The debate over whether we should invade Libya reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Lisa puts an electrode in a cupcake to see whether her brother Bart or a hamster will be the first to figure out not to touch it. The hamster figures it out after one shock, while Bart keeps grabbing at the cupcake and getting shocked, over and over and over again.
You see where I’m going with this. Our invasion of Afghanistan was supported — demanded — by everyone as a punitive raid to kill the scum who attacked us. Our armed forces succeeded brilliantly, as we knew they would. But then we told them to stay there, starting a whole new war to pacify the country. And they’re still there.
Our invasion of Iraq was supposed to topple a vicious, expansionist dictator who was believed to be developing nuclear weapons. NRO ran a piece by, of all people, Amitai Etzioni, whose title I think summed up most people’s attitude: “In and Out.” Our armed forces again succeeded brilliantly, but we again didn’t leave, again starting a whole new war to pacify the country. And we’re still there.
Now we are assured that intervention in Libya will be clean, with no strings attached. Does anyone really believe that? As Peggy Noonan writes in her column, “So we wind up in long, drawn-out struggles when we didn’t mean to, when it wasn’t the plan, or the hope, or the expectation.” Of course our armed forces will again perform brilliantly, and Qaddafi and his repellent mafia clan will be hanging from piano wire in no time. But everyone knows we’ll end up staying to pacify the country, trying in vain to reconcile one gang of cretinous barbarians with the neighboring gang of cretinous barbarians. As loathsome as Qaddafi is and as richly as he deserves death, there’s nothing happening in Libya that warrants even one American soldier risking a twisted ankle, let alone his limbs, his mind, or his life.
How many times will we grab this cupcake? Just say no to war in Libya.