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On Libya

[ 120 ] March 19, 2011 |

Posted these basic thoughts on twitter a few hours ago, but they deserve a little development.

I really hope that things go super awesome in the new war in Libya. I hope that the rebels win, and I really hope that a democratic state emerges.

I really hope that if they win, the rebels don’t start fighting each other. I really hope that they don’t settle scores with a blood purge of Gaddafi loyalists.

I really hope that the new regime isn’t fatally delegitimized by the Western intervention. I really hope that Gaddafi’s supporters don’t put together a bloody insurgency that lasts for years.

I really hope that if everything goes to shit, the French and British will catch at least some of the blame. Larison notwithstanding, there are some pretty important differences between how this coalition came together and how the Iraq coalition was assembled. I really hope that in the future, people will be able to do more of the “contrast” and less of the “compare” with regards to Iraq and Libya.

But then, as they say, hope is not a plan. And it’s really fucking unclear to me that anyone has a plan. And so now we’re in it, and we’ll see what happens.

Comments (120)

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  1. lawguy says:

    So it turns out that it is war that is the triumph of hope over experience.

  2. Watchman says:

    What I don’t get is why the French pushed for an intervention so damn strongly from the beginning. They don’t exactly have a history of hasty and ill-thought colonial adventures (unlike *some* countries I think we all could name) and I for one don’t know of any particular “national interest” that might suddenly make Paris want to see Gaddafi cut down to size.
    And Paris doesn’t really do charity, far as I know. So what’s their angle?

    • timb says:

      Africa has been France’s interventionist playground for decades. Usually, they support the bad guys over the less bad guys (or in the case of Rwanda, help the bad guys escape from the less bad guys). Libya has oil and the French like throwing their weight around in Africa. That’s their angle

      • Watchman says:

        Back in the Eighties when the Libyans finally collapsed totally in Chad the French actively *prevented* their victorious Chadian sort-of allies from potentially overrunning right into Libya proper, I’ll remind you. And Gaddafi hasn’t been giving them (and/or their sphere of interest) too much trouble after that either.

        Nor is Paris, AFAIK, wont to start overseas wars “just because”; when they do it tends to be in pursuit of some specific, practical goal. (Maintaining influence in their former colonies seems to be a common thread.)

        So I would say that didn’t really answer much anything.

    • dave says:

      “They don’t exactly have a history of hasty and ill-thought colonial adventures”

      Hahahahahahahaaa! Ah-hahahahahahahaaaa!

      Cheers, best laugh for days,

      Yours, a historian.

    • Fred Z says:

      The French invaded, and re-invaded as often as possible, much of North America. There is a stretch of cities and towns with French names clear over to Pend d’oreille Idaho.

      The French have been trying to destabilize Canada for years in the hopes of re-gaining Quebec. That prick Charles De Gaulle came to Canada in our centennial year, 1967, and made a speech calling for the freedom of Quebec. Many Canadians believe the French secret service assisted our own domestic terrorists who planted bombs and murdered a few people.

      Under Napoleon the French invaded everywhere. More recently we have Suez, Angola, Algeria, Vietnam. Oh yeah, right, that used to be “French Indochina”. They blew up the hippies on the Greenpeace “Rainbow Warrior” in New Zealand. OK, well, I liked that one.

      It’s a damn good thing that France has Germany on one side and England on the other because the French are and always have been restless, sharp, expansionist and interventionist.

    • memomachine says:

      Hmmmm.

      Vietnam.

      Dien Bien Phu.

      Algeria.

      Really. You want to go there?

  3. Anonymous says:

    They don’t exactly have a history of hasty and ill-thought colonial adventures (unlike *some* countries I think we all could name)

    That is a joke, isn’t it? Because from context is appears you might have actually meant to claim this.

    • DocAmazing says:

      Algerie Française!

