Friday, October 28, 2011

War in Libya (ROUGH DRAFT)

Kathryn McDermott
Professor Lutz
English 151
October 31, 2011
Involvement in Libya

          Two of my very close friends, Sarra and Muhamed are both Middle Eastern but both live here in the United States. Muhamed visits his homeland every year, but recently it has been tough for him to make the trip knowing that his life would be in danger where he comes from. Libya is currently in a national war, trying to get their leader, Moammar Gaddafi, out of power. The Libyan citizens are being torn to shreds, shot at, and are not living a good life. The United Nations heard this news and decided they needed to step in to help. The question that now arises is if we are doing our job and benefiting Libya? Or are we causing more harm than good?
          The first step to understanding whether our country is helping or harming the war is to apprehend the war itself. The Libyan government, especially Gaddafi, is causing the war in Libya.  First of all, Gaddafi runs Libya in a dictatorship manor, everything the country does revolves around him, and no civilian dares to question his authority. The civilians are revolting against their leader as much as possible by protesting and rioting. However, Gaddafi is stopping the rebels using authority and force; ending uprisings, killing protestors, and going as far as threatening to cancel scholarships of his people choosing to study in the United States. This video shows protestors and the police involvement.

          Now that the background is clear, I want to focus on what other countries are doing to aid the war, starting with the United States. The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, stated in her speech on February 21, 2011 "Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed". The United States knew from that point on that the country needed to take action. Former ambassador and Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, stated in an interview on March 22 that the United States had two goals: to protect Libyan citizens, and remove Gaddafi from power. These goals sound ideal, very helpful and a simple way to end a national war. However, President Barak Obama contradicted these goals in his speech on February 23. Obama mentioned the unacceptable bloodshed and violence throughout the country, he spoke about protecting the Libyan citizens, but never mentioned Gaddafi himself. Obama said that his major priority is to protect American soldiers who are in Libya, rather than protecting the Libyan citizens who are in danger, or working towards removing Gaddafi from power. The United States made it clear that they wanted to help, but by voicing contradictory views, the country's intentions are left unclear. However, that is only the case with America. Other countries and organizations have clear outlines of goals and show them through direct action on the cause.
          In March of 2011, the United Nations authorized the use of force to protect Libyan citizens, which is the first time the UN has invaded a functioning country for such purpose. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) donated medical supplies to hospitals, and worked to move needed equipment to nearby hospitals (Dean, Kendall-Raynor). By sending those supplies and providing the necessary care, ICRC greatly helped the wounded citizens and injured soldiers who were there to help. Even after all of the help and support, Gaddafi's actions remained unknown and unpredictable. The public remains scared, and lacks a sense of security, so they continue to protest and riot, going as far as burning down public buildings, and rallying with degrading signs, as pictured below.
Sergey Ponomarev/Associated Press

