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Random Thoughts on Libya, Qaddafi, War and Regime Change

March 29, 2011

Bush Lite? Obama explains his limited-intervention Libya policy on March 28, 2011

President Obama made the case for his Libyan policy Monday evening during a televised address to the military, the American public and receptive ears throughout the Arab world. I don’t pretend to be a world-class foreign affairs guru, and I’ll let better-credentialed pundits make the definitive statements on the merits and defects of Obama’s policy. But I can’t control the random ideas that have been popping into my head on the subject, and I’m feeling compelled to share them with you.

Obama is pursuing an idealistic middle course, but is that enough? We’re going in as the good guys, defending the people of Libya against a ruthless dictator who would spare no expense to crush his opponents. But at no point during his half hour in the spotlight did the president use the “W” word (it’s not really a war, he implied) or even suggest that we topple Libya’s dogged dictator, Moammar Qaddafi, from his lofty perch. We’d like to see Qaddafi out of power, Obama told us, but we won’t emulate Bush the Younger and force the issue. No arrest, no grotesque hanging, no American ground forces in harm’s way, no exit strategy. (OK, so Obama’s policy has at least one point in common with Bush’s Iraq adventure.)

I generally support middle courses, as you’d probably guess. But moderate warfare didn’t serve us in Vietnam, it hasn’t worked in Afghanistan, and there’s no evidence that our “humanitarian” intervention in Libya will accomplish what we want it to accomplish. We’re simply aiding and abetting the more righteous of the two fighting factions, playing a supporting role (for now) as a VIP member of NATO.

Still, we don’t want to commit ground forces for the third time in a decade, and Obama is right to exercise restraint. At the same time, our participation has to be generating good will among the insurgents in Libya and elsewhere. (It always helps to build alliances with the right people.) The problem is that Obama hasn’t really stated a clear-cut goal for his Libyan operation — military, political or otherwise. I have to wonder how he’d respond to a Qaddafi victory.

Who exactly ARE these rebels we’re supporting? That’s the great unanswered question of the day. Are they proponents of secular Western-style representative democracy? Or do they harbor a furtive desire to establish a new Islamic caliphate in North Africa?

The rebels have fought with admirable grit, but no clear leadership has emerged. A former justice minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, seems to have galvanized the opposition politically, and General Abdul Fatah Younis, a former Qaddafi loyalist, is active in the rebel army. There’s been talk of establishing a provisional government until the Libyans can write a new constitution and hold free elections.

All we know for certain is that the rebels hate Qaddafi at least as fervently as we do, and that common interest seems to be reason enough to get chummy with them. 

Qaddafi is a tough nut. Despite his increasingly mummified appearance (see photo), Qaddafi still reigns over his land like a latter-day pharaoh. The man has a malignant genius for holding power, like so many other obtuse,  inhumane and insanely egomaniacal leaders.

Man or mummy?: the Libyan leader on a recent Time Magazine cover

Nearly cornered in Tripoli by rebel forces, he struck back and reconquered most of the rebel-held areas to the east. Now the rebels have been pushing westward again with the help of NATO air strikes. But as of this writing, Qaddafi shows no signs of buckling under the pressure. Give the man credit: he has staying power.

What if the struggle against Qaddafi devolves into a perpetual stalemate? Could we be looking at another decade of low-grade war against an intransigent strongman, with the U.S. using its manpower and strained financial resources to supplement a flagging effort by the NATO alliance?

And what happens when we hear ourselves summoned to aid rebellions in Syria, Bahrain, Iran or even Zimbabwe? Will the Obama Doctrine force us to heed the call, with or without the help of our NATO allies?

We’ve already embarked on too many of these ruinous missions, and we’re in danger of extending our already overextended empire to the limit. Each new adventure could bring us closer to the lip of the dustbin that holds the rest of history’s overextended empires. If we finally exhaust our resources and take the plunge, China would be all too happy to fill the power vacuum we leave behind.

