians” who couldn’t give a fuck whether they live under a brutal cartoon despot who rapes apart their families or a beautiful, shimmering Western democracy that provides them hopes and dreams and the individual right to not be raped.

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In other words, the only people in Libya who can truly be considered “civilian” probably aren’t Libyans at all. They’re unattached foreign war observers and consultants and such. The kind of people who would, say, be good for leading an occupational government? Aha! [The Hill/ABC News]

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Jack Stuef is your loyal editor and a freelance satirist or something like that. He is a contributing writer for The Onion. E-mail him or whatever.

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117 comments

    1. DashboardBuddha

      You know…I'm probably not even going to vote in 11/2012…maybe on the local stuff. I can only take so much heartbreak.

      1. OneDollarJuana

        /snark free zone

        WRONG! If nothing else, you must make sure the Right doesn't gain more power. Voting is one of the last rights we still sort of enjoy. You must use it for good, not evil.

          1. DashboardBuddha

            As Zonker once said, the lesser of two evils is still evil. But yeah. Most likely I'll just vote for Barry and hold my nose.

          2. SorosBot

            Considering the Republicans running, it won't even be lesser of two evils, but one evil versus complete batshit insanity.

          3. DashboardBuddha

            Not to put too fine a point on in, but whether you step in 2 oz of dog shit or 5 oz, you've still stepped in dog shit.

            Don't mind me, though. I'm just down on Barry this week. Just as other people here have indicated, I'm terrible disappointed. Maybe I need another picture of him with the lightsaber.

      2. GOPCrusher

        That was the GOP stratergy for 2010 and I'm sure they are counting on it again in 2012.
        Hope that everyone is so disenfranchised that the handicapped parking areas in front of the polling areas will overflow with the Hoverround crowd.

        1. DashboardBuddha

          Ok ok…I'll vote…ok? I'll vote. But mark my words, I'm gonna have to get stinking drunk before I do!

          ;-)

  1. NorthStarSpanx

    “installing a democratic system” is a faux pas?

    Isn't Obama just furthering W's promise to spread democracy everywhere they ask for it? He was resoundingly applauded for that edict. It was one of my favorite nothing policy speeches he ever made.

  2. bitchincamaro2

    I'm pretty sure Ivory Coast could use some help in the democracy department. I know they have no oil but they've got awesome cocoa!

  3. ifthethunderdontgetya

    Look, people, we can't buy more bombs and missiles when the ones we already have are taking up so much space.

    So we have to blow up wrongly colored people evildoers every once in a while so that we can buy more from our defense corporations.

    For Freedoms™!

    P.S. Shorter: Bush's third term going about as well as expected.
    ~

      1. V5¹6ª℠5½6³9•4°

        Sometimes they do, but the outcome is suboptimal in those instances — "fratricide" of a sort.

    1. Jim89048

      As any former grocer can tell you, stock rotation is important. Especially when an item retails for $1m, and the route salesman won't give you credit for it if it hasn't "sold" by it's expiration date.

  4. PublicLuxury

    Well at least there is an almost reason. At least it isn't a made up reason. At least it has something to do with being liberators of unliberated people. Too bad that the United States can't liberate the unliberated right here in the great USA. You know, like homeless and unemployed and union busting and war on women and education and. . .

    Best bomb people less fortunate.

    1. DaRooster

      "You know, like homeless and unemployed and union busting and war on women and education and. . . "

      But we must bomb them with their own despair. You catch less flack when you can just say,"They are just a bunch of bums. They are greedy, lazy and wanting free handouts."

  5. tcaalaw

    Wow, there's enough snark in this post to kill small animals on contact! It's a good thing I've built up a sufficient blood tolerance over years of exposure.

  6. mumbly_ジョジョ

    Aren't a whole bunch of the non-Libyans in Libya also there to shoot at people though, also, as well, too, furthermore, like and such as?