World Bulletin
          So did we do the right thing by sending troops? There are mixed feelings throughout the country, some pro-war, and some who think we should have held back. Many people doubt the humanitarian motive in war these days because the United States is involved in so many oil producing countries, so it is normal that a plethora of citizens are skeptical of our association. Barak Obama began sending troops to Libya on a short 60-day mission since he knew they were in imminent danger. The soldiers werepaid an extra $225 a month until they passed the 60-day period when Obama decided to keep the troops in Libya and send more over. People were irritated by Obama's unclear intentions, and were anxious to find out if their country had a plan. This was established by the further actions the United States took in Libya. The U.S. urged the UN to establish a no-fly zone over northern Libya and to take all measures necessary to protect the civilian population. This action began to show both American and Libyan citizens that the U.S. was trying to make a difference and help with the war. Throughout the war there were many different opinions on the steps that the United States was taking to help, so which opinion correlated more with the results?
          Gaddafi was captured on October 20th, 2011 and killed on that same day. This obviously removed him from power, but it was not the ideal end to his life. The goal was to capture Gaddafi, not kill him. He was a cruel leader and many thought he deserved a life of punishment rather than to be killed. However, when the rebels had the chance to be more powerful than Gaddafi himself, they took full advantage of it. He was captured outside of his hometown, Sirte, and shot with the intentions to keep him controlled for questioning and punishment. Regardless of the intentions, that was not the result; rebels got ahold of him and beat him practically to death, he was then dragged into an ambulance and shot in the head. People were heard shouting to keep Gaddafi alive, but the majority of the civilians exclaimed with joy and participated in his beating. I agree with the people who urged to keep him alive; yes, Gaddafi performed horrible actions but it would've done greater damage to keep him alive with punishment than to kill him. Also, I disagree with the way he was killed. No human should be dragged on the ground and beaten and shot to death simply because he is disliked. So yes, it is good that he is out of power, but I think the way that it was handled was unfair and too cruel. If this event happened again, I would want the result to be different.
          The war in Libya was brutal, in the six-month civil war 30,000 people died, 50,000 injured, and 4,000 are still missing. These statistics disgust me, knowing that innocent people died because of the cruelty of their leader, and then in return, the remaining citizens killed their leader. This whole story is twisted, where did the United States even come into play? If Obama is going to spend the time and money sending troops to war, why not do it with clear intentions? Why send them with unclear goals knowing that they would be in extreme danger? And not even including the goal of capturing Gaddafi, the root of the problem? The war had only been going on for approximately a month before the U.S. sent troops and in that time frame we had no idea what the war would turn into or when it would end without interference. I think we should have waited to see further progress in the country itself, and then spend the time and money to put our troops in danger to help save the lives of others. After deciding whether or not to send forces, decide on goals, and make them clear to the fighters and the citizens of both countries. If there is no debate on what the action plan is, then send troops to benefit the greater good. However, if there is debate between what the country should do, then no person's life should be put in danger for a "just in case" situation. I am not against sending troops to better a situation, but in this case I do not think the government handled it in the best way. 


  1. 1.) Does the essay make a clear argument?
    -Yes it is clear what the argument is in this essay
    If so what is the argument as you interpret it?
    -Obama only wants to take care of the American soldiers over in Libya instead of worrying about the Libyan citizens who are in danger or how to get Gaddafi out of power.

    2.)Find one sentence that you think best describes the thesis of this essay
    -"So did we do the right thing by sending troops to Libya?"

    3.)Based upon questions one and two, what are the supporting points that your partner offers to support their argument?
    -Barack Obama began sending troops to Libya on a short 60-day mission since he knew they were in imminent danger.
    -In March of 2011, the United Nations authorized the use of force to protect Libyan citizens, which is the first time the United Nations has invaded a functioning country for such purpose.

    4.)Does the article provide plenty of level-1 abstractions (examples) to support their argument? If so please list your favorites.
    -Yes I thought that there were a lot of good examples. When you talk about Obama and how he goes against his plan to help Libyan citizens definitely stood out to me. What also stood out was when you talked about the International Committee of the Red Cross donating medical supplies to hospitals and worked to move needed materials to hospitals.

    5.)Does the article provide a detailed history of the problem so that the reader clearly understands who was involved, what happened, when and why?
    -You did a good job of providing who was involved and what has happened but I think you need to add a little more of the history and why this all came about.

    6.)Is the significance of all videos and images clearly explained in this essay? If not make note of some examples.
    -Yes every photo and video is clearly explained.

    7.)Are there any claims in the essay that you are skeptical of? If so why?
    -I understand all claims made in this essay

    8.)Are there points in the essay that you found to be particularly persuasive? If so, why?
    -At the end when you describe how horrible the war in Libya was it really struck me because I was unaware of how bad it really was.

  2. 1) Did you agree with your partner’s interpretation of your argument/thesis? Is there anything they may have overlooked? Is there any way to revise your argument to make it clearer?
    - I think she well understood my argument
    - I need to revise my "thesis" to make sure that somewhere in my essay I have a clear stated thesis

    2) Did you find your partner’s feedback to be helpful? Why or why not?
    - Yes, it made me go back and look through how some things I say can be misinterpreted and also let me know I should add more history/background

    3) After reading your partner’s feedback, what is the first thing you want to revise about your essay?
    - Definitely my thesis. I know now that my thesis needs to be made clearer to best represent my argument

    4) What is your argument as you would define it?
    - My intended argument is that we need to be more careful and better planned when sending our troops to war