Why can’t we just take out the S.O.B.? Wouldn’t it be exhilarating to bomb Qaddafi’s compound and blast him all the way to the Islamic version of hell? I generally feel a twinge of guilt when I squash the ants that have invaded my home, but I’d shed no tears over a terminally incovenienced Qaddafi. This is the man who engineered the Lockerbie terrorist bombing, after all.

I’ve always bristled at the notion that we can legally slaughter enemy soldiers by the thousand without remorse, yet it’s verboten (at least by the standards of the Hague Conventions) to assassinate a single belligerent civilian head of state. To me it reveals the elitist nature of war: innocent recruits are fair game, yet the top guy — the man who provoked the war in the first place — is protected by the system.

Here’s the catch, though: Qaddafi is a colonel and therefore not a civilian. He’s not protected by international conventions. If he persists in raining terror and destruction upon his own people, we probably should help him find his way to the next world.

Should we even be meddling in another country’s civil war? A nation’s leader is faced with rebellion and uses his military to pursue the traitors; in his quest for unconditional surrender, he sheds copious amounts of his countrymen’s blood. I can think of another leader who followed the same course of action, and his name was Lincoln.

Qaddafi is no Lincoln, of course. His motivations lack any pretense of nobility, high national purpose or compassion for the downtrodden. Quite the contrary; he simply lives to wield power. But a civil war is still a civil war. Do we really need to meddle in another nation’s family squabble, in yet another obscure corner of the world?

I think we have to see Libya in the context of the greater picture: the “Arab Spring” that sprouted in Tunisia, bloomed in Egypt and now promises to spread virally across the Muslim world. Think of the Latin American revolutions of the 1820s, the African liberation of the 1960s and the collapse of the Iron Curtain starting in 1989. Domino effects, all of them. If we want to see democracy flourish in the Middle East, we should do everything in our power, short of committing ground forces, to make sure the Libyan domino topples.

Bush II wanted to spread democracy by force. The Obama Doctrine is Bush Lite: encourage the rebels, come to their aid and hope for the best. Obama’s brew looks heady enough, but only time will tell if it can satisfy a powerful thirst for freedom.

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 3:01 am

    The Obama doctrine is the Bush doctrine on steroids. Every justification for acting in Libya would have applied to Iraq. But atleast we went to Iraq with the intention of winning. There is no such thing as “War-lite”. We are repeating the mistakes of the Balkans and Vietnam.

    I honestly hope this works out, but good ends and good intentions are insufficient.
    Once again Pres. Obama has confounded the left and the right.
    Sen. Obama ran as the anti-bush. Pres. Obama increasingly seems to be the uber-bush.

    • Priscilla permalink
      March 29, 2011 1:04 pm

      Agree 100%, dhlii….moreover, had Bush ever done what Obama has done – order American troops into combat, without a clearcut mission or objective, in the absence of any compelling imminent threat to our national security, and , most astoundingly, without informing the Congress or the American people beforehand why it was necessary to put our troops in harm’s way, there would have been rioting in the streets. Bush was accused – rightfully so – of the first two transgressions, but you cannot say that he did not forcefully make his case for the war in Iraq before committing our troops. In fact, one of the key reasons that Obama defeated Hillary in the primaries was because of her vote in favor of the Iraq War (of course, Obama never had to vote one way or the other, since he was a mere state legislator at the time).

      I read the other day that some congressman had objected to Obama’s unilateral decision by stating that “we do not have a king’s army.” Indeed.

      • March 29, 2011 2:14 pm

        Priscilla: But Obama hasn’t put any troops in harm’s way yet, other than the risk associated with enforcing a no-fly zone. He had to act quickly because Qaddafi’s troops were on the verge of taking back Benghazi. (And that would have been curtains for the rebellion.)

        I still don’t see this as our war. I hate to use the word “advisors” because of its Vietnam association, but that’s essentially what we are. We’re simply part of the NATO mission to protect the rebels and civilians from the air. Without committing ground troops and risking major American losses, we’re gaining the good will of insurgents throughout the Arab world. I think it’s a good investment.