    • Watchman says:

      Eh, the 1800s colonial adventurism that netted them Algeria (and for that matter Indochina) worked right fine and there was nothing hasty or ill-thought about it. Their later efforts to stubbornly *hang on* to those in the face of massive popular unrest were not the most brilliant of moves, but cannot be considered “hasty” either (and all the colonists settled there kind of counted into it too).

      But how many bloody clusterfucks they’ve gotten themselves stuck in after that? ‘Bout none, far as I know; their colonial games over the decades have sometimes been rather costly in treasure, but hardly in lives – given their tendency to let locals do most of the fighting and bugging out ASAP.

  4. newrouter says:

    “I really hope that if they win”

    “To a teleologist, socialism is obviously the way things should be. The ideal socialist utopia is such a pleasing image that it must be the way to go. Never mind that every time socialism has been tried, it has always failed badly; empirical results don’t matter to a teleologist.”
    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/19/wanting-and-doing/

  5. Scott Lemieux says:

    I’m so old I remember when our trolls could at least figure out what the post was arguing.

    • Holden Pattern says:

      Or at least what they’re arguing themselves.

      • timb says:

        He’s a Goldsteinian OUTLAW. They don’t speak the language. They speak the “I’ll use pretty words and random philosophical terms to hide the resentment I, as a white man, feel in American society.”

        They carry euphemism to such a height that if euphemism accidentally fell, it would shatter into a such a vile screed of hatred about the other that the hosts of Stormfront might complain

      • BigHank53 says:

        Well, one thing the word salad has going for it ease of identification. Much easier to ignore when you can recognize the stench five words in.

    • gocart mozart says:

      Lets all throw Nerf footballs on Meade’s lawn.

      [Relax Meade, that was not a death threat.]

    • Rarely Posts says:

      Would LGM please post a generic recommendation and request that people not respond to Meade? He never seems to understand what anyone else is saying, and I’ve never seen responses to him improve the quality of the discourse. Instead we all end up wasting a lot of time and energy. It would be a specific application of the rule: “Don’t feed the trolls.”

      • timb says:

        No way. Watching others bash Meade is the highlight of my day.

        Meade is a like a super troll and, as such, watching people make fun of him does, IMHO, add to the discussion

        • DrDick says:

          He is rather a low hanging fruit cake who opens himself to unrelenting ridicule. the fact that he responds with truly epic non sequiturs (often unwittingly confirming the arguments against him) is rather endearing as well.

        • Rarely Posts says:

          It does add humor to the discussion, but it also distracts us from discussing the truly difficult and interesting issues raised by these posts. In my opinion, LGM is at its best when it makes me think. Meade and the responses to him do not make me think much at all. Moreover, the more stupidity and snark in a comment section, the more likely I am to respond sloppily and snarkily. Not entirely a bad thing, but less than ideal.

          Of course, I’m just providing my two cents. I’m going to try to drop it now.

          Finally, to try to apply the rule that I’m proposing and move to substance; I take it that Farley’s point is something along the following lines:

          He has a lot of misgivings about the United States taking military action in Libya. A number of bad things seem likely to happen in Libya, and we don’t know how to avoid those things. However, the United States has committed to military action, so as a commentator, he feels it’s appropriate to hope for the best for the United States rather than protest the military action that we’re taking. (“And so now we’re in it, and we’ll see what happens.”).

          My reaction to these events is similar. I felt the same way at the start of the Iraq War. I went to a number of protests prior to the initiation of the War, but I stopped going once the War started, and I only started going again several years later. Basically, I tend to think that anti-war protests HURT the anti-war cause in the United States once the country is already at war (at least for the first year or so of conflict). A huge amount of the populous seems to have a knee-jerk response against anti-war protesters in times of war; arguably, it’s better to let the populous become weary of the war on its own, rather than provide a big anti-war group to hate on and distract them. I’m curious what others think.

