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Following are excerpts from Dagbloggers on the Libya intervention from March through 1 June. Who got it right? Who got it wrong? What do the naysayers of a few months ago say now?
In my opinion Obama did make the right call here. He insisted the Europeans take the lead in aerial operations as they have done for months through NATO. Although there has been a large loss of life, NATO has not lost anyone, and a fanatical dictator may be close to removal without US 'boots on the ground' with no US casualties. The 'ragtag' rebels are in the streets of Tripoli, not the Marines.
Why are the Republicans (and Dagblog) dead quiet on how this conflict has gone?
Following are passages from the linked Dagblog pages:
Why We Shouldn't Intervene In Libya
by destor23 3/16/2011
...The first is that U.S. soldiers will surely die in the effort..... In Somalia, in the 90s, we had aircraft shot out of the sky by rag tag militias. The battle to extract trapped soldiers was so fierce that it was memorialized in the book and movie Black Hawk Down.......Of course, the idea of sticking it to Gadhafi and using military magic to free an oppressed people has a certain appeal...
by Destor 3/16/2011
I'm going to throw in a real politik concern that you didn't mention in your column. Many experts are skeptical that a no-fly zone will stop Gadhafi's advance in any case. If the no-fly zone failed to stop Gadhafi, what options would that leave us?
by Destor 3/16/2011
If the no-fly zone failed to stop Gadhafi, what options would that leave us?
b) A crazy, oil-rich Arab despot who hates us (again)
I used to be more idealistic in my beliefs about the benign use of U.S. military power, but I've come to believe that short of stopping genocide, intervention costs too much (in money and lives, ours and theirs) and produces too little.
by Genghis 3/16/2011
I'm generally wary of saying a military operation will or won't work since I'm just guessing. But, boy... the people who say it will work don't have the best track records of accuracy by my accounting.
by destor23 3/16/2011
1. The slippery slope: As Gates and co. keep saying, a no-fly zone implies taking out Libyan air defences -- an act of war. Plus, nothing says a no-fly zone tips the balance. Gaddafi's forces are on a roll, and I think it will take trained, organized, well-equipped boots on the ground to stop them. Who's up for that? Because the alternative might be having a no-fly zone in effect, and nobody left alive to protect.......
by acanuck 3/16/2011
I guess I take the narrow focus on American lives and treasure........
by destor23 3/16/2011
Seems to me that they have a giant military that they need to keep busy.
by Donal 3/16/2011
Nobody with any smarts in the international diplomatic community is going to send out a laissez faire or isolationist message at this time. Doesn't mean they plan on doing anything , they just have to sound like they might, depending on what happens. Because sounding like they might do something could do a lot just in itself. I think they are watching what happens and they have to be ready to do all kinds of things.
by artappraiser 3/16/2011
I don't want the US to put troops in Libya. And I doubt that a no-fly zone would be effective......I also wish that Barack Obama hadn't shot his mouth off about how Gadaffi "must go" and "must leave now" - not if he wasn't prepared to back up his talk with action....
by Dan Kervick 3/16/2011
Obama made a big mistake by saying that. Maybe he made a backroom offer of that island that Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos lived on for his retirement and thought Gadhafi would go for it? Or, more likely, he heard Republicans criticizing him for his silence on the issue and he fell right into their trap. Again.
by destor23 3/17/2011
I've argued pretty consistently (above, and on related threads) against U.S. intervention in Libya. One of my basic assumptions was that China and/or Russia would veto any no-fly resolution at the Security Council. But there's been a flurry of activity at the UN, with reports of a possible vote as early as this afternoon, and a change in tone from the White House and State Dept. That suggests China and Russia may have signaled they'll abstain, or at least not exercise their vetos. That changes things a lot; legality still carries a certain amount of weight.
by acanuck 3/17/2011
If Sarkozy wants to act, pay the bill and face his own voters, fine with me.
But I'm pretty sure that the US will wind up doing everything and paying for it.
by destor23 3/18/2011
Iraq to Libya, from tragedy to farce?
by David Seaton 3/20/2011 - 1:59 pm
And if he holds out defiantly against a combination of the classic imperialists: the US, French and British, for even a few weeks, he'll have the whole third world on his side.
We may end up making him the most popular leader in Africa.
by David Seaton 3/20/2011
...the rebel forces were a joke anyway...they never stood a chance. They're nothing more than an angry mob with access to some weapons, lacked a coherent plan and are paying the ultimate price. Josh Marshall wrote a piece on his blog...Just a Bad, Bad Idea...and here are some of his points:
* First, insurrections like these by poorly organized rebel forces depend hugely on momentum and the perceived weakness of the leader.