        My big concern is what happens if the rebels can’t prevail against Qaddafi (or if there’s a factional conflict after they prevail). Obama doesn’t have a plan for that contingency. It would be absolutely ruinous for us to get involved in a long-term struggle there.

    • March 29, 2011 2:06 pm

      dhlii: You’re right that Obama is confounding both the right and the left. The man is full of surprises. But the “UberBush”? I’m not so sure. Granted, Obama didn’t seek Congressional approval for his Libyan adventure, but then he’s not waging a land war, or even an air war. (We’re not bombing Tripoli, are we?) We’re simply enforcing a no-fly zone, which is something we had in Iraq long before our invasion in 2003. I don’t think Obama is reckless enough to commit ground troops to Libya, with or without Congressional approval.

      • Kent Garshwiler permalink
        April 4, 2011 12:53 pm

        Rick,

        I agree, it is too hard to tell what will happen.

        The Arabs have shown they think we care thru the actions we have made thus far. They also know we don’t “bow down” to their way of thinking in religious views. That is showing a form of respect to the U.S.

        Finally, we might be seeing some Arabs admitting that the U.S. isn’t so bad, but only misunderstood because of our religious differences.

        We will have to wait and see if the rebels will push to Tripoli or it will become a stalemate. If a stalemate, is it going to be a split nation, constant civil war, or will Quadhafi leave peacefully to satisfy a united Libya?

  2. valdobiade permalink
    March 29, 2011 2:47 pm

    Priscilla,
    Obama did not order American troops in combat. Not yet.

    He is doing what Clinton did in Kosovo, just sending missiles and keeping a no fly zone, so our troops, if ever enter Libya, won’t be in the harm way… unlike Bush who actually sent American troops in Iraq to catch Osama bin Laden… OOPS.. I mean … Wasn’t taht the purpose of USA entering in a war in the first place?

    Bushes were supposed to enter Iraq a long time ago when Saddam was a dictator and oppressed his peopl, but it seems that Bush waited for a “bring it on” from Al Quaida – 9/11 season, to get in Iraq.

    I see a lot of “bubbling” from Fox News scrambling to defend Bush by accusing Obama for doing “the same thing”. Nice try!

    I’d accuse US presidents for not intervening in Libya a long time ago. Gadafi was a dictator for a more than 40 years.
    Now, I’d accuse Obama for defending oil resources for Italy and France. Well… Obama is more “European” :)

    • Kent Garshwiler permalink
      April 4, 2011 1:02 pm

      Vald,

      The U.S. will not ignore Europe’s need for oil. Oil affects all nations who don’t have enough oil to keep a nation running. Industrial nations require in most cases plastics, gas and metals. All these things I just mentioned require a lot of oil. Which will affect jobs and the stock markets worldwide.

      Since the U.S. is a partner with Europe you can expect the U.S. to step up and protect Europe’s interest.

      Obama is European in Ideology. He was interested in Karl Marx and Socialist ideology which originated in Europe

      • valdobiade permalink
        April 6, 2011 3:51 pm

        Kent,

        If you want to destroy an industrialized country, you have to cut their oil supply, NOT because said country need is for “plastics, gas and metals” as you say, but for what it represent for the army (planes, tanks, boats, transportation), they don’t use wind power to move tanks, boats of fly planes that carry troops, tanks and artillery).
        Also, on civilian side, you can destroy the economy by cutting oil supply for cars and planes. In the civilian case, corporations needs to have a monopoly on oil so they can dictate the prices. Nowadays corporations are multinationals, US is helping Europe for the corporations to flourish, NOT because Obama “was interested in Karl Marx and Socialist ideology which originated in Europe”.