          I’d also say that one huge difference between this and the Iraq War is that events in Libya forced a decision in a way that events in Iraq really didn’t. We had to act now (or at least soon) or the rebels would be defeated and the window of action would close. In contrast, the Iraq War had no true urgency to it coming from the ground (in fact, the presence of U.N. Weapons Inspectors on the ground eliminated the false urgency created by Bush). This difference also helps justify the Obama Administration’s moving ahead without Congress; timing really mattered here. I still have misgivings about it though.

          • DocAmazing says:

            A huge amount of the populous seems to have a knee-jerk response against anti-war protesters in times of war; arguably, it’s better to let the populous become weary of the war on its own, rather than provide a big anti-war group to hate on and distract them.

            This assumes that popular opinion has much influence on Congress or the President (it does not appear to until election time rolls around, at which time the media has their Shiny Object Amnesia Induction program in full swing) and it assumes that Joe Sixpack and the whole Sixpack family give a shit in these post-draft days.

            Maybe I’ve been reading too much Andrew Bacevich and Chalmers Johnson, but I’m not seeing much vox populi in our military policies in the past few decades.

            • Rarely Posts says:

              I’m probably drawing too big a lesson from the Vietnam War; it’s just interesting that a lot of older people are still angry about anti-war protesters regarding the Vietnam War, but I rarely hear any such anger with respect to anti-war protesters to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

              In any event, if public opinion doesn’t influence military policy (a proposition that may be true), protesting war is simply unproductive, as opposed to counter-productive.

              • DrDick says:

                There is also the fact that Vietnam war protesters got substantial media coverage, while there seems to be a general media blackout on covering protests against our current clusterf**ks. Hard to get upset about something you are not even aware of.

              • DocAmazing says:

                If you look at the way anger is stoked in the Fox-viewing population, protestors against the Vietnam war are demonized for having stabbed the troops in the back und so weiter; by contrast, the Fox view is that the protests against war in Iraq and Afghanistan never happened, or were tiny and insignificant and limited to Berkeley and Santa Monica and Taos.

                Again, part of the Shiny Object Amnesia Induction protocol.

          • Holden Pattern says:

            Also, it’s “populace” that’s the noun, meaning “people living in a specific place”.

            “Populous” is an adjective meaning “full of people”.

            Homophones, but not synonyms.

            /pedant

  6. Larry Piltz says:

    Bosnia in the sand? Kosovo with a coast?

    King Juba’s revenge?

    I have no idea what that last one could mean but I’ve always wanted to use a Juba reference in a comment here.

    USA. USA. USA.

  7. timb says:

    Not that I’m in the Colonel’s corner or anything, but, if you are a non-Western country and you are in West Asia or Africa, do you have sovereignty? This is a civil war we’re taking part in. Why?

    Maybe I’m wrong, and I am certainly not the political scientist half the people on this blog are, but, if I’m say Morocco, I’m only sovereign in this sense that my immigrants are an annoyance to EU countries, but I am not allowed to put down a coup in my own country.

    Again, not rooting for the Colonel, just wondering what the hell we are doing

    • joe from Lowell says:

      Isn’t that where the U.N. authorization comes in?

      • timb says:

        Securrity Council resolution by the aforementioned EU countries, China, Russia and America. The exact countries which scream about sovereignty in their own borders, but see loathe to grant it when there’s a little country having internal dysfunction

        • joe from Lowell says:

          Actually, the U.N. Security council contains more members that the United States, China, and Russia.

          But so what? The agreement of the United Nations for a military action has long been seen as legitimately authorizing actions the impose on national sovereignty.

          Sovereignty is a principle of “international law,” and so is the legitimate authority of the U.N. to authorize actions. You can’t make an appeal to sovereignty, which is grounded in the international legal system, and then act as though another aspect of the international legal system doesn’t matter or is illegitimate.

        • elm says:

          The EU countries scream about sovereignty in their own borders? I would hope the irony in that statement would be self-evident, but apparently not.

          Also, here are the countries that voted for the resolution: U.S., UK, France, Bosnia, Columbia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, S. Africa. Here are the countries that abstained: China, Russia, Germany, India, and Brazil.

