Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:August 23rd, 2011 14:37 EST
Libya - the Cheap War?

Libya - the Cheap War?

By Donna Cavanagh

Where in the world is de-throned Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi or Gaddafi or Kadafi, or Qaddafi?  We might not know where he is, but maybe now that his reign of terror is coming to an end, we might all finally learn how to spell his name. 

The military battle for Libyan freedom might soon come to an end as well at least as far as the United States and NATO are concerned in the newest dictator removal project in the Middle East. Hopefully, the transformation of Libya from a dictator state to a democratic one will be in the hands of the Libyan people and not the rest of the world.

The toppling of Kadafi is no doubt historically significant. We have watched this monster not only torture and kill his own people, but kill thousands of innocent bystanders including those killed in the Pan Am-Lockerbie tragedy.  Kadafi`s undoing is also welcome news to United States taxpayers who were not sure how we could keep funneling money into Kadafi removal when we are already up to our necks in blood and debt with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To be truthful, U.S. combat operations in Libya will top out at about $896 million give or take $40 million or so.  This is a bitter bill to swallow when everything in our country is focused on budget cuts and the debt ceiling, but believe it or not, this intervention is far less expensive than the costs of toppling Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The final bill for these endeavors will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion. The U.S. has offset some of the costs for the Libyan intervention with the sale of military equipment to allies also involved in the intervention.  Pentagon officials say the sale of fuel, ammunition and technical assistance to allies since the beginning of this conflict has totaled $221.9 million.

We all ask the same questions when we see these financial figures:  Should Hussein and his family of monsters been taken down? Absolutely.  But was it our place to do the taking down?  We cringe when we hear about the atrocities suffered by people at the hands of Hussein and also the Taliban, but $4.4 trillion and more important, the lives of 6,000 American soldiers, has to make us wonder about the costs of other people`s freedom.

I know this is a bad question to ask, but what the hell, so here it goes:  What happened to the CIA and their assassins? Okay, so they screwed up killing Castro, but one slip up and they don`t do assassination anymore?  Is it a moral issue because I have to think that 6,000 soldiers being killed is a lot more immoral than taking down one murderous dictator.

If these power-hungry leaders are so intent on killing their own people, then maybe a sniper`s bullet or some good old-fashioned arsenic is just what the doctor ordered.  I cannot believe in this age of long-distance weaponry and robots that no one can figure out how to topple a despot without it involving thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. 

I know the argument: We can`t go around knocking off people who tick us off.   Okay, I get that; killing is not the answer. And having an assassination mindset is dangerous because we could get a Rick Perry-type leader who possesses the "if you don`t believe what I believe, you can`t be saved" mentality and that leader could just knock off three-quarters of the world with a few bullets because he or she might think it is the right thing to do.  But before a government commits thousands of soldiers and trillions of dollars to take down a murdering monster who gains power, perhaps it needs to look at alternative plans for that monster removal. 

Are there no more James Bonds?  Do governments not make super spies anymore?  Maybe instead of putting trillions of dollars into wars that last decades and kill thousands, we should invest in creating some more "specialists" who could remedy the dictator situation before regular war breaks out.  I would think that one dead or missing dictator is far more economical in the long run.

Of course, in the case of Kadafi and even Hussein for that matter, the specialists would have to take out the dictators` families too. Again, I know that sounds immoral but look at the children who follow in their father`s footsteps.  Hussein had two sons, Uday and Qusay, who murdered and tortured their own citizens for actions so trivial as losing a soccer match. Luckily, they too were casualties of the Iraq war. However, one of Kadafi`s son, Khamis, keeps coming back to life.  Twice since March, Kadafi`s son has risen from the dead after being reported killed in military action. I think a good assassin could make sure that no resurrections like this would occur. 

Okay, no more assassination quips. Honestly, I hate the idea of war and killing, so I say this with sincerity: I am happy for the people of Libya. I hope they can transform their country into a blissful democratic state.  I hope this transformation takes place quickly and without any more bloodshed because, quite frankly, I think the entire world could use a rest from war.