"Well, then – you ask – why not help the Libyans throw off the yoke of Gadhafi’s tyrannical rule?
I come up with five distinct albeit interrelated reasons (my readers are invited to add to the list in the comments below):
Because the moment we intervene, we’ll own what’s going on in Libya – just like we own Iraq.
Because we can’t afford it, either financially or militarily.
Because there are no half-measures in war.
Because we don’t know who we’re supporting.
Because actions have unintended consequences, and actions taken by governments are almost guaranteed to boomerang."
"The Financial Times cites French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe as saying "it was an important and historic moment for the UN to stand up against dictators willing to attack their own people to stifle democracy. ‘If we did not do what we are doing now, we would be ashamed.’" As the Arab Awakening challenges the power of the Arab League – a sorry collection of monarchs and assorted despots – the true extent of Messr. Juppe’s shamefulness will stand revealed, in all its shameless glory.
The Benghazi bubble – the high expectations of the rebels, and the Western public – is bound to burst. It’s only a question of when. Gadhafi has real support in Tripoli and among some of the southern clans. As the West gets drawn into an increasingly complicated civil war, and the omens of disaster fly overhead, there is still time for President Obama – or Congress – to pull us back from the brink."
Libya’s Slippery Slope
"There are no half measures in war. Sooner rather than later, the President is going to have to decide if the US wants to commit US forces to Libya in a big way. “Days, not weeks,” is a fantasy. The Libyan rebels have now been placed under our protection: we are the champions of their cause. From protecting Benghazi, we are already well on our way to establishing yet another American protectorate in the Middle East. The empire expands, even as the economy shrinks, and one has to wonder: how long can this go on?
Americans, in voting for Barack Obama, voted for less intervention, fewer wars, and the prospect of real change in our foreign policy of global intervention. They didn’t sign on to a “team of equals,” and nobody asked them if they wanted American foreign policy turned over to the Clintons.
The President will live to regret the day he allowed himself to be nagged into ordering US military intervention in the Libyan civil war. Gadhafi is not just a clown, he’s a dangerous and sinister clown: to get in the ring with this madman is a mistake. Gadhafi will goad and lure him and his Amazons ever deeper into the Libyan quicksand, until there is no hope of early extrication. Now that the US and its allies are involved, the Libyan despot can play the anti-Western, anti-imperialist card with some credibility: this will shore up his previously waning support in the west and the south.
It is indeed going to be a long war, one that will cost us much more than we can ever hope to gain."
Liberals March to War
"Bush, too, assured us “the locals” would be supportive: remember how we were supposed to be greeted as “liberators,” and showered with rose petals? Except it didn’t quite work out that way.
As for the “humanitarian” nature of this intervention, I have my doubts. Obama’s rationale for military action is that
“Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Qaddafi would commit atrocities against his people. Many thousands could die. A humanitarian crisis would ensue. The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners. The calls of the Libyan people for help would go unanswered. The democratic values that we stand for would be overrun. Moreover, the words of the international community would be rendered hollow.”
The emphasis is mine, and it illustrates just how completely enslaved to the Bush Doctrine the current administration really is. For the essence of the Bush Doctrine was and is the principle of preemption: for the first time, the United States was saying to the world that it would not only respond to actual threats but to any potential threat anywhere in the world. The Obama Doctrine takes this one step further, and says that we have a responsibility to protect not only our own alleged interests, but also the interests of peoples vulnerable to potential violence directed at them by their own governments. Bush told us Saddam was “killing his own people,” and now Obama is telling us Gadhafi could possibly kill “many thousands” of Libyans."