Questions of War

The United States is back in the aerial war business again. We did manage to precipitate the fall of Muammar Gaddafi using aerial bombardment and the developing events afterwards have been nothing less than bloodthirsty and heedlessly violent. Now we have threat of Sunni extremists in the region of Syria/Iraq who go by the name of The Islamic State and we have been bombing them for weeks.

Our military learned in Afghanistan that an aerial war is far too indiscriminate to be effective. To see men digging next to a road at 30,000 feet is not the same as forward observers with binoculars. Afghani farmers share the scarce resource of water on a rigid timetable of shared irrigation. One digs up his valve and releases the water only to close the valve and bury it again on a fifteen or twenty minute schedule. The same farmer looks like a terrorist planting an I.E.D. from far above.

Does the new coalition have forward observers on the ground in Iraq and Syria? I doubt it. Then who are we bombing? Are we hitting the correct targets? Who is going to go out into this vast battlefield to identify targets and confirm misses and strikes?

The United States is not sending soldiers onto this battlefield. Who will?

Why is no one asking the hard questions?

Bombing Libya and more

The NYTimes just announced that Egypt and U.A.E. air force are the ones bombing targets in Libya, targeting Islamist militias. Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, published on the Op-Ed page of the NYTimes this morning that Qatar is the major funder of Hamas, even threatening to deport Hamas leader, Mr. Meshal if he agreed to a long-term cease-fire with Israel. Whatever one thinks about the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, none of these Arab players have any moral credibility as they fight among themselves, often using proxies. At one time, the manufactured hatred of Israel was enough to contain the internecine violence within and between the countries of North Africa and the Middle East. No longer. Israel could be compared to a sideshow alongside the civil wars and civilian massacres of the countries surrounding her.