  3. Priscilla permalink
    March 29, 2011 11:11 pm

    Ok, perhaps I’m missing something here? Obama has commanded American troops to fly bombing missions over Libya. (In fact, I read yesterday that the US Army is using AC-130 flying gunships, which fly very low and slow, and are particularly vulnerable to enemy anti-aircraft fire). So, in my mind, that is placing US fighter pilots at risk. And, that, to me, is putting troops “in harm’s way.” Are military pilots and their crews not “troops”? I won’t even go into the use of A-10 attack aircraft, which we are also using in Libya, and which have been criticized in the past as being particularly lethal to civilians…..civilian casualties don’t seem to be a concern in this go-round.

    Kaddafi has been around for what? 40 years? He’s the father of modern terrorism, the man who ordered the Lockerbie bombing…as crazy and evil as they come. But why now? Two weeks ago, Obama flatly rejected supporting a no-fly zone – and all of a sudden, we’re all in? I’m not sure if this is the Bush Doctrine on steroids or the kickoff to the 2012 campaign…..

    • Kent Garshwiler permalink
      April 4, 2011 1:23 pm

      Priscilla,

      It is called the “political finger”. You stick it up in the air. When the polls close…you know which way to go.

      Obama’s a Politician (less Statesman)…that’s a politically correct name for a “Con-man””hack”. They say one thing then do another without saying they were personally wrong or mis-guided. This is because they fear that saying they were wrong might be used against them in the next political ads for re-election. Now Obama is shifting to a “Moderate” position to counter his opposition and to get your vote. But don’t buy into all he says…He’s no Moderate or Centrist. He is just talking. He still has to count on Congress to do his “dirty work”.

      If Obama was a true Statesmen, he would make the best choice he knows. Accept fault and move forward. He could go back and fix a problem or just ignore it. If Obama ignores a problem that he created then it could be used against him in the next re-election.

      A Statesman seems less caring as it shows less emotion…it’s a get it done now mentality. Obama showed this during the healthcare issue. But for the most part he’s a politician. Especially on this war in Libya.

      Either way, both the Politician and Statesman. You kiss the babies, blame someone for your faults or your friends faults, give benefits to people that help you. View the polls more and take action according to them to show you care to the public or ignore them and act like a statesman and make your own path as you go.

  4. Ian Robertson permalink
    March 30, 2011 11:40 am

    In places like Iraq or Libya, there are no good answers, only bad ones. As soon as one response is selected from among the set of bad ones, it immediately becomes the worst possible choice. Then the field day begins for the arm chair quarterbacks and pundits.

    No one knows how to prevent evil at the level of international pariahs without their own use of force of some kind. The force could be embargoes that starve the population of a despot but not the despot, or could be military force that again kills innocents along with the guilty, and the best despots have all attended the same university on how to hide behind innocents.

    It would be great if there were some way to contain and frustrate the despots and international bad actors of the world in a nice peaceful way, without resorting to actions that make our own country liable to accusations that we ourselves are a force for evil . So far no one has found that way (bumper stickers and peace marches don’t seem to influence despots).

    The far left left has always believed that we should have no part of containing despots, they even have apologized for many of them. They wee were all for letting Hitler alone to do his thing even. That is one reason why the far left attracts no more than a few percent of Americans and only empowers the far right instead of achieving their own aims.

    I am with Rick on this in many ways. Khaddaffi is a colonel and by his own proclamation not a member of the govt. Why should so many innocents die while his life is sacred?

    It was not possible that the US would stay out of this, I’m glad other nations, France, England were taking a lead role this time. Obama did work slowly and even too patiently on this,he will now get hit from all sides, as always. I support the man, I can’t even understand why anyone wants the pain of being the POTUS.

    • Kent Garshwiler permalink
      April 4, 2011 1:29 pm

      Ian,

      Like it… Being POTUS….it’s about the Power, the Money…the Control. He who controls the power controls the money.

      Politics controls Wall Street…not the other way.

      Some get a “buzz” off of it. Just like thieves.

