Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On Libya - will the third Mideast war be the charm?

I never thought I would type the words "I agree with Josh Marshall", as he has always struck me as a snarky, close-minded ideologue who cares way too much about the daily combat of talking points inside the beltway and too little about economics and empirical evidence. But today, I do.

Here are his closing paragraphs:
So let's review: No clear national or even humanitarian interest for military intervention. Intervening well past the point where our intervention can have a decisive effect. And finally, intervening under circumstances in which the reviled autocrat seems to hold the strategic initiative against us. This all strikes me as a very bad footing to go in on.

And this doesn't even get us to this being the third concurrent war in a Muslim nation and the second in an Arab one. Or the fact that the controversial baggage from those two wars we carry into this one, taking ownership of it, introducing a layer of 'The West versus lands of Islam' drama to this basically domestic situation and giving Qaddafi himself or perhaps one of his sons the ability to actually start mobiliz[ing] some public or international opinion against us.

I can imagine many of the criticisms of the points I've made. And listening to them I think I'd find myself agreeing in general with a lot of it. But it strikes me as a mess, poorly conceived, ginned up by folks with their own weird agendas, carried out at a point well past the point that it was going to accomplish anything. Just all really bad.
I know that Qaddafi has assembled a human shield, but the loss-of-life minimizing policy might still be to simply take him out (along with his sons). Presumably whoever steps into the power vacuum thus created will be both more sane and inclined to act in ways that would avoid a similar fate.

Via: MR

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