Thursday, March 17, 2011

The U.N., Libya, and the U.S.

Let me go on record here saying that it is a bad mistake for the U.N. Security Council to authorize member nations to use “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians from attack by Qaddafi's forces. It seems that "member nations" means us:
With the recent advances made by pro-Qaddafi forces in the east, there was a growing consensus in the Obama administration that imposing a no-fly zone by itself would no longer make much of a difference and that there was a need for more aggressive airstrikes that would make targets of Colonel Qaddafi’s tanks and heavy artillery — an option sometimes referred to as a no-drive zone. The United States or its allies might also send military personnel to advise and train the rebels, an official said.

In the most strident verbal attack on Colonel Qaddafi to date by an American official, Mrs. Clinton said Thursday that the Western powers had little choice but to provide critical military backing for the rebels. “We want to support the opposition who are standing against the dictator,” she told an applauding audience in Tunisia on Thursday. “This is a man who has no conscience and will threaten anyone in his way.”

I am appalled, first, that the Obama administration would consider undertaking yet another middle eastern war without even a debate in Congress, let alone a vote. And I ask the questions we need to ask at the beginning of any war: what is our goal? How will we know we have achieved it? When will we leave? How are we going to pay for whatever it is that we are going to do? I foresee either humiliation, with the rebellion collapsing quickly despite our last minute intervention, or unending quagmire. Suppose our air strikes stabilize the situation with Qaddafi holding half the country and the rebels holding the other half? What will we do?

This is just bad.

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