Dear NATO: Make Up Your Mind!

By YeOldeScribe ~ June 10th, 2011 @ 12:37 am

Maybe we’re a bit jaded when it comes to the coalition known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We really can’t respect any group that was born out of a kindergartener’s mentality. NATO came into existence because there were those evil communists in Western Europe who were poised to attack at any moment, and  they would soon form the Warsaw Pact. So all of “good” Europe banded together (along with the US, because why wouldn’t you want the most badass military on the planet fighting on your side?) and agreed that should the commies ever decide to move East, they’d all whoop the crap out of the Reds until they were blue in the face. (The pun is even funnier when you find out the NATO flag happens to be blue.)

But these days, there’s one glaring problem with NATO: there’s no evil commies to fight anymore. I mean, you’ve go Cuba, but they haven’t counted since Khrushchev removed those pesky little nukes from the island, and especially not since Fidel Castro’s health took a turn for the worse. And sure, the Chinese are still socialist, but we do business with them more often than we do with our own country, so they don’t really count either. And yet not only does NATO still exist, they’re sill making headlines. But don’t worry, it’s for all the wrong reasons.

You’ll recall that recently, President Obama pushed off the responsibilities for the Libyan war onto NATO in an attempt to get around the War Powers Act (something we’ve already stated was illegitimate). Since NATO has taken over the operations, they haven’t been making headlines because they haven’t really been doing anything. At all. And that’s half the story of NATO’s existence:  peace by intimidation. That’s the whole reason why NATO exists in the first place: It was like a flashing neon sign that said “Hey commies, don’t mess with us!” Nowadays, not much has changed: NATO gets more done with deterrence then they do with actual fighting. Another analogy is that NATO is the US’s/Europe’s attack dog – it’s kept on a leash, but you’re still scared enough of it that you stay away from anything it protects.

That analogy is great because if NATO is kept on a leash, that means one person is holding onto the end of it. You’ve never seen a group of people holding onto a single dog leash – it doesn’t happen like that. In the end, one person has the power in that relationship, and the same thing is true for NATO. And ironically, the US is the one holding the leash – even though NATO was essentially created to protect Europe from invasion. Historically, this has always been the way of it, too. Sure, in the early days of NATO (the 50’s and 60’s), the US might have paid more attention to what the UK thought, but these days, NATO is for all intents and purposes controlled by the US.

The problem with that is the US frequently abuses that power. If a president has something he wants done but doesn’t want to dirty his own hands by using the US Armed Forces, then he’ll have NATO do it. The recent Libyan invasion is a perfect example – Obama didn’t want to be accused of fighting three losing wars at once, but realized how important it was to stop Gaddafi, so he stuck NATO on the job. It’s really not fair to the people who serve under NATO, because they’re being treated like a branch of the US Armed Forces without the benefits that come with it. On top of that, if the US doesn’t want NATO to do something, it doesn’t get done – end of story. We can almost guarantee that you’ve never heard of a time when NATO took an action the US disagreed with. The US is basically the tail wagging the dog that is NATO – so maybe NATO is more like an ugly lap dog than an attack dog.

But our qualms with NATO aside, it’s time for them to step up to the plate. NATO decided yesterday that Gaddafi was a legitimate target in the war to protect Libya. So let’s get this straight: NATO forces have been in Libya for over a month, and we’re just now figuring out that we can target the commander of the Libyan Army? Really guys? What’s next on the agenda: deciding if you’re going to give your soldiers guns to shoot the enemy with or not? How could you be in a war for more than a day and not decide that a man who has committed mass killings, condoned rape and promoted crimes against humanity can be targeted? Why did that decision take so long? And more importantly, what has NATO been doing in the meantime? The troops can’t attack if they don’t know who to target, and if we haven’t even decided if the leaders of the military can be attacked or not, we can’t imagine they’ve looked far enough ahead to know what they’ll do if they ever catch Gaddafi or if he’s killed/steps down. And we all know how awesome it is to invade a country and then not have a plan for its rebuilding efforts (or if you don’t, just ask the people of Iraq and Afghanistan).

The US and NATO both have gone back and forth on this issue of whether Gaddafi needs to step down, be corralled, or just left to his own devices. Now it seems we’re back on the warpath of forcing him out. Political Progressives is fine with that decision, but if that’s the route we’re going to take, then let’s stick to that plan and get it done. It’s idiotic that we haven’t been able to kick Gaddafi out yet, and embarrassing too. If a couple of guys on Twitter and Facebook can remove a leader in Egypt, why can’t a few guys with guns do the same thing to someone who permits and applauds crimes against humanity in his own country?

In short, NATO (and the US): make your decision and get the job done. The only reason this war hasn’t ended is because you’re playing politics with soldiers’ lives, and that’s never a good idea. Let’s decide what the job is, do the job, help the people of Libya, and get our troops out so true rebuilding can take place.  Anything less is putting politics ahead of the lives and well being of not only Libyans, but our own troops, too.

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