Death of Qaddafi

While it always seems good to see the death of a tyrant, it does bring up some questions for me:

1. Do we really have the right to enter into another nation and topple its leaders without a clear US need to do so?

2. Why do we choose to topple a tyrant like Qaddafi, and not topple tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Yemen, Pakistan, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc?

3. Who is to decide which nation’s leader is a tyrant or not?

4. If we break a nation, must we really have to fix it?  And if so, then why are we leaving Afghanistan while it is still broken?

5. Is it okay for a president to send in troops or engage in combat activities for longer than 90 days without Congress’ specific approval? (when does “days, not weeks” turn into months or years?)

6. Do we get involved in pushing the winners to choose someone to our own liking?  Or do we allow them to develop their own government, risking them developing a radical government, or a corrupt one (like Hamid Karzai’s Afghan government)?

7. Should we be spending billions of dollars on foreign wars when our own nation is drowning in trillions of dollars of debt?

8. Do you feel Barack Obama has earned his Nobel Prize for Peace? (I would ask about Bush, but they never offered him one)

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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

10 thoughts on “Death of Qaddafi

  1. 1. It depends.
    2. We didn’t topple Qadaffi, the people did. So maybe we helped.
    3. Good question. What about Mugabe?
    4. Another good question. Colin Powell seemed to think so.
    5. I would say no because of a little thing called the Constitution.
    6. Great question. Karzai is a disaster. Who chose him anyway?
    7. Should we be spending billions if not trillions in foreign wars? Do we even have to ask this question?
    8. Doesn’t matter if he earned it. It was given to him. He didn’t ask for it and probably didn’t want the danged thing anyway.

  2. Good examples: France during the U.S. Revolutionary War, international forces in Libya’s war (limited scope to a war that’s already begun, and provide support without taking things over).

    Bad examples: Iraq, Afghanistan, and, most likely, attacks on Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, etc.

    The country itself needs to be ready for change, and should be able to stabilize with minimal support once the tyrant is dead. Iraq was not ready. Afghanistan probably never will be (and thus we’ll never be able to fix Afghanistan).

    And once it’s over, we should get out. Not stick around for a decade like we have in Afghanistan, or almost a decade like Iraq.

    In other words, our war efforts should be merely a support to the locals, they should be limited in scope and duration, and they should only occur after the war’s already been started. Preferably, we should also have real international support (it shouldn’t be 90% U.S. and 10% European).

  3. I’ve never been sure of why our NATO allies felt it necessary to go into Lybia in the first place, other than the oil? Can anyone tell differently? I also know our NATO obligations, obligated us to participate. That opens up the question should we still be in NATO, should there even still be a NATO in the post-cold war world? I’m not sure it should. I don’t think the Lybians or most Arab nations are ready for rule by anything other than a tyrant — becauase they have no tradition of self-rule or any sort of tradition of freedom to fall back on. That’s just my opinion though. I’m also not sure why the media is given Obama any credit for this, as it was a NATO/Lybian operation that killed Kaddaffi. Did Obama give a kill order for Kaddaffi? As for the peace prize — BHO should never have been given it in the first place, then again, they give that peace prize to people like Yassar Arafat so it has no credibility in my mind. He only got the award becuase he was the most popular kid at the time.

  4. 1. Very hard to answer that question. The Westphalian system, where counties can’t interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, is by no means a clearly mandated system of morality for nation-states–though in the Westphalian system this really only applied to great powers anyway. So the question is whether an international system can be morally obligatory just because its customary and widely-accepted (I think the answer is yes, just as with the law) and whether the Westphalian system currently meets those requirements (I think the answer is ambiguous–the Westphalian system is dying for a number of reasons, but its not self-evidently dead and there is as yet no clear replacement). Given that uncertainty, I’d say the lockerbie bombing is enough justification, morally speaking. In short, you’re probably better off criticizing the decision to topple the Great Loon on practical rather than moral grounds.

    2. Who knows? Quite a few of those needn’t be toppled on grounds or raison d’etat, but raison d’etat would suggest toppling someone other than the dictator who had spent the last few years jumping when you said ‘how high.’ Ultimately it probably comes down to our allies wanting to, it being easy to do politically for us, and no great costs to us one way or another.

    3. Us, it appears.

    4. I don’t think so, even as a moral matter. I understand the argument, however. But I don’t see what that has to do with Libya. We aren’t planning on ‘fixing’ Libya and us fixing Libya wasn’t our justification for bombing the Great Loon anyway.

