POLITICAL observations & opinions

* unless things change dramatically and quickly, the U.S. attack on Libya will have been a huge mistake …

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 23, 2011

UPDATE … AP reports (3/23/11) …

  • President Barack Obama Wednesday categorically ruled out a land invasion to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as coalition forces launched a fifth day of air strikes against government military targets in the North African nation.
  • And Obama said the U.S. this week will be pulling back from its dominant role in the international campaign aimed at preventing Gadhafi from attacking civilians.

LMW COMMENT … but what then?

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Libyan rebels wave their flag on top of a wrecked tank

 

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David Ignatius writes in the Washington Post (3/22/11) …

  • On the eve of retirement, Defense Secretary Bob Gates is a man who takes pleasure in saying things that are true but impolitic.
  • When legislators were talking about a “no-fly zone” over Libya as if it were a painless remedy, Gates pointedly warned this would be a military attack.
  • Gates said his initial concerns about the no-fly zone were overcome because of Arab support for it: “Had the Arab League not voted that, there might have been a different outcome, both at the U.N. and our own decision.”

read the entire article at … http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gates-underlines-the-dangers-in-the-middle-east/2011/03/22/ABYhTMDB_story.html

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LMW COMMENT …

  • Bob Gates was right the first time, and his change of heart may be attributed more to loyalty to the president than to a revised evaluation of the facts.
  • It seems to me that President Obama was unduly influenced by Hillary Clinton and her guilt over the massacres in Rawanda during the Clinton administration. They both should have listened more carefully to Gates.
  • The Arab League is already moving away from what was at best a tepid endorsement. No Arab plane has been flown, no Arab bullet fired, and it seems highly unlikely that any ever will.
  • I am appalled that we have injected the U.S. into the middle of what seems to be a civil war, with our side, the rebel side, basically leaderless and clueless.
  • Now all this could change, and change quickly.
    • Perhaps other nations will take over the monitoring of the “no-fly” zone.
    • Perhaps Ghadaffi will resign … although that will probably require a safe haven that will be a political nightmare.
    • Perhaps the Egyptian army and air force, so powerful and so close, will participate.
    • Perhaps it will be in the end the limited humanitarian mission the President says it is.

But I wouldn’t bet on anything good happening.

To me, it looks like a terrible mistake.

  • There are bad guys all over the world, doing terrible things. We sympathize with people living under such leaders, but we have no right and no resources to go to war in all such cases.

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