  5. Priscilla permalink
    March 30, 2011 2:17 pm

    Rick, I know that you and I agree that John Stewart doesn’t always get it right….but this clip pretty much sums up many of my feelings on this whole thing ( it’s worth watching through to the end to see 5-6 other presidents try to explain similar interventions and to watch Sarah Palin’s comical malaprop).

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-march-29-2011/america-at-not-war—obama-defends-military-action-in-libya?xrs=share_copy

    • March 31, 2011 10:55 pm

      Priscilla: Jon Stewart has a way with words, especially when it comes to the cynical deflation of authority figures. I especially liked the hedging language he inserted into JFK’s inaugural address. And he’s right about our peculiar selectivity when it comes to intervening abroad. (I don’t think we’ve ever gone out of our way to rescue black nations from their oppressors.)

      But we can’t realistically pursue JFK’s vision of the U.S. as the world’s white knight coming to the rescue of any people who need rescuing. It was the bravado of a young president who was feeling omnipotent at the time. (The Bay of Pigs was lurking just a few months ahead.)

      I’ve noticed, by the way, that you and Valdo have exactly the same logo thingy next to your posts. If you’re the same person, I have to give you credit for your remarkable skill at impersonating a cynical Romanian man. ;)

      • valdobiade permalink
        April 1, 2011 12:37 pm

        Rick,

        I don’t know why Priscilla and I have the same “logo thingy”. However, I guarantee that we are different persons. Priscilla is a wonderful person who writes nice posts, while my English is so and so…
        I hope I did not offend Priscilla with, sometime, odd remarks.

  6. valdobiade permalink
    March 30, 2011 4:36 pm

    Priscilla wrote: American troops to fly bombing missions over Libya.

    I don’t know if American troops can fly, I guess all what they can do is crawling, walking, running, use armored cars, be transported by Air Force planes and helicopters, using rifles, guns, automatic weapons… and… I think that’s all, but they cannot not fly :)

    What about the right of President to use Marines without consulting the Congress?

  7. Priscilla permalink
    April 2, 2011 8:17 am

    Ok, then, I yield on the “troops” thing (mostly because valdo’s comment was pretty funny -made me laugh and was not at all offensive ;) ) So, if we let Obama off the hook on this military action because we’re “only bombing” Libya, in a situation where not only have we not been attacked, but there has been no direct or imminent threat to the US whatsoever, where does that set the bar for the next time around?? As far as I can see, Obama intends to completely ignore the War Powers Resolution of ’73 (Hillary said as much last week) and continue to direct our military intervention unilaterally, based on what he considers a worthy and strategic cause. So, now, the next (possibly Republican?) president has a pretty low threshold for ordering American intervention – much lower even than “cowboy” Bush, who at least sought Congressional approval.

    As I said in my earlier comment, this is dangerously autocratic behavior on his part – even leaving aside the issue of whether or not this intervention is justified or not.

    And no, Rick, valdo is not my alter-ego, haha…..his comments are far too original and complex for me to make up. And I’m not nearly as witty…..

    • Kent Garshwiler permalink
      April 4, 2011 2:45 pm

      Priscilla,

      My concern is the disregard for giving notice to Congresses second-hand thoughts. If we had a President that randomly decided to attack someone too big..like China…without Congresses approval…well..you know. We as a public are putting too much in power to the President.

      • valdobiade permalink
        April 5, 2011 6:13 pm

        Kent,
        If you know something about the US history, you may find out that on at least 125 occasions, the President has acted without prior express military authorization from Congress. Why should Obama make an exception?

      • February 5, 2012 11:31 pm

        Not too much to cohose from among Republicans if you leave out Ron Paul. Palin and Bachmann claim to like him, that is until they actually have to support his policies. Maybe somebody could get other Republicans besides Ron & Rand Paul to actually endorse things like fiscal responsibility and compassionate Christianity.

    • valdobiade permalink
      April 4, 2011 3:58 pm

      Priscilla wrote:
      And no, Rick, valdo is not my alter-ego, haha…..his comments are far too original and complex for me to make up. And I’m not nearly as witty…..

