They said if I voted for the Presidential candidate who sang "bomb bomb bomb Iran", I'd get a President who started dropping bombs on nations that never attacked us and pose no threat. They were right.
It's not that regime change is the wrong choice. It's that this is absolutely the wrong way to go about it. 'Drop bombs [or send in the Marines] until Qaddaffi is dead' is a perfectly sensible decision, whether the US does it, France does it, NATO does it, Israel does it, Saudi Arabia does it... Whoever does it, it has to be done, so get it taken care of.
This clusterfuck is completely the wrong way to go about it. All in the name of avoiding looking like GWB, the administration - and Western Civilization in general - is doing exactly what they (falsely) accused GWB of doing. Frankly I think a convincing argument could be made for seizing the oilfields, although it would require bribing China, anyone with prior contracts, locals, etc.
Many have noticed how the Obama administration has - without a pretense of explanation - kept or even expanded rendition, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act, Gitmo, military tribunals. I forget which Muslim terrorist got read his Miranda rights an hour after they caught him, but that seems to accelerated their reversal.
Long days after the bombing started, Obama gave a brief message to the American people. But Qaddaffi's still in power and there are no plans to make him go. The rebels still have nothing to offer except rebellion. The coalition is falling apart like the failed Russian coup of the late 80's. Nobody knows who's in it or what they're doing or for how long.
Syria is now consumed with riots. It's not clear yet if these are comparable to Europe in 1848 or Eastern Europe in 1989. The global Islamic extremists are in the best position, but it's not clear if the people will ultimately be on their side.
Resource consumption is a crucial part of any economy, especially modern industrial ones like ours. That's why I'm half-convinced a genuine "war for oil" might be prudent at this juncture. I don't think anybody on earth could be satisfied by the arguments for such a thing (including myself) but to take physical possession of a needed element for society to continue could have very positive reverberations against the terrorists and tyrants of the world.
Everything runs on energy. Food produced at one part of the world has to be transported to wherever it's processed and packaged for transportation to the local market. That's why vegetarian cruelty-free non-genetically modified etc. stuff is so expensive, even for wealth liberals. Just think how much worse it will get if gas prices go up ten bucks a gallon. Unless you've got cows, cropland and orchards in your backyard, starvation will be about a week away. That won't be changed by all the windmill, solar power and ethanol subsidies in the world.
The nuclear power advocates (of I am sorta a member) have been rightfully shaken by the catastrophe in Japan. But the nation was shattered by unprecedented earthquakes and tsunamis, [kamikaze = divine storm] and the reactors have continued to hold. Moreover, the Japanese people are calmly and rationally picking up the pieces. If there's any validity to a 'master race' argument, Japan (and Asia in general) is scoring pretty high at this point. That said, if the same crisis had struck a Chinese nuclear plant, preventing a meltdown would have been the least of the worries as chaos ripped through society. Ditto in Iran or North Korea, and their nuke-building capabilities probably aren't as secure.
The reactors have held and (inshallah) will continue to hold. One would assume the improvements in engineering since they were built decades ago can improve on this tremendous achievement. There is room for cautious optimism if you think Albert Einstein's theories can provide energy more cheaply and efficiently than coal, oil, gas, etc. However - Germany seems to have taken the lead on this - existing plants are being shut down, as literal a John Galt "turn off the motors of the world" moment as we've seen yet.
Solar power seems like it would be the greatest idea in the world, but so far it doesn't produce enough energy to power anything we actually use. I'm sure if it were possible, they'd make small things like iPods or cell phones with solar cells, and the energy savings would be noticeable because you no longer have to charge the damn things up. Wind power likewise doesn't produce enough energy.
You don't think about things like that when you're a week away from starvation. Civilization is much more tenuous than most people think. Qaddaffi could be an insane murderer slaughtering people no matter what time or place he was born and ruled. But only because wealthy western nations pay for oil does he have advanced technology to kill his people with.
What if someone came to a prominent politician or leader with a plan to create large numbers of jobs at a local, state and federal level. Many different types of jobs would be created with this offer; manual labor, production and use of everything from electronics to t-shirts, food and beverage to large-scale transportation and logistics to media attention. Sounds like a great deal.
Now what if the person who came with this offer is a known heroin addict, or at least speaking professionaly for one? It sounds kind of iffy, but it didn't stop the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Who, Guns'n'Roses, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, anybody working with Eric Clapton in the 70's, etc, other drug users in rock.
The same system that makes the consumer culture possible is the one that's given us the time, leisure and wealth created by energy use.
Not really related, but I've noticed a sudden resurgence of the singer/guitarist dichotomy present in most hit rock bands. Mick and Keith haven't produced much in decades. Slash is winning against Axl, already planning his next solo album. Jimmy Page would love to fly Led Zeppelin again, but Robert Plant's not remotely interested. Brian May has produced a Britpop chick and seems to be having issues with the only other member of Queen left. I don't know what Townshend and Daltrey's relationships are like, but the Who seem to keep up a semblance of functioning [again, the only two original members left]. Eddie Van Halen may (possibly) be putting together an album with David Lee Roth, but it's been so long since he's been a functioning anything, no one cares. Joe Satriani has found a reliable team playing frontman with Sammy Hagar in Chickenfoot. A band like Rush doesn't fit into this category, so we can ignore them. Ditto Metallica, the Eagles, Beatles, solo artists, etc. Nyeah.
I wonder, in the popular entertainment/consumer side of culture, how much of what we've seen in the last half-century has been largely inspired by having to make deals with crazed twenty-somethings who have found success beyond all measure, and still maintain the same capitalist structure that lets completely normal people manage their business as well. Mick Jagger didn't waste himself with drugs (much), but he had to put up with people who did, and realized quickly that the London School of Economics teachings and a future knighthood was better than the alternative.
Here's an MTV clip from the mid-80s, the first Farm Aid (I think) and the first time Eddie Van Halen played with Sammy Hagar. The singer does an awesome job of putting on a show and they rock and roll a Led Zep tune.
And here's the "bomb bomb bomb Iran" joke. Having never seen it before, it's exactly what I thought it would be. A joke, humor that becomes more cynical by the day.