Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Camp followers

Look, I don't have a clue what to do about the rebellion in Libya, though it seems a pretty fair bad idea to invade a north African country and relying on air strikes seems pretty limited against ground assaults by pro-Qaddafi forces. But this once again proves that if there is an opportunity to invade another country, McCain and Lieberman are all in.

The most vocal camp, led by Senators John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, and Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut independent and another hawk on Libyan intervention, say the central justification for establishing a no-fly zone over Libya is that the rebel leaders themselves are seeking military assistance to end decades of dictatorship.

It is hardly an effort to impose American will in the Muslim world, Mr. Lieberman argued in an interview on Monday.

“We have to try and help those who are offering an alternative future to Libya,” Mr. Lieberman said, sounding much like Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday. “We cannot allow them to be stifled or stopped by brutal actions of the Libyan government.”

But even the critics acknowledge that the best outcome would be for the United States not to go it alone, but join other nations or international organizations, in particular NATO, the Arab League or the African Union.

Mr. Lieberman and others argue that the risks of waiting may be far greater than the risk of an early, decisive military intervention. He acknowledged that as in Iraq, the United States might unleash an uncertain future of tribal rivalry and chaos, in a country that has no institutions prepared to fill the vacuum if Colonel Qaddafi is driven from power.

Yet, he argued: “It’s hard to imagine any new government growing out of this opposition that is worse than Qaddafi.”

It's funny, only a few months ago, Qaddafi was seen as "brave" for forswearing nuclear weapons; now Joe Lieberman considers potential chaos and civil war preferable.

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