Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


President Obama: “We are stronger because we are democracies”

From the White House: President Obama Addresses the People of Estonia

At the Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia today, President Obama spoke to students, young professionals, and civic leaders about the enduring strength and promise of democracy. “I am honored to be the first President of the United States to deliver an address like this to the people of Estonia,” he said.

We’re stronger because we’re democracies.  We’re not afraid of free and fair elections, because true legitimacy can only come from one source — and that is the people. We’re not afraid of an independent judiciary, because no one is above the law.  We’re not afraid of a free press or vibrant debate or a strong civil society, because leaders must be held accountable. We’re not afraid to let our young people go online to learn and discover and organize, because we know that countries are more successful when citizens are free to think for themselves.

Libya is not Iraq: Three Victories in Tripoli

As is often noted, we all have a tendency to fight the previous war. Just as the ‘quagmire’ of Vietnam led to reluctance to intervene in Bosnia (at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives), so too the successes of Kosovo led to the peremptory and ill planned interventionism of Iraq.

But Libya is not Iraq. As jubilant crowds fill Green Square, the fall of Tripoli to the rebels is a victory on many counts

Afghanistan Draw Down – Open Thread

So it’s happened. Despite protests from the Pentagon, Obama has announced his intention of making the surge of two years ago truly a surge, and to draw down 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan by September next year.

The current Afghan President Hamid Karzai has just welcomed the news.

“The Afghan people’s trust in the Afghan army and police is growing every day and preservation of this land is the job of Afghans…. I welcome the decision of the US president today on pulling out [some of] … its troops from Afghanistan and I consider this a right decision for the interest of both countries.”

The news has created an unusual consensus and been welcome by the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as NATO, and the governments in London, Paris and Berlin.

Why We Fight for Libya

A lot of arguments have been put forward against the current military intervention in Libya. While I understand the arguments of those who are sincere with their criticisms of the choices of the US President I believe that win or lose this action is the correct one to take at this time.

Our involvement in Libya is about Libya, but it also about the whole of the Arab Spring. What is at stake is the possible – just possible – attainment of every major liberal goal for millions upon millions of people. The ultimate success of the Arab Spring would do more for human rights in the world than all efforts towards that goal combined could possibly hope for.

Where is Eman al-Obeidy?

A successful Arab Spring could lead to an African Fall. The population of effectively sadistic oppressive regimes in the world could fall dramatically in a few short years. Coming decades could see vibrant cities and societies where the very idea today is seen as so absurd as to not even enter serious conversation. Continental swathes of land soaked with blood, suffering and injustice could be saved from perpetual grinding hopelessness.

If my country did not at least try do what we can to foster this fragile moment of hope I think I would consider joining the cynics who believe we have lost our value in the world.

Libyan Democratic Forces Push West [Updates]

With surprising speed the Libyan Democratic Movement is sweeping westward towards Tripoli.

As of 0300 GMT Monday, Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte- said to be the big battle before Tripoli – is reported to be in Democratic hands. Democratic forces have therefore crossed 570 km from Benghazi and are now only 159 km from Misrata and 450 km from downtown Tripoli.

As more land and people and military equipment comes under the control of the Democratic movement it remains to be seen who will be standing with Gaddafi in coming days.

Don't Get Up: A Petulantly Open Thread on Libya

OK, fine. Everyone else can lay around and have a few beers and I’ll take care of everything. Don’t get up, just relax and I’ll make sure the lights stay on and the place stays clean and the maniacs don’t kill the kids and dinner is ready on time.

No problem.

Nato takes charge of enforcing Libya no-fly zone (as long as the US takes the heat).

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday that after lengthy negotiations the 28-member alliance reached a deal to enforce the no-fly zone. … Rasmussen said the Nato operation was limited to enforcing the no-fly zone…

Sure, as Gaddafi shells cities you’ll orbit overhead.

Consider this a petulantly  Open Thread.

Cheering People Dying? Or Spring Movements? Open Thread

It’s a fair point. As the sound of anti-craft fire combined with the distant crumps of explosions disturb the Libyan night, it’s a fair point: are we celebrating death? Are we cheering on exactly the same kind of indiscriminate slaughter which was unleashed in Vietnam and Cambodia, and more recently in Iraq? Democracy, founded on debate and dissent, should never try to silence those questions. It should ask them. Ask them of ourselves, and those in Government, or the Armed Forces, who seek to represent and defend us.

But for once, this isn’t about us. The uprisings in the Maghreb and Mashriq, the revolutions in the Arab World from Morocco to Yemen, Tunisia to Syria, have not been led by us. It’s a spring awakening, as important as 1968 or 1848.

Hat tip to Fogiv for the video

From Darkness to (Odyssey) Dawn

Transcript from The Journeying Progressive’s speech today (downtown Kansas City, MO):

“Good afternoon. It is dark right now in the nation of Libya. For the past month, the world has watched a selfish dictator brutally suppress the protests of a people in crisis. Today, the United States and her allies have said “Enough.”

Updatedx3: Libyan Ceasefire? In Defence of the Defenders: UN Resolution 1973

Though I understand the reservations about military action in any field, I felt a deep sense of relief when the UN Security Council voted through resolution 1973 last night UK time.

Why? Because in all the mess of the wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan, I always feared one of the casualties of those debacles would be the careful constructed Responsibility to Protect principle established after the genocide in Rwanda, and near genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo.

To me this isn’t about the right to wage war, but the responsibility to prevent it

The Realities of a "No-Fly Zone" – from someone who has been here before

PhotobucketWe’ve seen calls for a no-fly zone from several fronts ~ both at home and abroad.  It seems to be the favored form of intervention of British PM Cameron, US Senators McCain, Lieberman, and Kerry as well as any number of twitterers.  We have seen calls for a no-fly zone in Libya, too, to be sure.  On the flip side, Gaddafi has vowed to use whatever military he has to fight a no-fly zone.

Me?  I don’t mind the idea (those three years I spent as a Data Processing Technician in the Navy made me a military expert) as long as the US does not take the lead.  I firmly believe, as SoS Clinton has said recently, the UN and/or NATO and/or the Arab League should take the lead.

What I find intriguing are the thoughts of SecDef Gates who, as you know, is a holdover from the Bush Administration and former CIA deputy director for intelligence during the Reagan years.