March 25, 2011

THE CLOSING ARGUMENT ON LIBYA

I would like everybody to forgive me for slipping out of any clothes that could be considered comfortable to dress in the persona of Alan Shore of Boston Legal fame and address those who have been consistently givign us every argument under the sun about why Libya is like Iraq, why the intervention is like the War on Terror, why it is too costly, why it is unconstitutional and why we should have done nothing.

Please bear with me now.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard many things over the past few days, but mainly you have heard that our country is at war again. War! Hell, what is it good for, right? Other than, uh, yes, obviously the arms merchants, the arms manufacturers and my personal favorite, the oil industry. Yes, war is good. War is great., We should all have one, every now and then, sometimes two, take them and call me in the morning. 

That's the American way, isn't it? Bush told us that. Cheney taught us that. War, ladies and gentlemen, is something that we should do, because it weeds out our poor, our niggers and spics, yes, let them fight the good fight, let them go boldly where no American has ever gone before! 

War. Huh. Doesn't seem to be a time I can recall when there wasn't one going on everywhere. Good wars. Bad wars. As long as there is one, somebody will be for them, somebody against them. And somebody who dies. That's the truth. In the end, that is always the truth. People dying.

So, no more war, right? Say it with me! No! More! War! Yes, you too, all the way in the back. I can't hear you. Speak up! No! More! War! Good... now only the women. Yes, that's what we on the Left have always said, right?

There must be better ways! There must be political ways! And you know that it must be true, because right now even our friends from the Republican side of the aisle are joining this call. Senator MCain doesn't want us to go to war! Congress doesn't want us to go war! We have finally learned our lesson!

War is always bad. War is always for oil. Michael Moore was right, you can hire ten teachers for a single Tomahawk missile that is currently raining down on, what was that country again? Oh, I am sorry, really sorry, there seem to be so many of them.

Libya, is it? Yes, Libya. One of those countries that every American Beauty Pageant Queen would have trouble finding on a map. Well, her and Sarah Palin, but I do have it on good authority the latter is working hard on finding Kenya in case it might come up in the election against that Muslim Communist who has brought us there.

To Libya. Where there are no terrorists. I mean, I have seen the images, you have seen the images, no terrorists there, no caves either, I thought we only go after guys in caves, and these people, they have houses and streets and cell phones. They're kind of like us, bit more brown maybe, but trust me, I have seen browner on the streets of Miami, and we're not going to war there, right?

Libya. Could have, would have, should have, that's what brought us there. Because we kept on telling people around the world to stand up, to speak up, to stand for freedom. Of course, we never really thought they would listen, so hey... surprise! 

They did. They did listen and they spoke up, beginning in Tunesia, then in Egypt, then in Libya. And we got lucky. We got lucky twice by the fact that in those countries the military refused to shoot at its citizens, and boy, were we happy! And boy, was that good television or what? Me, I haven't seen a good party like that in, well, actually I have never seen anything like that.

But not in Libya. In Libya, they rose up. And they spoke up. And were bombed down. Some of them by weapons we gave that guy who runs the country, and if that isn't ironic, nothing is. And we talked when we should have listened. And we listened when we should have acted.

While they began to die.

Because... war? Can't have that, not again, not us, we done our fair share of bombing, and we have a bit of a reputation in these parts, see, people generally don't like to be bombed. Best to talk about it, first. And we did. In backroom meetings. On the phone with other leaders. We talked. While they died.

While we failed. And here's that moment, ladies and gentlemen. Here's that moment when it counts. When you have to make a call. When I want you to think. It is Friday morning, and the last free city of Libya is surrounded.

By tanks.

The city's name is Benghazi. Remember that. Because it will be a name to be remembered. For what we are going to do there. Or for how much we will fail its citizens.

And they are screaming. And they are afraid. And they are begging. I want you to listen. Can you hear it? There's a mother holding her child and hushing it, knowing that they will have only hours. 

Yes, that is right. Hours. Not months, not weeks, not even days. It is Friday morning, March 18, and they have only hours left before the troops of a madman will enter the city and slaughter them. For what we consider to be so unverisally true that we put it in our constitution.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But it is Friday morning, and happiness has given way to hope and hope given way to hopelessness. And they are alone. It is Friday morning, and they are brave and they give each other smiles and they give each other hugs and comfort, fearing that each one of those may be the last.

It's Friday morning, and your Chiefs tell you that this might get messy. And your political advisors will tell you that this might lose you the election next year. War. Hell, yeah. What is it good for? Best not to do anything. There's no strategic value here. There is nothing to win. There's everything to lose.

War. We can call it something different, we can call it intervention, we can call it military action, but in the end, that's what it will be. War. Your generals tell you that there's no exit strategy, that there are one million things that can go wrong, including but not limited to the death of your own soldiers.

And for what?

It's just one city. Benghazi. You wish you'd never heard of it. You'd wish it was in the Sudan or in the Ivory Coast or in China, where there is no spotlight, where you could look away, because the rest of the world looks away with you.

But it's here. And they have hours. And a million things can go wrong.

But there is one thing that is certain. They will die. Everything else, whatever your critics will tell you, whatever may go wrong, those are possibilities. This one here, this is certain.

They will die.

And you will be remembered. By those who watched them die. By those who knew that you could have saved them. That you could have done something. By going to war.

It is Friday morning, and you will have to make that call. You'll have to weigh the possibilities against the one thing, that single thing that is certain. It no longer matters how we got to this point, no longer matters what could have been done before, what should have been done before.

It is Friday morning. And you think about those young men and women who went out onto the streets because of something we told them, because they believe in something we once believed in.

And who are willing to die for it.

Make the call. And remember, that this decision will define what you are. As a human being. Who the man is you will have to face in the mirror from this moment on. Yes, that is right. War.

Sometimes, this is what it's good for.