Are we crazy? Last week found me in Key West Florida enjoying a vacation with my family. Usually, I take my computer along on vacation because I have a heavy publishing schedule and I like to read my newspapers on the Internet. So when I read that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was sending Canadian jets to take part in a no-fly zone over Libya, I almost lost my breakfast. I thought that was one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.
Of course it did not take me long to learn that the Canadian effort over Libya would be a joint venture with the coalition that included our friends in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other places. Still, I thought it completely crazy. Why do we feel it is so important as Canadians to send our men and women and equipment to impose and no fly zone over the country engaged in civil war? I have no answer for that question because 5 million people are dead in a Civil War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the West doesn’t care. So suddenly sending a Western contingent over an Arab country to defeat a rogue leader didn’t make much sense to me. People in the Congo bleed too.
Of course we can argue about when it all started. We all know that Muammar Gaddafi has had a checkered history in world affairs. For instance at one time he was thought of as a supporter of terrorism, responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103. However, he changed his ways and the West embraced him over the last five years. We saw audiences with Qaddafi, which included Tony Blair, Paul Martin, US Secretary of State as well as the Italian prime minister. He was embraced for changing his ways but when opposition rose up within Libya, some of these Western leaders turned on him. He fought back against the opposition and was winning, so that is when the West stepped in and lost their marbles.
I in no way support the killing of civilians in Libya. However, I in no way support the killing of 5 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo either. In Libya for whatever reason the West made a hastened decision to do something about tyranny and in other parts of the world they do nothing. Where is the consistency? Where is the justice? What is the endgame in this craziness? How about all the other hot beds of tyranny in the world such as Darfur, the DR Congo and Ivory Coast? This reminds me of Kosovo while Rwanda careened into a bloodbath.
So that is my view. I think we have completely blown it. So now we see pictures of carnage in Libya where Western jets have destroyed buildings. Meanwhile Col. Qaddafi controls most of his country and what happens next? There is no endgame except greater tyranny. Somewhere along the way somebody must’ve forgot how messy it can be when you take sides in the Civil War. How Canada got involved is beyond me.
The Liberals and the Conservatives both agree about the missions over Libya. The NDP also stated that they support the mission. So that leaves me out in the political cold. Who am I going to express my outrage as a Canadian over the mission in Libya? It is a very good thing that I get to write a column on a weekly basis.
The backtracking has already started. The Americans obviously have the most gifted military force on earth. So they have taken the lead in the military operation over Libya. Sure, France and other countries took part in combat operations but now the Americans want to handle lead over to NATO or anybody else with a bit of backbone. France and Turkey are opposed to NATO taking the lead in the operation. It seems that everybody else is standing around hoping the whole situation will go away. This is nuts.
I suppose to be honest this would be a bit personal. If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I have a good friend in Libya. I have heard from him a couple times since the crisis started but we have lost contact. I was with him the night that the Americans bombed Libya in the 1980s. I can just imagine how he feels now. The world has gone crazy. I just hope he is okay. God speed my friend.