Post-postmodern War

by Victor Davis Hanson

I cannot think of a prior war in which all the following were true at the same time: We claimed a humanitarian mission on behalf of rebels about whom we knew nothing; started bombing without congressional approval and without majority support of the American people; sought sanction from the U.N. and the Arab League, only to go way beyond their resolutions by seeking Qaddafi’s ouster; nevertheless denied that regime change was our mission, insisting that we were only establishing a no-fly-zone that, on each day, we went well beyond by attacking ground targets and inserting operatives on the ground — all against a monster that as late as last year we were proclaiming a rehabilitated partner in the war against terror, as our senators courted him at home and he sent his westernized progeny abroad to buy friends and influence.

This strange so-so war has a bit of Mogadishu, a bit of Beirut 1983, some Iraq and Afghanistan, a lot of the Milosevic bombing and the no-fly-zone over Iraq, and is reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s fondness for now and then lobbing missiles into Afghanistan, East Africa, and Iraq — not to mention Reagan’s bombing of Tripoli in 1986. It is all and nothing of all that — and by this Wednesday few will quite know what we are doing in Libya. Fewer, I’m afraid, will care.