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Already posted on Pondering a no-fly zone: (Oldest first)

Bruce Houston Dear President Obama, I am ashamed, appalled, and outraged by our failure to act with the major European powers to protect the Libyan civilian population ... View > 16-Mar-11

From: Bruce Houston - Posted: 16-Mar-11 - 21:21

Dear President Obama,

I am ashamed, appalled, and outraged by our failure to act with the major European powers to protect the Libyan civilian population from the insane tyrant currently in control of Libya's military resources, at least from the air.

First we heard the political sound-bites, “we urge restraint,” “we object in the strongest terms to use of military resources against the Libyan civilian population,” “those responsible will be held accountable,” yada, yada. Then we heard that it was “too early” to consider a no-fly zone. Now we are hearing that it is “too late” to establish a no-fly zone because it would take until April to implement such action.

That is nonsense! From news reports, we have aircraft carriers off the Libyan coast now. Do we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on carrier-based weaponry that is too impotent to get into the air? Why not get the planes in the air in parallel with the establishment of the supply lines? If secretary Gates cannot do the job, then let’s replace him with someone who can.

This situation is, of course, not lost on Gaddafi, who at first appeared shy about bringing military force against the Libyan civilian population. Given the impotence with which the world has responded to his outrageous behavior, however, it should come as no surprise that he has now proceeded full steam ahead with his military. The world powers could easily have averted this humanitarian catastrophe and probably could have gotten rid of this madman by now by having immediately implemented a no-fly zone.

It appears to me that American diplomacy is quickly losing its moral foundation and is degrading into a big, expensive chess game. Although we preach democracy and political morality, our actions speak louder than words to the oppressed populations of the world. Through the magic of communication technology, those populations can now easily see that America increasingly acts in favor of national interest (or, even worse, in the political interest of powerful American government officials) when there is a decision to be made as to what is morally right versus what is politically expedient. And the average American continues to wonder why so many of our fellow citizens of the world mistrust and even hate us…

If we fail to act now, assuming that it is not indeed already too late, I wonder how we will respond to the inevitable carnage that will result as Gaddafi “purges” his population if he prevails? The same way that the world “responded” to the genocides in Rwanda, Darfur, etc.? Or perhaps our consciences will be cleansed as to potentially hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths by bringing a few former despots to justice eventually?

When are we going to stop treating these brutal humanitarian crises with mere lip service? These catastrophes are not happening to someone else “over there.” I am afraid that we will continue to pay dearly for our inaction as third world populations increasingly take note and hold us responsible for doing business with tyrants, even arming some of them, and then standing idly by while those same tyrants decimate their civilian populations.

Yes, we are morally responsible for the welfare of our international neighbors. Just as no morally sound American would stand idly by and offer mere lip service during a fire or robbery at a neighbor’s house, neither is it right nor can we afford to do so with our world neighbors. Here is an idea. Buy a world globe for each member of Congress and staff, for each Pentagon official, and for each presidential staff member. At an appointed time, have each such person hold his/her globe, rotate it slowly, and feel the texture. That is the size of today’s world; it is real, it is small, and it is not a chess game.

I also believe that doing what is morally right in world affairs is absolutely essential to our national security. While we may put out fires from year to year with strategic moves, the only long term solution is to consistently act in such a way as to uphold our moral values. The rest will take care of itself.

Bruce Houston San Antonio, Texas

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