      Ohhh Priscilla, you make me feel like Bashful!

  8. Priscilla permalink
    April 5, 2011 11:11 pm

    valdo,

    The president has broad constitutional authority to unilaterally (that is “without prior express military authorization from Congress”) order military force to repel attacks and to protect vital American interests and national security. Presidents of both parties have used and abused this authority….however, Obama campaigned as the “anti-Bush” and expressly stated ( as a candidate) that “the president does NOT have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

    Perhaps he was only talking about GOP presidents?

    • valdobiade permalink
      April 6, 2011 3:33 pm

      Priscilla,

      The US under Bush was not under “imminent threat to the nation” from Iraq. If we were under “imminent threat” from Iraq, we should have quit invading Iraq after we found out that all WMD were actually some Clorox barrels and a metallic cylinder on the back of a camel. (Powell presented to UN a picture of a cylinder as proof Iraq is doing nuclear tests, but to carry this cylinder, I guess, Iraqi needed camels to transport them).

      However, you are right, Obama should not start any war to spread democracy as Bush did.

    • April 8, 2011 10:24 pm

      Priscilla: Isn’t it amazing how “Republican” Obama has been looking lately? He’d be the last to admit it, of course. Maybe executive power brings out the inner Republican in any president. Think about it: when was the last time we had a president who operated from the left? Even FDR used his big-government tactics in an attempt to rescue the capitalist system. Clinton started out on the left but quickly moved to the center. Maybe LBJ — but only on civil rights issues, and only mildly left of center.

  9. valdobiade permalink
    April 6, 2011 4:21 pm

    Kent wrote: Finally, we might be seeing some Arabs admitting that the U.S. isn’t so bad, but only misunderstood because of our religious differences.
    ——–

    Kent,
    I hope that Arabs would admit that U.S. “isn’t bad” not because some misunderstanding of some religious difference, BUT because U.S. does not behead atheists. However, there will be a long, long time until you’ll heard about prominent atheists in the Arab world.

    Actually, I think that US will become a Muslim nation. I have near my workplace a Mosque in a small Muslim community. They are rushing to pray at the sound of some kind of thingy like you are in the middle of the desert. At my workplace, they pray instead of working and I am furious, I had my smoking break cut but Muslims can take a break to pray without anybody saying that the production is slowing down.
    We already have strong voices against Christian praying in public. We want to see morals and ethics practiced in public, not religious brouhaha. What if we see these crazy Christian Fundamentalist on TV, going on streets and screaming that Jesus is coming every 2-3 hours? The economy will get to the toilet even worse than in the Bush the Young times. And don’t forget, Bush was chosen president by God, Elohim not Allah.

    • Kent Garshwiler permalink
      April 8, 2011 1:11 pm

      Vald,

      You are on the correct path in my views to believe that Islam is replacing Christianity.

      I would go into the details, but it would take too long.

      In short:
      I would say in short that following the words of Jesus involves a little more than saying you believe in God, show up for church for a few hours (if you go) and use Jesus as a “doormat” for repeated sins.

      It is my belief that when you observe the true words Jesus spoke and left for man after his death….man has interpreted Christ’s words/sayings as best he could, but it has been corrupted in many ways by many using politics/force upon others. Islam as well being abused.

      The First Reform Movement on the planet to try to fully understand Jesus was a faith that used the “Universal in Christ”-like or “Catholic” faith. “Christian” is thought to mean a believer in Christ thru the Abraham and Jesus teachings and thus begun under a faith derived from a powerful political power…Rome. It spread via Crusades and Missionaries.

      The Second Reform Movement to fully understand Jesus was the Reformation that used the actual word “Christian” to describe the separation from the “Catholic”versions of what teachings Jesus had intended. Subjective or objective, it changed the world and still is popular in the non-islamic world to this day.

      I have been studying Jesus’s teachings. I don’t believe Jesus meant all people on earth to have many different religions. I do believe he had only one true path to follow. I don’t call myself Christian. Just as Jesus didn’t say he was Christian. He let others call him names.

