As the bombing of Libya escalates, those who supported the attacks might want to ask themselves the following questions: What is next?
The death toll will mount and so will the structural damage to the country. Regardless of the hatred for Gaddafi, there will be inevitable resentment from Libyans upset at seeing the invaders of Iraq and Afghanistan target another Arab country. If the bombing does not work and Gaddafi continues to wage war against the rest of his country, will our intervention have helped or made the already bad situation worse? Do we then ‘stay the course’ to ensure freedom for the Libyan people?
These are questions that have yet to be answered by the authors of this new war, echoing the moral certainty of Bush and Blair and the disregard for public opposition.
Obama’s decision to involve the U.S. smacks of a cynical attempt to boost his popularity at home by appearing tough — an age-old trick used when the economy is in the doldrums and nothing appears to be working politically. Obama’s pledge to use the military sparingly when in power seems to be another one of his campaign soundbites crafted to appeal to a war weary population at the time, but completely disposable when political opportunism arises. It is a sad use of his gifts and one that may have tragic consequences because the decision to go to war with Libya may not pan out in Obama’s favor. He may have moved to fast, too soon. Writes Andrew Sullivan:
As we have learned from Iraq and Afghanistan, war is rarely quick, and it is never easy. The ramifications of Obama’s move may seriously affect his ability to win in 2012 if it goes wrong, and it doesn’t appear that he has an exit strategy from a political or military point of view.
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