“We will be greeted as liberators” is the spirit of those urging President Obama to intervene militarily in Libya. Where have I heard those words before? Mmmmm, lets see if I can remember. Oh, that is right, in Iraq…..seven years, thousands of American lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives ago. And where did we not intervene militarily? Mmmmmmm, oh, I’m starting to remember. Yes, Egypt. Of course. We left it to the people of Egypt to have the dignity and pride of their resistance.
Are there things we are doing and should do to help bring down Qaddaffi? Certainly. But it is an extraordinary testament to the militarization of American foreign policy that we would actually be hearing cries about Obama’s failure and moral blindness because he has not shown “leadership” in Libya. Never mind that this is exactly what Qaddaffi wants. It is exactly the narrative that he has fed his people for decades and would be exactly what would lead him to do even worse damage to the civilian population of Libya. It is also exactly what Al Quaeda would love to see us do. It would take away the horrible embarrassment that they have faced in seeing thousands of peaceful Muslims do to autocratic regimes what they claim as their call to do violently if suddenly the “Great Satan” were to interject its “crusader forces” into the affairs of a Muslim country.
It is a sign of the desperation of those urging military answers that they compare Libya to Rwanda during the genocide there. With all due respect, sorrow and sympathy to the innocents in Libya, there is absolutely no evidence that what is happening in Libya is remotely on the scale of genocide.
Thankfully, President Obama is receiving counsel from Robert Gates on this. Gates just the other day said that anyone wanting to repeat the experience of Iraq or Afghanistan should “have his head examined.” I know that people will say that this will be much simpler than those two countries, but unfortunately that is what people said about those two invasions, particularly Iraq. I am with Gates on this.
Thankfully, today’s news is hopeful. The New York Times is reporting that Qaddaffi made “little headway” in his attacks on rebel forces. Lets trust those rebel leaders when they say “the latest attacks by Colonel Qaddafi’s supporters smacked of desperation, and that the failed assault on Zawiyah, a city with important oil resources just 30 miles from the capital, raised questions about the ability of the government to muster a serious challenge to the rebels’ growing power.”