Ah, what a lovely term my title describes. To the average person, I’m sure some of the obvious examples are instantly familiar. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, the Contras, a veritable fruit basket of American Fuck-Ups. But there’s another one on the horizon, and if I was a betting man, soon the legions of old and mostly white men that make up our government will be clamoring to invade it.
Of course, I’m talking about Libya. If you remember the grand and glorious old days of 2011, you likely recall the NATO intervention in the country to provide support to rebels who (justifiably) rose up in an attempt to drive Muammar Gaddafi from power. From the corridors of power and sectors of the web, people spoke of a new era for the nation. One filled with democratic hopes and aspirations of western style liberalism. That didn’t work out.
Fast forward to 2015 and the nation that once housed the “Mad Dog of the Middle East” is in a state resembling that of Lebanon during its civil war in the 1980’s. Competing militias are causing chaos, two rival governments in different cities lay claim to the whole nation, and thugs from Daesh have taken a degree of control in the cities of Sirte and Darna, all in all, not good.
And as always, things like this have a way of getting even worse. Last month, a Libyan military official said in a statement to the London based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that militias may have seized a stockpile of old chemical weaponry that belonged to the old regime. And, predictably, he also warned that the compounds could fall into the hands of Daesh.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, it should. These types of scenarios are the same song and dance we’ve been given by those in power and their cheerleaders in the media for years. Some bogeyman in a far off land gets a hold of a deadly super-weapon and we have to go in and stop them. Along the way, we’ll liberate the oppressed people and bring civilization to the area. At least, that’s what we’re told time and time again is the reason for what we do and what is supposed to happen on the ground, except that ideal dream never ends up coming true.
Fact of the matter is we never intervene militarily in the Middle East or anywhere else because we care about the plight of the civilians in the area. More often than not, it’s for reasons that are not entirely clear or some sort of desire/need that a head of state has. Just ask Sarkozy.
Though it pains me to admit (And probably pleases a few women I’ve dated through the years.) it, I was wrong to advocate for intervention in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. I have a deep seated humanitarian streak and as a result my judgement on a lot of things is sometimes rather clouded. Had the United States and NATO actually remained involved in the nation after the way and currently, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article. But we didn’t. Instead, America and its allies made the same mistake we always make.
We intervened militarily and covertly in a country, and then left the warring factions to fight amongst themselves once we got bored. If Afghanistan and the recent execution video from Daesh Libya is any indication, we’re going to be heading back to the shores of Tripoli very soon. Probably in an operation with the word “Freedom” in its focus group tested title.