          So, all of the Muslim and African countries supported this. Many of those countries you accuse of hypocritical sovereignty did not support it (though they did not prevent others from going forward with the action.)

          The level of international support for this action is much broader than that of Iraq and I think that reflects the belief that it is appropriate for the UN to intervene in ongoing civil wars. (Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda (poorly), Timor, etc.) Whether such action is wise strikes me as a case-by-case question as some of the interventions have been spectacularly poorly conceived or executed but some have been successful.

          Obviously, I’m rooting for the latter, but this all seemed to happen so quickly, I suspect the outcome will tend more towards the former.

    • Red Jenny says:

      Modern international law is based on opposition to two Nazi tendencies: You can’t invade another country, and you can’t massacre the inhabitants of your own country. When does preventing genocide permit aggressive war? AFAIK that line has never been clearly drawn, but U.S. Presidents claim to know it when they see it.

      • Robert Farley says:

        joe is right; UNSC approval effectively makes it legal under international law. Sovereignty is not absolute, although timb is correct that in practice weak 3rd world countries tend to get their sovereignty abrogated.

        • timb says:

          I didn’t mean it was illegal. I meant what the hell is sovereignty nowadays?

          • DrDick says:

            Sovereignty is what rich white nations (along with China and Japan) have in fact and poor brown nations have in theory until it is inconvenient to the interests of the former group.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            what the hell is sovereignty nowadays

            Where “nowadays” means “since the end of WW2,” the answer is, subject to United Nations action.

            • timb says:

              Not true, Joe. Ask the Palestinians and the Israelis. Ask the Serbs (or did I miss the UN Resolution, which is not snark, because I don’t remember one), ask the Rwandans (or at least the Tutsis) or the South Africans.

              UN resolutions and actions have only the power of the West behind them and, when the West decides it wants you to shut the hell up, you better shut up.

              Essentially, if you are a West Asian or African country, and you attempt to use your sovereignty within your own borders, you risk a NATO diplomat or American jetting into your country and saying “Nice corrupt system you have going here. be a shame is something happened to that future exile/retirement in Switzerland wouldn’t it?”

              Maybe I just don’t know much about Libya to determine if genocide is going here, or maybe the biography on Octavian I’m reading is making me immune to mass internal slaughter?.

            • George W B says:

              Sovereignty means just that – that they’re sovereign, sovereign entities. And have all the sovereign rights that sovereigns have.

  8. Rob -

    Are you concerned about the fact that Congress didn’t play a role in the decision to go to, ah, war? See http://pileusblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/congress-and-the-use-of-force-in-libya/

    If Bush had done this, wouldn’t some parts of the Left be killing him for a “neoconservative” war declared without authorization from Congress? Nice to see the left-right alliance of Larson, Kucinich, and Lugar making this case.

    Can we at least get a conservative-liberal-libertarian coalition together in favor of the democratic process when it comes to uses of force?

    Grover

    • Robert Farley says:

      “If Bush had done this, wouldn’t some parts of the Left be killing him for a “neoconservative” war declared without authorization from Congress”

      On the straightforward legal/constitutional question, it’s clear from precedent that Obama is acting within his powers; even if we accept the constitutionality of the war powers act he’s still within his powers. “Some parts of the left” may not have understood this, but too bad.

      On the wisdom of seeking Congressional approval, and of building public support, you’re on more solid ground.

      • Yes, as I note in my blog post, I understand why Congress isn’t standing up for itself (and I should add that I know you are right that precedent supports Obama). However, like many scholars of USFP, I think that we’ve been going in the wrong direction for some time on this issue, both Constitutionally and prudentially (and the Court has been pretty lousy on these issues IMHO).

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Yeah, I’ll try to post on this tomorrow if I get done with grading, but Obama’s actions (while likely bad as a policy matter) are well within current constitutional practice. I do think that an actual land war should require congressional authorization.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            Agreed.

            Going all the way back to the 1700s, the President was allowed to use the Navy, but the Army required Congressional authorization to send overseas.

