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Monday, March 21, 2011
We are now a few days into the UN-mandated institution of a no-fly zone in Libya. As has been reported by numerous outlets, this mission has already over-stepped its mandate by bombing Tripoli (by bombing anything, for that matter). The threat of wasting anything in the air would have been sufficient to minimize the likelihood of genocide and to let things play out.
But what’s done is done and now it is (rightfully) time for critics from all political hue to weigh in on the mission scope and objective(s). This blog lobbied for a no fly-zone and—explicitly—nothing more. Several outlets, including coverage I heard this afternoon on the BBC, have been stating the ‘obvious fact that a no fly zone is not an end’, it is not a policy and cannot be pursued indefinitely. Really? America pursued this for 10 unsuccessful years with Saddam Hussein when there was no ready revolution to overthrow him.
Drudge was quick to shift this morning to complete coverage of the indefensible photographing of murdered civilians in Afghanistan by American troops. The instinct to link this to the current president was too great to resist (his headline read “Obama Ghraib: Army Apology”).
And the “conservative” pundits have started lining up against Obama’s Libya policy (even though they and most of the world agrees there is no apparent policy for endgame), including a link to comparison of the countries Bush had for Iraq versus Obama for Libya in their respective coalitions of the willing. (There were more in the former.) This after lambasting the administration for a week about not jumping in headfirst (recall the advice of Sarah Palin to let Gadaffi know that “we’re going to hit you hard” and the statement of Newt Gingrich that the Army could and should institute a no fly zone in 15 minutes [never mind the contradiction of this idea by Robert Gates, a member of the Armed Forces of the USA]). It was either right to get involved in this conflict or not; nothing from the Libyan side has changed in the last 48 hours and thus lining up at this point with gutless criticism should be viewed as what it is: naked political positioning.