Sunday, April 10, 2011

Resistance Is Futile

Drop leaflets before you bomb. This idea has been floating around since 1870, when the French tossed the following message, written in German, on Prussian troops from a balloon: "Paris defies the enemy. The whole of France rallies. Death to the invaders. Foolish people, shall we always throttle one another for the pleasure and proudness of Kings? Glory and conquest are crimes; defeat brings hate and desire for vengeance. Only one war is just and holy; that of independence." We don't know if NATO or the United States did the same favor for their Libyan targets over the past couple of weeks, but we do know that Muammar Gaddafi lobbed his own missive across the ocean at us in the form of a three-page request that we stop bombing his country. It was the second letter to Barack Obama, asking him to halt the NATO military campaign against Libya, while wishing him success in his 2012 re-election bid. The Libyan leader referred to Obama as ''our son'', and said his country had been hurt more morally than physically by the NATO bombings. He also repeated his claim that his domestic enemies were members of al-Qaeda. For about four dollars, the Colonel has made his next move in what he no doubt assumes is a battle of wills that he will no doubt win. Sure he's nuts, but you have to admire Gaddafi's chutzpah, if that term is appropriate. He's spending a few bucks to open a hailing frequency, in the time-honored tradition of Captain James T. Kirk. Our cheapest smart bomb runs about twenty thousand dollars, so he's got himself quite a deal there. I don't think the Obama administration will suddenly rethink their mission and cancel all operations in Libya, but for a few minutes, that letter did kick up a little sand. I wonder if Obama wrote him back...

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