Use Whatever Euphemism You Like

by Rich Lowry

It doesn’t bother me particularly that the administration won’t say that it’s waging war on Qaddafi’s forces, so long as it’s doing it. The most damaging near-term ambiguity is our refusal to admit and fully act on what’s manifestly true — we’re aiding the rebellion. There was this in the New York Times yesterday:

Admiral Hueber also said that the coalition was communicating with rebel forces. But later, when he was pressed on whether the United States was telling rebels not to go down certain roads because there would be airstrikes there, he said he had misspoken. American military officials have said there are no “official communications” with the rebels, which remains a delicate issue. Contact with the rebels would reflect a direct American military intervention in the civil war of another country.

So bombing the tanks of one side in a civil war isn’t a direct intervention in a civil war?

Unless we get very, very lucky and Qaddafi quits or is deposed, there’s going to have to be some sort of reasonably coherent ground force to march on Tripoli, and it’s become clear that the rebels in their current state don’t qualify. So now we’re looking for a way to weasel out of the idiotic U.N. arms embargo and give arms to the rebels — that is, “if they can prove they need them to defend themselves from attack”:

But Sky News now understands the US is looking at a legal framework to allow limited supplies of arms to the rebels, if they can prove they need them to defend themselves from attack.

Mark Kornblau, spokesman for US Ambassador Dr Susan Rice, confirmed it was a possibility.

“Resolutions 1970 and 1973, read together, neither specify nor preclude such an action,” he said.

Britain and France are also reported to be considering the legal options.

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