  7. Oblios_Cap

    As long as that sweet Libyan Crude flows, we don't give a shit who turns on the spigot.

    Though we would prefer it was a large multi-national concern and not some government-run business.

  8. undeterredbyreality

    It is taking the side of mysterious neutral “civilians” who couldn’t give a fuck whether they live under a brutal cartoon despot who rapes apart their families or a beautiful, shimmering Western democracy that provides them hopes and dreams and the individual right to not be raped.

    South Dakota haz civilians?

  9. SorosBot

    He's doing it to make the wingnuts' heads explode, as their love of bombing brown people confronts their reflexive hatred of everything Obama does.

  10. TanzbodenKoenig

    No snark, honestly I thought it made sense. The military intervention is to stop the indiscriminate attacks on and in civilian centers, they aren't working in concert with the rebels. However, we may try, both economically and diplomatically to topple Gaddafi w/out resorting to direct military intervention, the end result of which would be greater stability in the region. Ultimately, if we let France and Britain lead and it goes down hill we can pull out and let them take the blame, if it works though than we can go ahead and take all the credit.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya

      We had to blow up the village Libya in order to save it.

      Seriously, Tanzboden, could you name the last time we sent our military into action when the ostensible purpose WAS NOT to save the poor innocent civilians?

      For bonus points, name the last one where we didn't end up blowing those same civilians to hell. (Hint: Granada was too small to count.)
      ~

      1. 教授 Zoom

        Instead of "In God We Trust," our real national motto should be, "At Least We Meant Well."

    2. 教授 Zoom

      I'm generally pretty much a pacifist myself, but have long thought that if anyone deserved a cruise missile enema, it's Gaddafi.

      Problem is, the Chief Bad Guy is never on the actual receiving end of those things. So far, it looks like the targets have all been military, but these things tend to expand. Once all the AA installations have gone boom and the Chief Bad Guy is still in charge, then the planners start looking for more targets, and before long we're raining death on wedding parties.

      1. V5¹6ª℠5½6³9•4°

        You go to war with the targets you have, not the targets you'd like to have. They don't award campaign ribbons for sitting around the officers' club. Well actually they do, but you get the idea. Somebody's got to make that rubble bounce.

      2. kissawookiee

        The cruise missiles might be bouncing off that giant mountain of gold he's sitting on. Which may render economic sanctions moot (at least for a good long time) as well.

      3. HateMachine

        Fortunately, unlike Afghan/Pakistan, it's not some terrorist/insurgent group we're up against, it's governmental forces. We may not be any good at rebuilding anything or providing peace, but we are damn good at wrecking the shit out of organized enemy armies. If a time comes when we run out of targets, then the rebels will probably just move into Tripoli and become the Libyan government and military at that point.

        And then we could declare Mishun Akawmpished and go home, or we could enjoy all these new military targets available for bombing. We're still decades out from needing to bomb receptions.

    3. Boojum_Reborn

      See, the point is that they have oil that England and France need. If France and England can't get it from Libya, they will poach our Saudi/Iraqi oil. We have, therefore, cut a deal with England and France whereby we are all for Freedom.

      It's quite simple, really.

    4. SorosBot

      Yeah, I look a this a lot like Kosovo, and as long as our intervention doesn't expand I'd say we are doing the right thing. Sadly though chances are pretty good the Libyans might just end up trading one dictator for another, as happens more often with violent revolutions than peaceful ones, all the way back to the French Revolution and Oliver Cromwell.

    5. mrblifil

      I would agree with your assessment if you had had the courtesy to incorporate a buttsechs reference. As is I'm going with HISTORY'S WORST MONSTER REDUX.

  11. MildMidwesterner

    "Western democracy that provides… the individual right to not be raped."

    Well… so long as you don't abort the rape fetus.

  12. harry_palmer

    You can see why the rabid right wingtards hate Obomber so bad – this change stuff, so radically different from the past admin, the soshalism of aiding the banks and defemse industry etc – Barry's actions/ intentions are so much darker than W's.

