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Peter Bergen: ‘Why Libya 2011 is not the same as Iraq 2003’

(CNN) — A critique of the U.S. involvement in the military intervention in Libya that will no doubt be common in coming days is that the Obama administration is making a large error by embarking on a war with a third Muslim country, as if reversing Moammar Gadhafi’s momentum against the rebels will be a rerun of the debacle of the war against Saddam Hussein.

A further element of this view is that — whatever the outcome of the Libyan intervention — the United States’ standing in the Islamic world will once again be severely damaged by an attack on a Muslim nation.

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But the military intervention that President Obama authorized against Libya on Saturday — eight years to the day after President George W. Bush announced the commencement of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” — is a quite different operation than the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Beyond the obvious difference that Obama has not authorized the use of U.S. ground forces in Libya, there are several other differences to consider:

First, the Obama administration was handed a gift by the Arab League, which in its more than six-decade history has garnered a well-earned reputation as a feckless talking shop, but unusually took a stand one week ago by endorsing a no-fly zone over Libya.

That endorsement put the Arab League way out in front of the Obama administration, which was then dithering about whether to do anything of substance to help the rebels fighting Gadhafi.

The unexpected action by the Arab League gave the administration the impetus and diplomatic cover to then go to the United Nations Security Council to secure a broad resolution endorsing not only a no-fly zone, but also allowing member states to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya.

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And the fact that both the Arab League and the United Nations have endorsed a military action against Gadhafi strongly suggests that the Libyan intervention will not generate a renewed wave of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world.

Instead, it underlines a striking feature of the protests that have roiled the Middle East in the past several weeks: Strikingly absent from those protests has been the ritualized burning of American flags, something that hitherto was largely pro forma in that part of the world. That’s because Arabs have finally been able to express publicly that their biggest enemy is not the United States, but their own rulers.

http://peterbergen.com/articles/details.aspx?id=467

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“ . . . the Obama administration, which was then dithering about whether to do anything of substance to help the rebels fighting Gadhafi.”

 

PERSONAL OPINION: I strongly disagree the Obama administration was ‘dithering’ on Libya; but instead was working, unlike GW Bush, to first gain the backing of the Arab League, and then garner a strong U.N. resolution WITHOUT lying about WMD’s. 

 

btw: THANK GOD, McCAIN isn’t the President of the United States!

March 21, 2011 Posted by | Libya | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuke industry spin: Be “reassured” by Japan

As Japan struggles to contain a growing nuclear crisis — with more than 200,000 people evacuated, an explosion at one power plant, and possible meltdowns in several reactors — the American nuclear industry faces a different challenge: how to position itself in the intense public-relations battle that has already started.

This morning I interviewed a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry trade group, to get a sense of the message being pushed by an industry that, with support from President Obama as well as the Republican Party, has been in the early stages of a renaissance.

The most striking claim made by NEI spokesman Mitchell Singer: Americans should be “reassured” by the crisis unfolding in Japan.

“There hasn’t been any significant release of radiation. So obviously they must be doing something right at this point,” said Singer. While acknowledging that the crisis is still in early stages, Singer argued in our interview, and earlier to the Wall Street Journal, that Americans should be reassured because the industry will learn from the accidents in Japan, where fail-safe systems have themselves failed.

http://www.salon.com/news/japan_earthquake/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/03/13/nuclear_industry_response

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opinion: I honestly don’t have a feel for how serious the risks are with the meltdown(s); are they contained or not?

My main source of TV news is’ ‘CNN International’, and their ‘experts’ seem to have a decidedly, ‘Hey, NO PROBLEMO’.

I believe CNN should OWE it to the viewers to say whether the guest is a salesman for the industry trade group – Nuclear Energy Institute, or not.

March 14, 2011 Posted by | nuclear disaster | , , , , , , | Leave a comment