      The Third Reform Movement hasn’t materialized. This is the part I am studying. When you combine the fact that people are flocking to religion more than ever in history. One must suspect that the world is changing dramatically. More so because of Science and this will either eliminate some Religions, create more, or cause a void that a great existing religion will be able to come in and suck the “lost” up into an even bigger religion. This is where Islam comes into play.

      The question is whether Islam is going to take over Christianity before a Third Reform Movement has time to take place. Or is Islam the Third Reform Movement? Which would lead to a Fourth Reform Movement.

      • valdobiade permalink
        April 8, 2011 8:27 pm

        Kent,

        I said that “I think that US will become a Muslim nation” in the sense, that I will call myself Muslim just to take a break of 5-10 minutes at my workplace to pray.

        I explained that in the context that when I came in the US, I started to smoke just because we had breaks for smoking.

        Now we don’t have smoking breaks anymore, but we may have breaks for “Muslim prayers”. I will go out find the Mecca direction and sit down for 5-10 minutes without anybody bothering me that the production is slowing down.

        You get in too much reasoning on how we may become Muslim nation by other way that I explained above.

      • April 8, 2011 10:15 pm

        Kent: Interesting analysis, though I think the next reform movement should be a clear-eyed interpretation of God based on what we observe in nature, apart from the scriptures that have been handed down to us. And before the next reform movement can happen, I think all the major religions (including Islam) must be brave and honest enough to agree that their scriptures are fallible creations of fallible men.

        The scriptures generally depict God as a sentient being who cares about us as individuals. I’m continually struck, though, by the total amorality of the natural world. Why would a good God have created viruses, parasites, cancer cells, predators who eat their victims alive, and other nightmarish forms of life? I’m amazed that none of the major religions seems to have dealt with this difficult issue.

        I’m personally not ready to discard God, which would be an act of arrogance on my part. But I think it’s time to redefine him based on the nature of the world he is supposed to have created. We might need this reformed religion to protect ourselves from the whims of God.

    • April 8, 2011 10:18 pm

      Valdo: We’ll become a Latin American (and Catholic) nation long before we become an Islamic nation. It’s Western Europe you have to worry about. Well, actually I think you should worry about the U.S. becoming a Latin American nation, too. Sorry to add to your worries.

  10. Ian Robertson permalink
    April 7, 2011 9:31 pm

    This is sort of off topic, but it does concern regime change, specifically the loss of influence of Glenn Beck ( who, I must admit, I never have actually seen or heard, as our TV is never used for anything other than watching netflix.) Anyhow, this is an article by John Avalon that gives some hope for moderates.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailybeast/20110407/ts_dailybeast/13372_endingofglennbeckshowremovesafearmongerfromtheair;_ylt=AuPJmHXjtR1ADHgBLPeFazl34T0D;_ylu=X3oDMTNzYzdnbW1iBGFzc2V0A2RhaWx5YmVhc3QvMjAxMTA0MDcvMTMzNzJfZW5kaW5nb2ZnbGVubmJlY2tzaG93cmVtb3Zlc2FmZWFybW9uZ2VyZnJvbXRoZWFpcgRwb3MDMwRzZWMDeW5fbW9zdF9wb3B1bGFyBHNsawNnbGVubmJlY2tmYXI-

    Good lord, site addresses are getting out of hand! Did they really need 400 characters?

  11. April 8, 2011 10:00 pm

    Ian: I saw that article when it appeared. Yes, it seems that the stars of last year’s Tea Party movement are already fading, and fast. Both Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have had their “jumping the shark” moments: Beck when he used his Lincoln Memorial rally to talk about God instead of politics, and Palin when Gabrielle Giffords was shot and she tried awkwardly to explain her “crosshairs” map.

    I still have my doubts that moderates (whether mainstream or “radical” like me) will organize and become a force in politics, but I’m ever hopeful. (See my current column.)

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