    1. donner_froh

      Obama’s Libyan Policy — Subtle, Long Term & Absolutely Right

      If the screaming that comes across the sky is Tomahawk missiles over Tripoli is "subtle" then obvious must be clouds of anthrax in the desert wind.

    2. V5¹6ª℠5½6³9•4°

      Now we're doomed. The imprimatur of the WSJ op-ed page is tantamount to failure.

  13. Oldskool_

    I think he does these things partly to make every dipshit on Fox look like, well, a dipshit.

  14. metamarcisf

    Monday, the right wing radio station in Albuquerque was railing at Obama for allowing the despised French to take credit for leading bombing raids. Tuesday they were railing against Obama for sending a broke America into another war and for supporting Khadafi's sharia opponents. Later today they will rail against Obama for not being a 100% young earth creationist. Vitter – Ensign 2012!

    1. horsedreamer_1

      snark on/

      What about actual New Mexican Pete Domenici, noted "deficit-hawk", for Pres?

      /snark off

  15. Conflabberdaddled

    "The Hill had reported that the use of the world “installing” had suggested a U.S. goal in Libya was regime change."

    Transitioning, peeps — mind your language. "Installing" reeks of direct intervention manipulation. Plus, nouns-turned-verbs are a big hit with the kids these days.

        1. undeterredbyreality

          You are obviously responding to my pre-edit post, which simply said "Verbing."

          I love your avatar, btw. Have long considered posting it above my desk at work. Still might. If I still have a job.

      1. V5¹6ª℠5½6³9•4°

        Man, I miss Calvin at Hobbes at peak. All hail Watterson for quitting before the shark-jump was inevitable.

  16. ManchuCandidate

    I think there's some larger unmentioned forces at work here. Who buys a lot of Libyan oil? Europe. Whose gas prices are skyrocketing? Everyone's but in large part the Euros. Who's economize is in really bad shape (in part thanks to listening to the utter "brilliance" of Golden Sackers)? That would be Europe. Who would be hurt if the Euros slid down the Golden Sacker poop chute of ekomomikal success? That would be the rest of us.

    Barry's no fool. He's making the least shitty choice here. I'd like to see world peace and buy the world a Coke… Coca Cola that is, but it's not often the case. Only a fool or W would see being Preznit as anything but fun.

  17. Beowoof

    Well there is that whole killing brown muslim people going on that republicans seem to like, except for the Keyan, Muslin , facist, socialist, commie, anti teabagging, racist against fat white people in Rascals guy running it.

  18. prommie

    I do believe he is somewhat constrained by the language of the UN resolution and the negotiations with the other members of the coalition, when it comes to any statement as to our purpose there.

    1. V5¹6ª℠5½6³9•4°

      This is what happens when you turn over command and control to the cheese-eating surrender monkeys in Quai d'Orsay. "They'll send our brave lads to die, to spare their Zouaves!"

    2. mrblifil

      The French they are a funny race
      They arrange diplomatic military strikes in nearby Arab countries in hopes of gaining an advantage in the oil markets
      And they fuck with their face

  19. Oblios_Cap

    We should demand ownership of their beaches as the price for our "aid'. Them Libyans have some pretty prime real estate.

    They can pursue their dreams of democracy in the desert, where everybody knows that Arabs are the most comfortable. Just keep them away from the oil fields; we'll be shipping that over here in that huge oil tanker, the Odyssey Dawn.

  20. JoshuaNorton

    I really don't know what to think 'bout any of this right now. Ginny Thomas hasn't drunk dialed to give me the real facts yet.

  21. PublicLuxury

    Has anyone bothered to find out how Justin Beiber feels? New haircut, new attitude. Maybe he thinks the USA is so super cool now that he wants to join up and sign on the dotted line.

  22. Schmannnity

    The message was muddled, but The Girl From Ipanema playing in the background was very soothing.