            It’s a boots-on-the-ground thing.

          • Fritz says:

            Barack Obama, noted Constitutional Law professor and Noble Peace Prize winner:

            “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

            Heh.

        • timb says:

          Ding ding, ding. Right on target

      • I posted this below but wanted to make sure you saw it:

        By the way, apparently Senator Obama would have opposed President Obama: “‎The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Senator Barack Obama, Dec. 20, 2007. HT: Marginal Revolution which cites this: http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/CandidateQA/ObamaQA/

        • hv says:

          Given the divisive and partisan atmosphere that Obama has continually faced, I think it is safe to assume that all previous forms of kabuki, however imprudent, will be maintained.

          I am not an Obama fan, but I completely understand why he is not willing to expend any political capital to reform supreme court nomination process, or USFP process, etc. Some of those things can only be changed in a congenial environment. If you want them changed, start taking down the names of the un-congenial.

  9. Oops, meant to say “making the case for a Congressional role”

  10. patrick II says:

    it’s really fucking unclear to me that anyone has a plan.

    Life war is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

    No one was expecting this sudden breakout of demonstrations throughout the middle east. Khadaffi’s response demonstrations was reprehensible and could have yet turned into genocide. You can’t plan for everything that might happen in an unknowable future, but inaction is an unplanned choice to the unknowable, unforeseen events every bit as much as action is.

  11. Virgil Lanty says:

    You can’t plan for everything that might happen in an unknowable future, but inaction is an unplanned choice to the unknowable, unforeseen events every bit as much as action is.

    Yes! And if we don’t have a plan, it can’t go wrong!

    It would have been kind of nice if the Obama administration had taken its case to Congrss for authorization, wouldn’t it? I mean, they’ve only had a month.

    And it would be nice if someone clearly explained what our objective is. What’s the criterion for “OK, we’ve accomplished our goal, we can stop now.”

    I’m not necessarily against this action, but I wish Obama and his people would tell us and our allies why we’re there, what we hope to accomplish, and how we’ll know we’ve won.

    Oh, have you heard? Gadhafi’s got WMDs! Yeah, that’s the ticket!

    • joe from Lowell says:

      Wait, “tell our allies?”

      This is pretty much our allies’ show, with us going along with what is mostly a French, British, and Italian initiative.

      • Virgil Lanty says:

        For that matter, what are our allies’ intentions? They’re enforcing a no-fly zone, right? So why are the French strafing tanks? Are they shooting at those kewl new flying tanks?

        • joe from Lowell says:

          They’re enforcing a no-fly zone, right?

          That’s only one section of the resolution.

          There’s also this:

          Protection of civilians

          4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;

          NATO is strafing tanks that are in position for the attack on Benghazi.

    • patrick II says:

      My point is that doing nothing can lead to unforeseen results every bit as much as doing something can. Does everyone have a plan for what happens if Khaddafi commits genoccide? Or his actions lead to a wider war?
      Mr. Farley’s objection is that we should not go to war without a plan, and it would be stupid to say we should have a plan whenever possible, (and I am sure there are general military and political strategies that are being applied), what I am saying is that unseen events happen, you have to make your best judgement with imperfect knowledge, and move forward — but acting or not acting can be equal in their potential for unknowable results.

      • patrick II says:

        Of course that should read:
        it would be stupid to say we should not have a plan whenever possible,

        • Virgil Lanty says:

          I think we’re using the word “plan” to mean different things.

          I’ll repeat my question: What’s the criterion for “OK, we’ve accomplished our goal, we can stop now.”

          And if the insurgents win, and turn out to be worse than Gadhafi … then what?

          • dave says:

            Let the Israelis nuke ‘em.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            And if the insurgents win, and turn out to be worse than Gadhafi … then what?

            1. And if George W. Bush wins the election, then what? Yes, Virgil, democracy involves a leap of faith at a certain point. The “wrong people” might end up in power. Of course, the odds of the rebels putting in someone as bad as Khadaffy, being less than 100%, still make their ouster of Khadaffy worth backing.

