When I hear the phrase “rebel fighter” it conjures up images of Star War’s Luke Skywalker fighting the evil empire. So that must mean we are on the right side of this Libyan “kinetic” action, right? Perhaps. In regional conflicts as in most things in life, the facts surrounding them are not one dimensional or even two; they are complicated. On the one hand we know that without intervention Qaddafi will continue to massacre his own people-he actually told us he would. If the US is able to thwart another madman from killing thousands of his people, many say that we are obligated to intervene. On the other hand, we are bogged down in three wars (including the War on Terror that our administration denies exists) and we are broke. Before we risk more US lives and treasure on yet another Middle East escapade, it might be wise to learn a little more about these so-called rebels we are rescuing.
The chief opposition to most Middle-Eastern despot’s are not very Luke Skywalker-like—they are Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and their ilk. The National Review’s Andy McCarthy and others have been researching some of the ignoble characters in the Libyan opposition. One example is a Libyan leader Abdul Hakim al Hasadi, a recent “guest” of the US Marines in Pakistan. Hasadi proudly says that he was picked up after leaving Afghanistan where he was fighting the foreign invaders (us). He was eventually handed over to Libya in 2008. Although he claims to oppose terrorism, he is no friend of America. He is not only a violent Islamist; he is one who boasts of his conscription of some twenty-five fellow “rebels” to kill the “American invaders” in Muslim lands. Did I mention that Hasadi belongs to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is an al-Qaeda ally? Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy to aid and abet this “rebel” doesn’t it?
In contradistinction to upstanding citizens like Hasadi is this story. I have a 60 year-old patient, we’ll name him David C, who has worked for a myriad of oil companies. His latest deployment happened to be just south of Benghazi eight months ago. After he recalled for me his harrowing trek last week through the desert to escape Libya on a British warship, I asked about the people of Libya. David has read my book, Re-United States and he well understands the concept of Islamism. He finds the people of Benghazi to be “decent, very friendly to American’s and definitely non-Islamist”.
No doubt the truth about these rebels probably includes each of these paradigms and everything in between. So where does this leave us? Wishful that the more secular, freedom-desiring young Libyan “rebels” will win out over the Jihadist’s? Hopeful that our intervention to save Arab lives will curry favor in the Muslim world? Or resigned that many Muslims will continue to despise us and that the Islamists will fill every vacuum we create?
I don’t know the answers to these questions but of this I am certain. We should have negotiated that at $0.6M-$1.2M a pop for Tomahawk missiles, we be reimbursed our expenses. Why are we funding the liberation of yet another oil rich Arab nation from its tyrannical dictator? It would be nice to retrofit that agreement to Iraq as well. I for one would endure the image of impropriety for hundred’s of billions of dollars returned to the national coffers. Whoever said that freedom is free?