Begrudgingly for Freedom

by Sudhama Ranganathan Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2011 at 3:21 AM

This past week the leaders from ten member nations of the UN Security Council finally went ahead and voted to approve helping the Libyan rebels by imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Gadhafi’s planes, ant-aircraft systems and some of his ground troops “posing a risk to civilians” are being targeted and that is a good thing as it is a measure of help and good faith with the size forces we currently have in the region we can easily provide. It is the least our nation can do (and in Libya the most we should do) as we made such a mess of Iraq, due to one administration basing everything on the say so of one person from Iraq and ignoring reams of evidence from multiple experts warning there was no justification for such action. (;contentBody) Saddam Hussein is gone and that’s good, but due to that administration we were shamed as a nation on not just a national stage but in front of the globe.

Begrudgingly for Fre...
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Leaders across the world voted to help the Libyan rebels and some of the more prominent members of the UN abstained from voting in protest and out skepticism about the outcome. It’s true Gadhafi might continue, but previous to his using his air defenses, tanks and so forth the rebels were winning and in fact swept the country. After we have drawn down from there, once the anti aircraft capability have been taken out and most of his tanks etc have been substantially muted, they can fight on a more level playing field as deploying any of our ground troops in any sort of combat capacity would be the wrong thing to do.

What’s been very interesting is hearing from the skeptics, abstainers and people in opposition. Back home it has been very telling as many hawks, Cold War expansionists and those that claimed for years what we were doing in Iraq was to support liberty, freedom and democracy in Iraq, all came out annoyed, disturbed, bitter and peeved that we would help out the in a true instance of what they clung to and lauded previously.

Any attempts at questions or words of doubt raised against the Iraq War in the early days were met with charges of anti-Americanism, being traitorous or unpatriotic. Yet now when the very reasons cheaply peddled to us in the lead up to the Iraq War for helping out can clearly be seen by all, beads of sweat glistening on foreheads, nervousness and jitters now betray images of once screaming eagles.

Here is the region that was supposedly convinced that what Al Qaeda said was correct. That America wanted to go in and plunder resources and would do business, and in fact preferred to do business, with dictators, tyrants and the very embodiment of people that were the antithesis of everything we claimed to stand for, was one of their most trumpeted calls. It’s a region rife with the legacy of the creation of Muslim extremism people like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Charlie Wilson fostered to help take down and destabilize the old USSR. (

Yet finally some have challenged the belief only religious extremists exist there and have asked to have freedom, liberty and democracy and so many military leaders have suddenly been coughing “not in our national interests” under their breaths. And really it’s about time. For years people from the left and right have been calling foul regarding those claims, and now we watch our generals say “yeah we’re doing it but we’re not happy about it” across TV screens nationwide. Apparently some of those conspiracy theorists were right. Who knew? (Not that anybody’s going to be interviewing Michael Ruppert anytime soon on national TV)

Now generals both retired and currently serving, have acknowledged they feel that is not the kind of thing we should be getting into. They are all saying it’s a waste of resources to be protecting the oppressed and terrorized around the world. Obviously there is another reason we have between 700 -800 military bases worldwide. ( What they don’t tell us is that really it is just muscle.

The men and women on the ground serving our nation of course are not responsible for any of this. It is people calling the shots that cause the problem of making decisions to exploit our military to protect the overseas business interests of wealthy corporations that obviously pay no American taxes on those overseas interests, barely pay any of the taxes they owe back home and hardly hire any Americans in those countries. Yet it’s our tax dollars that go to pay for security guards for them overseas.

Perhaps there are generals etc that love soaking up the rays on million dollar overseas golf courses and being in charge of bases, some of which are so large they require nine bus routes to get around on, and using patriotism as an excuse to maintain their cushy lifestyles, but back home we have teachers getting laid off. Back home ordinary people can no longer afford the increasing college tuition rates at state schools and funding for public schools in general are on the chopping block like they meant nothing.

Perhaps there are commanders that see a future raking in the cash upon retiring as rent a generals making sure those good ole rich boys have their tails covered at their sweatshops and oil refineries. ( But their becoming millionaires when they retire is not in our interest. Not at all. Surely and with hope there are some of them that see that. Those that have been voicing doubt about fighting for democracy have in some ways admitted we can now pull substantial military resources out of East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Asia Pacific Rim, the Middle East and Europe with no negative impact on our national security apparatus.

What’s also been interesting is seeing some of the nations not in support of the action. Take for instance the list of those abstaining from support which was Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Germany. That China and Russia abstained was no revelation. One was interesting. Germany.

In Germany, according to the Pentagon, we currently have about 57,155 troops serving. We also have 265 military installations/ bases there. ( Yet they were not on our side. We have had heavy troop presence there since the end of WWII through the Cold War and still today. Yet Germans don’t equate our presence with liberty, freedom and democracy. Not only did they not believe in the usefulness of Libyan involvement, but according to a poll 79% of Germans want their leadership to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. (

After all this time they have not been convinced of our stated mission and it positive effects around the globe. What’s wrong with them? (lol)

We should help the Libyan rebels out with getting a head start that would be good. The fact we are not taking the lead and waited this time is perhaps the best military decision made by a US president since the decision to invade Afghanistan after 911 and much more sophisticated and nuanced – so far. After the help in crippling Gadhafi’s forces and leveling the playing field we should let them decide their own fate and leave. That includes oil. We should let them decide what they will do and not allow greedy corporations like Exxon/ Mobil that paid zero US taxes in 2009 to cause more trouble for us. Let Libyans decide how to manage their own fields.

We had no clout with Gadhafi or his regime to influence change and to get him to stop attacking his people. This was a good decision. In Bahrain and the rest as in Tunisia and Egypt we should use our influence and find ways to broker peace non-militarily. Further we can start to completely pull out of many other regions. Let’s pull out of Iraq totally and let them do with their country as they see fit. Hussein is gone and the majority of Iraqis do not want us there. We can save a lot of US dollars by doing so and take off the unnecessary strain that occupation is causing us.

We can also make a plan to cut our global presence in half in terms of bases. We simply do not need 700 - 800 bases worldwide and the generals acknowledged it. They have led to corruption and so much else. We are asking American citizens to sacrifice so much back home, and for what? The Cold War is over and it’s time to stop looking at the world through that lens. Times change and the Cold Warriors can now stand down as now they have become a burden on us. In so many places it is now simply us providing them with a way to maintain a lifestyle they enjoy that we cannot afford.

Let’s applaud President Obama for proving that we can do it for the right reasons and in the right way. But let’s also draw down and pull out. This whole bloated lifestyle of the enlisted and famous is so out of date. Let’s take off the bell bottoms and step into the new millennium.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to