            2. While we aren’t going to be in a position to install “our guy” in Libya, like Bush tried and failed to do with Chalabi in Iraq, having given support to the rebels in their time of need will give us influence with them in case of their victory.

            3. Frankly, the fact that this isn’t a Guatemala 1950s-style engineered coup to put “our son of a bitch” in power is a good thing in my eyes.

            Let me leave you with this: when Pat Buchanan said, of the Egyptian protesters, that they were skeery Muslims whose future actions weren’t under our control, and therefore, the possibility that they might win was troubling, he was roundly mocked around these parts. Even a week ago, was anybody bad-mouthing the Libyan protesters?

            What changed?

            • DocAmazing says:

              No one called in air strikes on the Egyptian military.

              This has been etc.

            • Virgil Lanty says:

              And if George W. Bush wins the election, then what? Yes, Virgil, democracy involves a leap of faith at a certain point. The “wrong people” might end up in power. Of course, the odds of the rebels putting in someone as bad as Khadaffy, being less than 100%, still make their ouster of Khadaffy worth backing.

              So an armed revolution, by some segment of the population whose goals are unclear, is “democracy”? Jebus!

              I’m not talking about someone as bad as Gadhafi, I’m talking about ending up after the revolution with a regime worse than his, by any reasonable point of view. Here, have some names: Zimbabwe. Democratic Kampuchea. The Union of Myanmar. The Islamic Republic of Iran. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

          • patrick II says:

            I think perhaps the word you are looking for is “goal” or “end result”. To me a plan is how you get there.

            A week ago the Japanese had no plan on stopping a nuclear meltdown after their backup pumps were inoperative — because that was their plan. They had a goal however — no nuclear meltdown. The plan evolved as events happened and different things worked or did not — helicopters, water cannons, fire engines, running a six mile cable for electricity to turn back on the pumps.
            Inaction would have ended in a nuclear disaster worse than Chernobyl. They took the best seat-of-the pants plan they could, went with it and adjusted as they went along.
            You are right in that they had a clear goal though, and you are right to ask what is ours in Libya.

  12. Virgil Lanty says:

    Tell our allies what our intentions are. We’ve been sending out mixed signals for a month. President Obama said Gadhafi “must” go, weeks ago … and then did what?

  13. In the case of using force (leaving aside the immediate defense of the homeland), I think the slow pace of Congress may lead to more thoughtful decisionmaking — and this is exactly what the Founders wanted. But even if the slow pace is a problem, shouldn’t we still respect the rule of law in clear cases in which US national interests narrowly defined are not at risk?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      You raise an important point here. Have you read Holmes’ The Madtador’s Cape? We seem to have entrenched the idea that the processes that make good policy have to be abandoned in the case of foreign policy (even in non-emergency situations), but the merits of this position are extremely dubious.

    • Some Guy says:

      The President is well within his rights to order troop movements and take military actions, in the short term, without the approval of Congress. This is the case precisely because congress is not speedy, and there are times when action can not wait for them.
      Since war has not been declared, you don’t have a point.
      Also, it’s been, what, two, three weeks? Not like he ordered a Normandy landing on day two.

  14. Thanks. No matter the President in power, all “liberals” broadly defined should be worried by the imperial presidency.

    I haven’t read that one (but will now upon your suggestion). I’ve always enjoyed Louis Fisher’s work (http://www.amazon.com/Presidential-War-Power-Louis-Fisher/dp/0700613331/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300600355&sr=1-4).

    By the way, apparently Senator Obama would have opposed President Obama: “‎The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Senator Barack Obama, Dec. 20, 2007. Source: Marginal Revolution.

  15. DocAmazing says:

    Wow. This is what deMeadeification looks like.

  16. Woodshedder says:

    So you banned Meade? Chicken.