  23. baconzgood

    It always works out when there is no clear objective when you go into a war.

    "WE AT WAR WITH EASTAISA!!!! WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH EASTAISA!!!!"

  24. Preferred Customer

    As much as I like to be as cynical and jaded as the next guy, and as much as I like to play at being a straight up misanthrope who is convinced the world can't go to hell in a handbasket because a) it's already there, and b) who the fuck can we rely on to deliver our handbasket to hell, because FedEx and UPS both suck, I fear that, deep down, I may be an idealist.

    I may be an idealist because when I see a legitimately crazy asshole who has somehow managed to seize power start to machine gun his own people to stop them from protesting, I think we should do what we can to stop that person from using those machine guns.

    I may be an idealist, too, because I think there are lots of places and times in the world where people see other people being machine gunned or macheted and said "meh, I think Who's the Boss is on," and let lots of men, women and children die in ditches where they will never be found.

    I may be an idealist, also, because while I know that we can't or won't stop all evil dictators from shooting their citizens, the fact that we can't act everywhere doesn't mean we can't act somewhere.

    And I may be an idealist because even though I know that we paid attention to the plight of the Bosnians because they are European, are paying attention to the plight of the Libyans because of some combination of geographic proximity to the Mediterranean, skin tone, and former colonial guilt, and are not paying attention to the Bahrainians in part because we have big military bases there, there are Bosnians and Croats and Serbs that are alive today because of that crass calculation. There will likely be Libyans alive tomorrow because of the same crassness.

    And I may be an idealist because I fully believe that while some people will die because of what we're doing, more people will live, and those who remain alive will live better. And that's about the best you can hope for.

    So, snark aside, I support Obama on this, and I'm amazed and impressed that he got the international backing on it that he did. Kudos to him and his team. Let's just hope it works out as well as the idealistic part of me thinks it will.

    1. 教授 Zoom

      Thank you. We could do with more of this sort of realpolitik. Also, I hope this time our maps have a big DO NOT BOMB note on the Chinese embassy.

      1. mrblifil

        Well now you have put your finger on it. Cheney's peeps are littered throughout the military industrial superstructure like nuts in a pint of Haagen Dazs Swiss Almond Vanilla. Once the world says "Barry's got this everything's cool" they will be the ones pulling off the unpopular "oopsies!" moments. On top of all the usual giant fuck ups that will cause us to eventually lose a few more skyscrapers on some not too distant day.

        1. Cicada

          The phrase "Cheney's peeps" brings to mind little Cheney shaped marshmallows covered in yellow sugar. Combined with your ice cream analogy, it sounds like the worst Ben and Jerry's flavor ever. I'm not sure what it would be called. "Nutty Dicks" or "Cheney Chunks" would both work.

          Or maybe I'm just hungry for lunch.

    2. bagofmice

      I may be an idealist because I have another paragraph to write…

      (That was totally dickish in tone, I apoligize).

    3. ifthethunderdontgetya

      Perhaps you should add up all the civilians who've been killed by our crass calculations before staking your claim to the moral high ground, preferred.

      Here's a blog post about the more favored of Obama's two adopted sons wars:

      When you have mutilated a village, you must don a sober tie and American flag lapel pin and announce to the teevee that you deeply regret the loss of civilian life, or, better yet, deny that anyone was killed but the Lord of Hell and his demonic disciples themselves, although of course you will direct the committee to form a board to order an inquiry into the nature of the investigation of the allegations of the accusations. The crime is not killing an Afghan but posing tastelessly with the corpse. The soldiers are being court-martialed for wearing white shoes before Memorial Day.

      1. Preferred Customer

        I'll admit to using a trite and cliched form that wouldn't pass muster in a first year composition class. But it's a comment to a blog post; I'm not using my A material until someone starts paying me in something other than p.

