Earlier this year, the Arab Spring started in the Middle East. Across the region, protesters began taking to the streets to demand political changes. Governments fell in Tunisia and Egypt as other leaders successfully suppressed the revolts in places like Bahrain.
Did that happen? Nope. You see, dictators don’t like to give up power. It’s kinda the hallmark of dictators.
To make you feel better, neither do I.
Or the US
So this brings us to our Hard Place. The rebels aren’t moving fast enough or with great enough tactics to win even remotely soon. Like I said, they’re citizens with captured guns (or sometimes broken or decades old weapons) facing a well equipped, proficiently trained, professionally paid army. The rebels can’t legally be given weapons or advisers to help them fight. But we can give them non-lethal aid, like canteens and food.
Don’t get me wrong, you need those things to continue to survive and fight a military campaign. But you can’t destroy a tank or artillery crew with a bottle of water or hot meal.
Oh and did I mention that factions (a minority but still a worrisome group) among the rebels have been linked to Al Qaeda?
So we got involved in another combat theatre in the Middle East; and we can’t seem to swing the tide of the battle so we may be stuck there without an exit strategy.
To be clear, I think the US had good intentions going into this. We did protect millions from a humanitarian disaster because Qaddafi vowed to go house to house to wipe out any resistance and seek vengeance on his populist.
My only disappointment is that it seems that we haven’t learned our lesson. For all the controversy regarding the Iraq War, we supposedly learned that we should not become cocky with our military. We have the strongest military in the world, but a well thought out and defined plan is still necessary before we wage war. I think that at a time of great economic hardships in the US, and our military fighting openly in Iraq and Afghanistan (and not so openly) in Pakistan and Yemen, without a well thought out plan and well financed mission, maybe we’ve bitten off more than we can chew and its going to leave a nasty aftertaste to boot.