  17. grateful_red says:

    Let’s just take a prominet constitutional scholar’s critque of the Iraq war and see how well it applies to Lybia…

    “That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

    Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein Gaddafi . He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

    He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

    But I also know that Saddam Gaddafi poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi Lybian economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi Lybian military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    I know that even a successful war against Iraq Lybia will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

    I know that an invasion of Iraq Lybia without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda.

    What I am also opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove Barack Obama to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock oil market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.”

    Yep… fits like a glove. Well spoken Mr. Obama, well spoken.

  18. Scott Lemieux says:

    There’s a rank odor here. Smells like burning straw.

  19. joe from Lowell says:

    Actual contrasts:

    Libya – U.N. sanction, support of our allies.
    Iraq – Coalition of the Billing

    Libya – action in support of, and in concert with, a substantial local force
    Iraq – Initiation of conflict by entirely foreign forces, no involvement of locals in the fight

    Libya – No American boots on the ground
    Iraq – Hundreds of thousands of American boots on the ground

    Libya – No plan to occupy or colonize
    Iraq – Years-long occupation, installation of permanent bases to replace those in Saudi Arabia intended from the beginning

    Libya – Case presented to the American public based on reliable information.
    Iraq – cynical manipulation of the public using faulty intelligence to push bogus pretexts for war

    Libya – likelihood of producing an improvement in the humanitarian situation
    Iraq – do you think the Lancet’s numbers are a little high, a little low, or about right, Meade? I think they’re a high, a little bit.

  20. SRFord says:

    Scott, you have been pnked

  21. DocAmazing says:

    With rusty pnking shears?

  22. Skammlaus says:

    Of course Meade’s just stalking-horsing around on behalf of his better half. Althouse has a new spin: ineffectual Obama being led around by Hillary and her war-hawks. Predictably, Taylor Marsh has picked up that ball and is running with it.
    No discussion about the complexities and limitations surrounding the choices; no light shed on potential outcomes. Only position bolstering.

  23. Tess says:

    Did he start commenting here after the marriage? Or has he been around since the “all internet traditions” guy?

    hmm – maybe he is the “all internet traditions” guy.

  24. Skammlaus says:

    …see what I mean?

  25. joe from Lowell says:

    Why despicable and indecent?

    Are you saying that, should this go badly, the British and French shouldn’t get most of the blame, but rather, we should?

    This is their show, a lot more than it’s ours.

  26. JIm says:

    Hey Meade: Don’t you have something better to do- like hitting on coeds over at the capital.

  27. Tess says:

    Or yell at the kids to get off the lawn.

    The odd thing is — he never reveals his own position. What does he think about Libya? I assume he’s mostly interested because hippie bashing and is entirely uninterested in discussing foreign policy decisions.

  28. Tess says:

    sorry – late night bad editing.

    Meade’s a “hippie basher.” (And he sees imaginary hippies under his bed — the psychological projection is sort of interesting.) Anyways- hippie bashing interests him far, far more then foreign policy.

  29. Virgil Lanty says:

    Libya – No American boots on the ground

    Libya – Case presented to the American public based on reliable information.

    Libya – likelihood of producing an improvement in the humanitarian situation

    Oh my. Well, I guess we’ll see about those, won’t we?

  30. bgates says:

    Libya – U.N. sanction, support of our allies; opposition party sees no need to slur the allies
    Iraq – U.N. sanction, support of our allies; opposition party saw need to slur the allies

    Libya – action in support of, and in concert with, a substantial local force, whose motivations are completely opaque to us
    Iraq – Initiation of conflict by entirely foreign forces, no involvement of locals in the fight, since we asked them to do that once before and then watched as tens of thousands of them were massacred

    Libya – No American boots on the ground at the end of Day 1
    Iraq – Hundreds of thousands of American boots on the ground

    Libya – No plan
    Iraq – Years-long occupation, installation of permanent bases to replace those in Saudi Arabia intended from the beginning

    Libya – Case presented to the American public based on reliable information, which we know at the outset because Obama is the God of Truth
    Iraq – Multifaceted case for war involving the value of a representative government in the Arab Islamic world, Saddam’s known record of supporting terrorism and ongoing efforts to obtain WMDs, and our intelligence services’ consistent underestimation of his progress, reduced by simpletons into “Bush Lied!”

