Ed Koch Commentary – Libya: The Arab League Should Conduct the No-Fly Zone By Ed Koch

eHezi Archives 5 Comments

Koch_EdwardIrving-standing Many in the international community are pushing President Obama to authorize war against the regime of Libyan dictator, Muammar el-Qaddafi.  I think to undertake a third war in the Middle East would be downright foolish.  We are now bogged down with 50,000 American soldiers apparently permanently stationed in Iraq and about 100,000 troops apparently stationed for an indefinite period of time in Afghanistan.       


Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently warned that we should never again be dragged into “a big land war” in the Mideast or Africa.  A war against Qaddafi and his supporters would not be such a war.  But it would be war, and the fog of war and mission creep would undoubtedly expand our activities with the passage of time.         

Qaddafi is admittedly no good, but can anyone tell us with certainty that his rebel opponents support democratic goals?  I doubt it.  Assuming we are satisfied on that issue, should the U.S. become the world’s policeman, especially when China and Russia are apparently opposed to approving such intervention at the United Nations Security Council?          

According to The New York Times on March 12th:          

“The Arab League asked the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to impose a no-flight zone over Libya in hopes of halting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s attacks on his own people, providing the rebels a tincture of hope even as they were driven back from a long stretch of road and towns they had captured in the three-week war.”          

What is occurring in Libya is not like Burundi or Rwanda, where nearly one million or more innocent men, women and children were slaughtered and the world stood by outraged but not intervening.  It is not comparable to the Congo, where hundreds of civilians have been killed or raped, some reportedly by the very UN soldiers sent to protect them.  It is not akin to Bosnia where Serbian generals were conducting a war of genocide against a Muslim population.         

No, this is a civil war and the deservedly unpopular government of Qaddafi (unpopular with the U.S. and NATO) is currently winning that war with the rebels who, so far as I know, have not yet established that they are any better in their philosophy of government.          

If a no-fly zone is desired, why don’t the 22 states of the Arab League provide the military force to enforce it?  Why should our young men and women be put at risk?        

 Didn’t we not long ago enter into an arms deal with Saudi Arabia agreeing to replace its current air force – supplied by us – with a new one and with the most advanced planes costing billions of dollars?  What do they do with these planes and the pilots who fly them?  Isn’t the same true of the armies and air forces of Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and others as well?          

The Times reported on March 13:

“American officials also said that the Arab League would have to do more than endorse action – it would have to participate in it, too.  ‘That doesn’t mean they have to fly airplanes,’ one official said, ‘but there is much they can do, from providing airfields to gas and maintenance.’”          

I beg to differ.  I think the members of the Arab League should fly the planes to enforce a no-fly zone against Libya, which is a member state.  Why do we have to fly the planes at risk of being shot down?           
When and if we were to enforce a no-fly zone and innocent Libyan civilians are injured or killed by us, will we then be excoriated as we were last weekend by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at a memorial service for civilians killed by American troops?  

The Times reported on March 13th:          

“In an emotional speech on Saturday in the eastern city of Asadabad, in Kunar Province, the Afghan president told relatives and neighbors of civilian victims that he sympathized with their plight.  ‘With great honor and with great respect, and humbly rather than with arrogance, I request that NATO and America should stop these operations on our soil,’ he said.  ‘This war is not on our soil.  If this war is against terror, then this war is not here, terror is not here.’           

“Mr. Karzai’s remarks were made at a memorial service for the victims, in the presence of local officials as well as the second highest ranking American general in Afghanistan, David M. Rodriquez. ‘Our demand is that this war should be stopped,’ Mr. Karzai said.  ‘This is the voice of Afghanistan.’”      

Mr. Omer, a Karzai spokesman, later said “The president had meant that such operations leading to civilian deaths should be stopped.”           

Let’s take Karzai at his initial word and get out now before another American soldier is blown up.           
In a speech made last weekend by Defense Secretary Gates to our NATO allies in Brussels, Belgium, contained in a transcript released by the Pentagon and reported by the Times on March 12th the Secretary stated:         

“‘Frankly, there is too much talk about leaving and not enough talk about getting the job done right,’ he said.  ‘Too much discussion of exit and not enough discussion about continuing the fight.  Too much concern about when and how many troops might redeploy and not enough about what needs to be done before they leave.’”           

This statement was apparently prompted by increasing signs that our NATO allies are preparing to leave Afghanistan.  

The Times reported:         

“The defense secretary’s speech was aimed at a Europe where the war, a retaliation for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that was supposed to be over in months, has become more and more unpopular.  Mr. Gates mentioned no specific countries, but two important nations that have announced or are considering withdrawals are Germany and Britain.  Between them they have 13,900 troops in Afghanistan.  The United States has about 100,000 soldiers in the country.          

