So, no. Libya is not Iraq, or Afghanistan, or any other country. Libya is Libya, and while I hope Gaddafi is gone and everything works out, I still do not think we should have been involved. I don’t care if you disagree, but I think I have some good reasons why we should have stayed out of this. Reasons that go beyond “You just hate Obama” or “You are just an idiot and Obama is smarter than you” or “You can’t tell the difference between Iraq and Libya.” Hell, I’m not even getting in the way of the pom pom waving and USA foam fingers- “OBAMA GOT BIN LADEN AND NOW GADDAFI,” mainly because I can’t grok the dissonance between the following statements:
“We’re really not involved in the Libyan hostilities” and “OBAMA JUST PWNED GADDAFI USA! USA! USA!”
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then:
President Obama was deeply wary of another military venture in a Muslim country. Most of his senior advisers were telling him to stay out. Still, he dispatched Mrs. Clinton to sound out Mr. Jibril, a leader of the Libyan opposition. Their late-night meeting on March 14, 2011, would be the first chance for a top American official to get a sense of whom, exactly, the United States was being asked to support.***
Libya’s descent into chaos began with a rushed decision to go to war, made in what one top official called a “shadow of uncertainty” as to Colonel Qaddafi’s intentions. The mission inexorably evolved even as Mrs. Clinton foresaw some of the hazards of toppling another Middle Eastern strongman. She pressed for a secret American program that supplied arms to rebel militias, an effort never before confirmed.
Only after Colonel Qaddafi fell and what one American diplomat called “the endorphins of revolution” faded did it become clear that Libya’s new leaders were unequal to the task of unifying the country, and that the elections Mrs. Clinton and President Obama pointed to as proof of success only deepened Libya’s divisions.
Now Libya, with a population smaller than that of Tennessee, poses an outsize security threat to the region and beyond, calling into question whether the intervention prevented a humanitarian catastrophe or merely helped create one of a different kind.
The looting of Colonel Qaddafi’s vast weapons arsenals during the intervention has fed the Syrian civil war, empowered terrorist and criminal groups from Nigeria to Sinai, and destabilized Mali, where Islamist militants stormed a Radisson hotel in November and killed 20 people.
It was a bad idea then, it’s been proven to have been a disaster, and we are poised to nominate two people who possibly support aggressive intervention always as our policy of choice (Hillary maybe, whatever Republican definitely). That is something that should be talked about.
Also amazing is how much of the commentary here that was pro-invasion was basically ad hominem “You’re a fucking idiot who learned the wrong lessons from the Iraq war” and “Obama isn’t Bush this will go better. Ahh, partisanship. Read the archives- it’s all there for you to enjoy, just like all the ragingly stupid shit I said from 2000-2005.