    4. Dudleydidwrong

      Your argument is a good one but I respectfully disagree. If Khadafi has to "go" (and I'm not sure that all that is said about him is true; we like to demonize and paint as insane those with whom we disagree and start bombing. There's more analysis needed here) then I would still call for the US to stand back and let those who were the colonial powers in N Africa lead the charge. This is Britain's and France's turn to do all the heavy lifting. Except that I would also wonder why the Arab powers, whom we have armed to the teeth and whose armies and air forces we have trained, to become part of the new "coalition of the reluctant but, uh, OK" Let the Arab nations use their shiny war planes, their smart bombs, their US and French-made weaponry.

      When does the US stop bombing and killing Arab-speaking people?

      When do we finish one stupid war before interjecting ourselves into a new tangle?

      What a breath of fresh air it would be if Israel would set their armaments loose on Libya, but we know that would cause such a conflict in the minds of the Arabs that they would collapse from terminal cognitive dissonance. So we fly, we bomb, we lose a plane (so far) and we risk taking the next step into a new quagmire, and the Arab states and Israel just keep waxing and polishing their machines of war.

  25. horsedreamer_1

    So, did Kissinger ever anoint Qadafi? This is important: then we'll know if Muammar will go the way of Pinochet, or end up like Milosevic.

    1. mrblifil

      Bush anointed Q'Daffy big time, and he's exactly like Kissinger except you want to have a beer with him (and maybe slurp a Jell-O™® shot off his butt).

      1. SorosBot

        Another Python classic:

        Henry Kissinger
        How I'm missing yer
        You're the Doctor of my dreams
        With your crinkly hair and your glassy stare
        And your machiavellian schemes
        I know they say that you are very vain
        And short and fat and pushy but at least you're not insane

        Henry Kissinger
        How I'm missing yer
        And wishing you were here

        Henry Kissinger
        How I'm missing yer
        You're so chubby and so neat
        With your funny clothes and your squishy nose
        You're like a German parakeet
        All right so people say that you don't care
        But you've got nicer legs than Hitler
        And bigger tits than Cher

        Henry Kissinger
        How I'm missing yer
        And wishing you were here

  26. CapeClod

    We are not at war. We are just blowing things up in another country whose leader we don't like.

  27. natoslug

    As long as the money is being well-spent on our war machine rather than squandered on education and/or health care, I'm good. We need to focus on the basics, like blowing shit up.

  28. 教授 Zoom

    If you're advocating airstrikes on Silvio Berlusconi's compound, then I can get behind that.

  29. occams8ball

    I am beginning to think that the very wealthy of the world and those wielding political power are a pretty homogeneous group. No, a beautiful homogeneous group.

  30. Bezoar

    Like any good revenge flick, seeing an asshole (or his surrogates) get whacked provides a much-needed catharsis; and, if they really are assholes, great! Now, why not those assholes in Burma? And, there's plenty more in Africa — we should start a list, maybe with a matching deck of cards.

  31. GeneralLerong

    When are we going to start letting the Chinese have the fun of "interventions"? I mean, they've got such a great track record with the Uighurs and Tibetans, why not start spreading that talent around? They're net oil importers now, too.

    Oh. Because they don't care what happens outside of China. Nevermind.

  32. LiveToServeYa

    Logic tells us which side to take.

    Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you…But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

  33. owhatever

    Of course there is a reason to bomb Libya. We bought a whole bunch of bombs, and if we don't use them, they will all go stale and turn green, and we will have to bake a new batch.

  34. Negropolis

    it’s hard to tell which one is supposed to be “civilian.”

    No, actually, it really isn't; and I wish people would quit with this bullshit moral ambiguity angle.

    It is taking the side of mysterious neutral “civilians” who couldn’t give a fuck whether they live under a brutal cartoon despot who rapes apart their families or a beautiful, shimmering Western democracy that provides them hopes and dreams and the individual right to not be raped.

    Also, offensive bullshit. Also.

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