“The German Parliament voted in January to begin withdrawing its 4,900 soldiers by the end of this year, the first time that Germany, which has the third-largest number of troops in Afghanistan, set a time frame for bringing its men and women home.  Britain, which has the second-largest contingent, about 9,000 troops, said in December that it was ‘possible’ that its forces would start leaving this year.           

“Poland has said it will bring its 2,600 troops home by 2012, and Canada is scheduled to pull its 2,800 troops out by the end of this year.  Last year, the Netherlands became the first NATO country to end its combat mission in Afghanistan when it withdrew its 1,900 forces.”           

The Times went on to report:          

“Although American troops do most of the fighting in Afghanistan, the United States relies on the European allies to provide trainers for the Afghan National Army and the police, a critical mission if the Afghans are to defend their own country by 2014.  NATO is still 750 trainers short of what it promised after Mr. Obama committed an additional 30,000 American combat troops to Afghanistan in late 2009.”           

Note:  We do most of the fighting and have about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.  Our NATO allies in Europe, long protected by us from the threats of the Soviet Union, are leaving us in the lurch.  Why are we keeping troops in Germany 66 years after World War II ended and 22 years after the Berlin Wall came down?          

Karzai doesn’t want us in Afghanistan unless he controls our troops and their rules of engagement.  Our NATO allies no longer believe in the maxim of “all for one and one for all,” except when it applies to them.  And now the world looks to us to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya?  When will we wake up?

Let Mayor Koch know your thoughts by directing email toeikoch@bryancave.com.

The Honorable Edward Irving Koch served New York City as its 105th Mayor from 1978  to  1989.


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eHeziEd Koch Commentary – Libya: The Arab League Should Conduct the No-Fly Zone By Ed Koch

Comments 5

  1. George W Bush, A REPUBLICAN, started the two Middle East wars. He lied about Iraq and abandoned Afghanistan.
    We DO NOT have high inflation.
    The recession started under George W Bush, A REPUBLICAN.

  2. Secretary Of State Hilary Clinton should be fired for her remarks in Egypt about opposing the Saudis sending troops to put down the Iranian backed Shia in Bahrain.The Obamaists are fueling chaos in the Middle East not “Democracy”.The last thing in the world you want is the Iranians in control of the Saudi Arabia oil spigot.The only Good Democrat is a defeated Democrat.

  3. “We now have no allies in Middle East,high inflation and high unemployment.”
    George W Bush, A REPUBLICAN, started the two Middle East wars. He lied about Iraq and abandoned Afghanistan.
    We DO NOT have high inflation.
    The recession started under George W Bush, A REPUBLICAN.
    You can’t even get recent history right.
    My bet is you get all your facts from ONE person:
    Fox – Rupert Murdoch.
    NY Post – Rupert Murdoch.
    WSJ – Rupert Murdoch.
    I am being generous here because I don’t think you read the WSJ.
    You can run but you can’t hide.

  4. I agree America should stay out of a civil war in Libya.As far as the Arab League they got their hands full with their own CNN “Democracy” revolts.How the nuclear crisis in Japan happened and what can be done to avert it happening again will have to be looked at in the near future, without the leftist hysteria knee jerk reactions.I thought the supreme leader Obama was to end the Iraqi war,the Patriot Act,Gitmo,unemployment and bring peace throughout the world.We now have no allies in Middle East,high inflation and high unemployment.The only good Democrat is a defeated Democrat.

  5. as i understand it the nuclear meltdown in japan
    was due to the failure of a back up pump system
    meant to cool the rods which was taken out by the
    tsunami not the earth quake…so paul is wrong..
    Three of the six reactors at the site were in operation when the earthquake hit. The reactors are designed to shut down automatically when a quake strikes, and emergency diesel generators began the task of pumping water around the reactors to cool them down. However, these stopped about an hour later. The failure of the back-up generators has been blamed on tsunami flooding by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
    On Sunday an official with Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said a meltdown may be under way at one of Fukushima Daiichi’s nuclear power reactors.
    Described by one analyst as a “Hail Mary pass”, Tokyo Electric Power Company began injecting sea water mixed with boron into the primary containment vessel in an operation that got under way Saturday night, IAEA said.
    Boron is an element with the ability to absorb neutrons, the sub-atomic particles that occur in the nucleus of all atoms. In a nuclear reactor, it is essential that just the right number of neutrons are present. Too many neutrons can cause a fission reaction to get out of control. Too few neutrons and a fission reaction stops.
    What could have caused the explosion at the plant?
    The blast was not caused by damage to the nuclear reactor but by a pumping system that failed as crews tried to bring the reactor’s temperature down, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Saturday. He said the plant operator confirmed there was no damage to the steel container housing the reactor.
    Malcolm Grimston, Associate Fellow for Energy, Environment and Development at London’s Chatham House, said he believed the explosion had been caused by a build-up of pressure inside the inner containment of the reactor.
    “Because they lost power to the water cooling system, they needed to vent the pressure that’s building up inside.

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