    5. Good question. Back in the day when we had a department of the Navy and a department of War, it was pretty well understood that the President could use the navy and the marines for offensive operations against non-great powers without congressional approval, but that using the Army meant it was a serious war that required Congressional approval. That was a superior system to our own, because the lines were clearer. Even so, I believe its probably OK for the president to use force in a low level way without congressional approval.

    6. Beats me. This is a question that requires knowing a lot more details about local conditions than we have. However, my preference would be to let things go unless there are strong reasons to the contrary. BTW, the corrupt Karzai regime IS our guy.

    7. Depends on the strategic importance of the war and the cost. Libya isn’t very important at all, though how expensive it is I don’t know. And training in real wars can be valuable.

    8. Even the President feels he hasn’t.

  5. A very great part of my life, I lived under a dictatorship in Paraguay [from 1956 until 1989]. Then with support of the american goverment, we overtrew General Stroessner [after 35 years in power]. Actually the coup was lead by the father of one of his daughter-in-law and most trusted generals. This particular general known also for his dealings in the drug trade, particularly NOT the kind of drugs you will find in drug stores.

    In order to understand a dictatorship, one must live under it. Political persecution, torture, missing people, lack of basic liberties and above all, wasted lives, entire generations just…wasted. The sad side of the issue: American supported the dictators, the happy side: american supported ghe overthrow.

    So, coming to your question: Should you or should you not…get involved. I think this is a question the rest of the world is asking. In my case, I wish you would have done it sooner, but [and read it carefully] if you had not gone there the first time to place the dictator, you wouldn´t have gone there the second time to overtrow it, to clean up the mess. Like I wrote, in our case…

    Maybe it was a different period, comunism on one side, democracy on the other. But in the name of this war, millions suffered the worst of dictatorships…in the name of freedom.

    Ironic…isnt it!

  6. 2. Why do we choose to topple a tyrant like Qaddafi, and not topple tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Yemen, Pakistan, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc?

    For that matter, why do we choose to topple them only after supporting, negotiating with or otherwise accommodating them? I’m guessing the answer to both is opportunity and a vague and shifting notion of national interest, but consistency definitely isn’t it.

  7. 1. I don’t believe it should, but there is always an exception, but as far as the current affairs of the US around the world, I’m all for “isolationism”
    2. Special interests comes to mind. What and who we have become huh?
    3. Back to Q#2. Special interests and wants of certain individuals sounds about right.
    4. Morally, yes. Then again, it might just be better to walk away instead of digging deeper into a wound.
    5. I would say no. Congress had power to limit the president on this until President’s Bush changed all that ( in terms of sending us to war that is)
    6. If and once we have already placed foot in a country, and if we really believe in Democracy, (and that’s the message we are spreading right?) it would best be the wants of the people, and not of that of the US in the long run.. cause if it’s against people’s will, wouldn’t that be like a form of Dictator?
    7. No.
    8. No, but at the same time he didn’t ask for it either, not did he bribe anybody for that matter ( not that I’m aware of at least :-/ )

  8. Congress took more power via the War Powers Act after the Vietnam war. This is difficult to police and Pres. Bush did get congressional authorization for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. If they thought he did not, why did the democrat Congress in 2007 do nothing?
    The question of why not try to topple all sorts of other dictators. Libya had a good rebel force and controlled part of the country. Our allies really wanted to support them. It was low cost/high reward. We did not invade. Also, in the case of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, there was a clear war justification that we and our allies could use. Syria, Iran, & N. Korea may have provided a war justification through their own or proxy actions, but we would like more allies if we commit.

  9. Do governments have the right to violate commandments? They can declare that a commandment like “Thou shalt not kill” does not apply. Then their subjects consider themselves unaccountable for carrying out cold blooded murders for the state. I guess that’s okay.

    The famous Milgram experiments show that 2/3 of us will commit murder if instructed to by an authority figure. The GIs who come home from Iraq and blow their brains out probably belong to the 1/3 group.

    Under Qadaffi, Libya provided free health care, free education, interest-free loans, and cost controls on food and gas. So, naturally there were plenty of people (outside of Libya) who wanted him dead.

  10. Bradley,
    “Under Qadaffi, Libya provided free health care, free education, interest-free loans, and cost controls on food and gas. So, naturally there were plenty of people (outside of Libya) who wanted him dead.”
    I have not heard anyone discuss these as bad things about Libya. I think blowing up airplanes, discos, etc. may have been the bad things that got people mad at Qadaffi. Many other oil rich countries or socialist countries provide many of these things. If they do not support terror, murder, and the like few people care. I don’t hear too many cries to overthrow the Kuwaiti, Danish, or Norwegian (or US) government for their similar policies.

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