The Campaign Spot

And With That . . . We’re Suddenly Involved in Libya.

In today’s Morning Jolt, the sudden developments at the United Nations and the dramatic events to come in Libya leave me wondering . . . how will antiwar liberals respond to the revelation that the guy they elected just decided to authorize the use of U.S. military forces to bomb a Muslim country?

And With That . . . We’re Effectively In Combat With Libya.

As someone who was quasi-supportive of outside intervention in Libya, or at the very least, someone who thought that if the words “never again” mean something, then we had a moral obligation to try to prevent a Benghazi Massacre, I should be pleased. But the developments at the United Nations feel strangely sudden. It seems like a few days ago, Hillary was telling Libyan rebels that we wouldn’t enforce a no-fly zone.

President Obama certainly didn’t seem to have any stirring desire to commit U.S. military forces to any objective in Libya. Russia and China seemed inclined to block any U.N. approval. What changed behind the scenes?

The UK Sun has a pretty interesting and detailed look at the probable order of battle: “To enable coalition jets to fly over unharmed, top guns’ first targets will be Gaddafi’s radar stations and surface-to-air missile sites. Brand new RAF Typhoon fighter-bombers, VC10 air-to-air refuellers and AWAC surveillance jets could all be despatched today. America is likely to supply F18 fighter-bombers, while the French will send Mirage jets. At least two Arab nations may provide aircraft. The war planes will be based on islands as near to Libya as possible, with Sicily and Cyprus seen as the most likely. French jets will fly from their own coast. A naval blockade may also be set up, involving the Royal Navy destroyer HMS York and the frigate HMS Cumberland.”

At JustOneMinute, Tom Maguire seems as befuddled as I feel: “Well — is a military effort over Libya really going to simply commence, with no Congressional debate or Presidential address? Amazing — I would not expect that from the First Ditherer. And frankly, starting something that looks like a war with no public support, debate, or preparation is absurd. On the other hand, this is a huge weekend for the NCAA March Madness, so we can’t really expect Obama to emerge until early next week.”

At the American Spectator, John Tabin expresses a similar theme of conflict: “While I feel like I’m supposed to have a firm opinion on matters of war and peace, I can’t help but hedge. Letting Gaddafi take Benghazi would be a human and strategic tragedy, and toppling Gaddafi would be an important victory. But I can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t so much laying the groundwork for Gaddafi’s end as it is committing US forces to a long-term mission to enforce a de facto partition. Protecting Eastern Libya may be laudable in and of itself, but it’s quite an effort to make if it doesn’t topple Gaddafi any time soon. “Believing the Obama administration might still do the right thing, and do it moderately effectively,” writes Kristol, “may involve the audacity of hope — but better that than the resignation of despair.” So here’s to hope.”

Andrew Sullivan can’t believe this is happening on Obama’s watch: “If you are bombing a territory and arming and advising rebels within it, you are a part of the war. And you are responsible for its consequences. I simply cannot believe that the US is taking custody of yet another chaotic region we cannot begin to understand in favor of people we do not know against a crazy tyrant we spent the past few years rehabilitating. Well, I can believe it. If we had elected John McCain, it would be highly believable.”

Thought for the day: How implausible is an antiwar challenge from Obama’s left in the 2012 Democratic primary again?


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