The setting up of a “no-fly zone” over Libya has become the primary theme in these discussions. To many it may sound like a simple endeavor. It is anything but. It requires a detailed military operation — a war, if you will. If Libya refuses to comply with a no-fly mandate, U.S. forces would first need to take out Libya’s air defense network, which features a significant arsenal of surface-to-air missiles. After that, we would have to manage a fleet of fighter jets on a 24/7 basis to keep on the ground Libya’s 100-plus jets and countless helicopters (supposedly being used to gun down protestors), while keeping scores of international mercenaries from crossing the border via the skies.
To make these efforts palatable to the masses, the Obama administration has been touting a moral obligation that we have to save the Libyan people from continued oppression and death. They want us to believe that we can’t sit idly by and watch from afar as Muammar Qaddafi unleashes his forces and hired guns upon his people, murdering them in his attempt to prevent an overthrow of his rule.
The mass media have been more than happy to assist in this endeavor, promoting the propaganda ad nauseam. Coverage of the Libyan events has dominated newscasts, something unusual to America’s typically ethnocentric coverage. It has been questionable coverage, too, totally dictated by hearsay. With limited or no media access to Libya, news outlets have abandoned their standard operating procedures, highlighting unsubstantiated sources that say hundreds of Libyans have been cut down by their own armed forces. Such stories may be true. Then again, they may not. We just don’t know. We don’t posses the photos, film, or a significant number of witnesses necessary to verify such atrocities. Regardless, the media have played the tales for all they’re worth, spinning their own impressive yarns and commentary, all pulling at the heartstrings of the American people in hopes of getting us to buy in to military intervention.
The lack of credible sources works well for our government’s ultimate goal of involvement in foreign affairs. When we lack information, the government becomes the go-to destination for reporters and they — and therefore we — hear only what the government wants us to hear. The overall message becomes controlled by the military-industrial complex, a message that makes us believe that we must become involved in a battle of good versus evil and take the moral high ground, sacrificing our resources and our lives to set the balance of power in a foreign land.
This belies the true goals of our government, all of which have nothing to do with morality. Libya has strategic and economic importance to the Western world. Since World War II we have taken an inordinate interest in the affairs of the Middle East and North Africa, primarily because of the region’s vast oil reserves and key shipping routes. To maintain supply and price certainty in oil and its countless products, our nation has been more than willing to send thousands of our young men there to their deaths in armed combat. The seemingly endless military occupations and diplomatic errors have rightly created disdain for Americans and other Westerners amongst Middle Easterners. From this, jihadists have made us targets on our home soil and abroad.
If moral obligations were our reason for meddling in the lives of others, then why did we not do anything in Sudan? There, nearly a half million people were victims of genocide while another 2.7 million were displaced. The West sent only relief workers to aid the afflicted and no military might to quell massacres hundreds of times greater than those that may be occurring in Libya. There was no “morality” because Sudan and its people are insignificant to the West — that is, they have no economic importance to us.
The Sudanese example shows why the American people must look past the morality ruse put up by the Obama administration and demand that we not put our armed forces in harm’s way by meddling in political matters that are not ours. The Founding Fathers were adamant about noninterventionist policy. Our first President, the venerable George Washington, observed that our true national morality should be comprised of "American character wholly free of foreign attachments." Our third President and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, wisely said that we must have "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none." Jefferson would be saddened to see that modern America posses very little peace, fair commerce, and honesty because we’ve gone out of our way to become grossly entangled with many nations, some of them immensely corrupt.
When John Quincy Adams served as U.S. Secretary of State, he delivered a prudent and thoughtful speech to the U.S. House of Representatives on July 4, 1821, from which are these excerpts on U.S. foreign policy:
She [America] has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own.
She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.
But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
It was these Founding Fathers and their peers who gave to our nation a guide to its morality in the form of the Constitution. That document codified the proper behavior of our government and its people. It tells us — philosophically and legally — how to proceed with matters in Libya. If the people seriously think we have a moral obligation to intervene, far outstripping the parameters of national defense identified by the framers of the Constitution, then they must speak through the Congress and actually declare war before initiating even the most basic of military maneuvers. This is something our Congress hasn’t done since World War II, even though it is clearly mandated to. Since then, numerous illegal wars (the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, and Iraq conflicts, to name just a few) have accounted for the deaths of over 119,000 American soldiers and the physical and mental injury of hundreds of thousands more. The unjust wars and other occupations were also the motivating factor behind the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands of innocents and gave the government fodder to forever change the status of freedom in America.
If the American people are truly concerned about morality, our best option — our only option — is to stay out of Libya. If we don’t live up to the standards and laws set by our Founding Fathers, we will continue to erode the Constitution and its powerful guiding hand by sacrificing American blood not for the safety and freedom of our own people but rather for the greed and other secret justifications that the executive branch somehow sees appropriate in its ongoing illegal and immoral forays into foreign matters.