* The turning point came when Qaddafi stabilized the front moving into western Libya. Once that happened, once he'd halted the momentum toward collapse, it was very bad news for the rebels because as we've seen Qaddafi had all the heavy weapons and command and control on his side.
* Second, it's difficult for me to distinguish this from an armed insurrection against a corrupt autocrat that looked to be winning and then lost.
* This is ugly and it's brutal but a lot of people getting killed in a failed rebellion isn't genocide. It's not. And unlike situations where violence can destabilize the larger region, in this case our presence seems more likely to destabilize the larger region.
by Beetlejuice 3/20/2011
If France, Britain, Italy, the Arab League (at least for a day), and war hero John McCain said stop the guy's murdering mercenaries I don't think Obama could defend the guy. Of course we can't afford it, but at least there is major participation by other countries.
by NCD 3/20/2011 - 3:41 pm
I could readily be convinced that we shouldn't have participated in Libya .....but convincing me has to be based on reality and not by another story from my favorite ex-pat who loathes his country.
Bruce by bslev 3/20/2011
I don't see where the supplies are going to come from (for Gadaffi) to keep this going for as long as everyone is worried about.
by kgb999 3/20/2011
While we engage in armchair generalship, let us remember that even if all the contestants finally have to fight with sticks and stones, Qadaffi's people appear to be professionals: better organized, better trained, with real sergeants etc... and remember that the mercenaries are making more in a day than they would earn in a year in their home countries, with fatter rewards to follow if they win and certain death to follow if they lose. Terrific motivation for a sub-Saharan corner boy.
by David Seaton 3/21/2011
Wouldn't cruise missiles and F-16s change the risk/reward calculus considerably?
by kgb999 3/21/2011
Sorry to disagree, but closeup infantry combat, clearing houses etc, is mostly about good training and good sergeants, that and hand grenades, of course. I think they will be able to clear Benghazi of rebels with the stuff they have.
by David Seaton 3/21/2011
Libya, Obama, and the Just War Theory
Barack Obama's decision to join the attack on Libya is very much of a piece with his Nobel Prize acceptance speech....
Doctor Cleveland 3/23/2011
There are both good and stupid arguments in favor of intervening in Libya, and both good and stupid arguments against it. I think it's pretty obvious that any no-fly zone in Libya, or any destruction of the Libyan air force, is about regime change. And that works for me, in this case, on these facts, at this moment, though it would have worked better a week earlier.
by Articleman 3/23/2011
I find it actually worrying that the US can increasingly go to war without it costing anything in terms of blood or treasure. The drone-bombings in Yemen and Pakistan, for instance - no one cares...
by Obey 3/24/2011
The Ongoing Lies In Libya
by destor23 5/31/2011
....NATO has decided that there will be no ceasefire until Qaddafi steps down. But that's partly because the Libyan rebels will accept nothing less than that. If he stays in power, they keep fighting. Since they're the civilians that NATO was sent to protect, that means NATO has to keep fighting too. In effect, NATO is now an arm of Libya's rebellion. What bothers me about this is not NATO taking sides against Qaddafi, it's that these rebels in Libya, with unclear political agendas, are really making the policy decisions for NATO, while citizens of NATO countries will get stuck with all of the costs.
America's citizens never had a public debate about supporting a military action to depose Qaddafi.....America should have been told right from the start that the purpose of these operations was to push Qaddafi out of power. NATO should ask the UN for a new, more honest, resolution. The President should seek Congressional approval for this new goal......
by destor 5/31/2011
I am still wondering what Qaddafi did to alienate global bankers enough that they so openly sided against him. A functional central bank requires access to the global banking system.
by EmmaZahn 5/31/2011
I'm not convinced it will be long either. I've been hoping from the start that we peel off the inner circle and the key tribes from around Gaddafi, and wrap this thing the hell up. The problem is, there's no guarantee on that, and every day it lasts means more death, which means more anger afterward, more retaliation, etc....
by quinn esq 6/2/2011
I agreed with intervening to protect Benghazi. Then we should have stopped......
by Flavius 6/1/2011
LATEST NYT: TRIPOLI, Libya — Rebels surged into the Libyan capital Sunday night, meeting only sporadic resistance from troops loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and setting off raucous street celebrations by residents hailing the end of his 42 years in power. The rebel leadership announced that insurgents had captured two of Colonel Qaddafi’s sons.....