    Libya – hope things will get better
    Iraq – things got better

  31. Anonymous says:

    Iraq – U.N. sanction, support of our allies

    Wow.

  32. timb says:

    Iraq – U.N. sanction, support of our allies; opposition party saw need to slur the allies

    I thought it wouldn’t get funnier after the idea that the UN sanction was voluntary and that Poland is a strong ally. BUT, he did get funnier. No, I thought his concern for the Iraqi people was even funnier. Now, arguably, the contention that an Iraq ruled by an American puppet government (whose opposition Parties are mostly surrogates for the Iranians), replete with a smashed infrastructure, a million displaced people, ethnically cleansed towns and cities is “better off” depends on who you are asking. Americans sure like it better.

    Some of them are even dumb enough to call it a success. Why are you so unpatriotic, bgates? Why are you rooting against American sailors and airmen?

  33. joe from Lowell says:

    Iraq – U.N. sanction, support of our allies

    You lie! Why would you even write this? Why not just put in a header, “I’m Full of Crap?”

    Iraq – Initiation of conflict by entirely foreign forces, no involvement of locals in the fight, since we asked them to do that once before and then watched as tens of thousands of them were massacred

    …because we didn’t provide the support we’re now providing to the Libyan protesters, and which we successfully provided to the Kurds for almost a decade.

    Libya – No American boots on the ground at the end of Day 1

    …and an affirmed policy of not putting any boots on the ground. In glaring, undeniable contrast to Iraq.

    Libya – Case presented to the American public based on reliable information, which we know at the outset because Obama is the God of Truth

    I was able to find lie after lie in Bush’s case for invading Iraq, months before the war even started.

    So, do you have even the slightest evidence that anything Obama has said is dishonest? By all means, throw it out there.

    Otherwise, it just looks like you’ve struck a faux-worldly pose and decided that Obama must be JUST LIKE BUSH for no other reason than because it’s what you want to believe.

    Saddam’s known record of supporting terrorism and ongoing efforts to obtain WMDs

    Good night, Gracie.

  34. Scott Lemieux says:

    ongoing efforts to obtain WMDs

    Yeah, that was really the argument at the time. “There’s some possibility in the future that Hussein might obtain some mustard gas! We must invade right fucking now!

  35. joe from Lowell says:

    No, we don’t have to “wait” to see if Libya is different from Iraq re: American boots on the ground. We already know there is a huge difference.

    No, we don’t have to wait and see if the case presented for intervention in Libya is different from that for invading Iraq. We already know the protests were real, unlike the WMDs. We already know the Libyan military is slaughtering civilians and using air power and heavy weaponry in a horrifying manner.

    As for the third one, the massive death toll occurred in Iraq, if you’ll recall, from the sectarian civil war that broke out between Sunnis and Shiites, who’d been goaded by anti-Shiite terrorism conducted for the purpose of creating that civil war. In other words, we went into a country that was more or less at peace, although government horribly, and turned it into a war zone.

    Libya is a war zone. We aren’t bringing war to that country. That, all by itself, is an important humanitarian concern.

  36. joe from Lowell says:

    Saddam’s known record of supporting terrorism and ongoing efforts to obtain WMDs

    Written in 2011.

    Wow.

  37. Virgil Lanty says:

    Gosh! Since everything has already turned out according to plan, then we don’t have to waste our time speculating about what might happpen. Let’s move on to solving the next world crisis.

  38. SteveAR says:

    Hi ya, joe. I see you’re just as big a fucking liar as you’ve ever been.

    Don’t ever say you are anti-war, because you clearly aren’t. All you’re doing is hypocritically promoting the “narrative”: Democrats good, Republicans bad; Democrat wars good, Republican wars bad.

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