Dear Arab League: You asked for this, now shut up


**Posted by Phineas

I’m not sure what the Arab League had in mind when they asked the West to establish a no-fly zone and protect civilians in Libya from Daffy Qaddafi’s air force. What, they thought we’d just buzz around and Qaddafi’s goons would quail and cower at our sheer moral authority?

Now that they’ve gotten what they asked for, they don’t like it:

The Arab League is criticizing the international air assault on Libya, a week after asking the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone on the North African nation.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said Sunday that the United Nations’ implementation of the no-fly zone on Libya has gone beyond what the league wanted.

He told reporters in Cairo that the league wants to protect civilians, not bomb them.

Time for a letter:

Dear Secretary General Moussa,

Can I call you Amr? We can talk honestly, right? Look, dude, you asked the UN –which really means the West, which really, really means the United States– to stop the Mad Colonel’s planes from hurting civilians. That means we have to use our warplanes to do it. You with me so far?

Trouble is, said Libyan Lunatic has spent many billions over many years building up a very good air defense system, which he would surely use once our planes started flying over his sovereign country and not letting his air force fly. Not that I like Qaddafi or sympathize with him, but that’s just how things are. And that means the planes of my country (and France and Britain) are in danger. So, in order to enforce the no-fly zone –you know, the one you asked for?– we have to go in and break Qaddafi’s air defense systems.

And that means, Amr, dropping bombs, firing cruise missiles, and blowing things up. You may have noticed we’re really good at blowing things up; it’s the Western way of war, and my country has made it an art form.

But, no matter good we are at it, war is still a messy business and civilians tend to get killed when things go boom. Maybe Qaddafi was using them as a human shield, maybe we hit a wrong target, maybe they were civilian workers at the sites attacked, or maybe they were just damned unlucky and were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Regardless, it sucks when innocents are harmed — but it is also inevitable. That’s why we in the West are reluctant to go to war; we know there is no way to make it perfectly clean. Things get broken, innocent people die.

You’re an intelligent guy, Amr, and you must know this too. So sit back, be quiet, and let us do our job.

You asked for it.

EDIT: Fixed a broken link.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)