The “kinetic military action” we’re pursuing in Libya because we allegedly have a responsibility to protect (R2P) “the just aspirations of the Libyan people” has just given us another fine linguistic distinction. According to Wired, U.S. aircraft are still flying and attacking Libyan targets, but their missions are now considered “defensive.” A defensive mission might indeed entail dropping bombs and firing missiles but, being labeled as defensive, it magically no longer entails U.S. aircraft “striking Libya.” Therefore, Defense Secretary Gates’ (i.e. Barack Obama’s) 31 March report that U.S. military operations had ceased and the commitment to carry on has been transferred to NATO still holds true.
If you’re confused, you’re not alone.
Just out of curiosity: what is the status of Libyans who get kineticized in our defensive non-missions? Alive? Dead? In limbo? Never existed in the first place?
To paraphrase Orwell: this distinction is so stupid that only an intellectual could take it seriously.
Note that R2P is a newfangled notion that nations have a responsibility to act in the face of human right violations, mass murder, genocide and such. Trouble is, some supranational agency like the UN Human Rights Council (y’ know, Syria, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan and other paragons of humanitarianism) gets to decide what is and what isn’t the time to act. U.S. participation in operations under this label is tantamount to transferring control of U.S. forces to leaders from other (even hostile) powers, for reasons that I suspect will generally turn out to be purely political. For instance, the R2P brainiacs might decide that Colombia (more or less democratic) is a mortal threat to the people of (socialist) Venezuela because the Colombian government keeps exposing Venezuela’s sponsorship of the (socialist) terrorist group FARC. On the other hand, the (socialist) mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will escape scot-free. There is a kind of honor among thieves and dictators.
Also note that one of the most dedicated R2Pers in the White House is the ominous Samantha Power, but she’s hardly alone. In fact, it may said that the Obama régime is fully dedicated to R2P, which is a component of the One-World concept in which nation-states are considered obsolete and a necessarily totalitarian world government is in charge.