"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thoughts on Libya

The dithering of Obama on Libya has now evolved.   American planes are flying over Libyan airspace, helping set up a "no-fly" zone over the country, and American cruise missiles are targeting key Libyan anti-aircraft sites.   Is it too late to help the rebels overthrow Gadaffi?   Maybe.  Do we even want to overthrow Gadaffi?   Do we want "regime change" in Libya?  If so, who are the rebels that we're helping?  Are they freedom fighters?  Are they Islamofascists?   Do we know?  Do we care?   Or is the goal simply to whack Gadaffi around for a few weeks to make ourselves feel better? 

If we really want to overthrow Gadaffi (Qadaffi?  Kadaffi?... it's so hard to keep these things straight), what exactly are we willing to do?  Commit ground troops?  Nation-building?   I don't think so.   But, then, what exactly is it that we're doing?  I don't think Obama has thought through this at all.

And, finally, what is it about this "war" that makes it appropriate that wasn't also the case for Iraq, which Obama famously opposed?   A Middle Eastern dictator?  Check.  Killing his own people?  Check.  Sitting on oil that matters for the West?  Check.   A history of sponsoring terrorism against Americans?  Check.  A history of flaunting the UN?  Check.   A history of trying to develop weapons of mass destruction?  Check.  So, why exactly is Obama for doing this, but was against the Iraq War?   What's the distinguishing principle?  I haven't heard one, and I haven't really heard anyone in the mainstream media ask Obama this question.  

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