There's nothing so dramatic to illustrate the point that neoconservatives think along the same lines as liberal interventionists than this case of arguing about intervening in Libya's civil war. On the right, we have this joker Paul Wolfowitz, who wants to illustrate that his political ideology of using military force to spread democracy and liberty throughout the Middle East is in fact a good and just one.
The answer to the first of these questions can only come after establishing direct contact with the new authorities, but the delivery of supplies should not be such a problem, either through the many ports along the Libyan coast or across the Egyptian border. Nonlethal assistance could be important, including basic supplies such as food and medicine. So could broadcasting assistance to discourage Gadhafi's forces from fighting. The concern that American weapons might end up in the wrong hands must definitely be considered before supplying shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, but other weapons pose less of a risk—particularly accurate antitank weapons. In any case, forcing the Libyans to turn to other countries for arms would repeat the mistakes of Afghanistan in the 1980s and Bosnia in the 1990s.
It is only in the context of a larger assistance strategy that a no-fly zone should be considered. It would be different from the prolonged and largely futile zones imposed over southern Iraq from 1991-2003 or over Bosnia from 1992-1995. Intended to stop the genocides of the Marsh Arabs in Iraq and of the Muslim population of Bosnia, they did neither. Critics accurately point out that the massacre of 11,000 Muslims in Srebrenica took place under a NATO-imposed no-fly zone. But the situation in Libya would be very different if the Libyan people are properly armed.
Yes, the Clinton administration's policies were certainly ill-considered, look how many people didn't get killed and how many countries weren't invaded. But this jackass, this mad joker, doesn't want to be concerned about the fallout of any US military aid to Libya. I recall seeing mention that the Libyans who came to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight against the American occupation over the past few years came from the eastern side - where the rebels are. What do you think they're going to do with those anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons after the civil war ends, Mr. Wolfowitz? As MoDo correctly asks, does this guy know when to shut the hell up?
Now we have the clowns on the left to deal with. Ann-Marie Slaughter, former Director of Policy Planning in the Obama State Department and now political professor at Princeton, slams President Obama for not doing enough to intervene on behalf of the Libyan rebel force. "It is time to act," she demands, in the form of a no-fly zone.
The United States should immediately ask the Security Council to authorize a no-flight zone and make clear to Russia and China that if they block the resolution, the blood of the Libyan opposition will be on their hands. We should push them at least to abstain, and bring the issue to a vote as soon as possible. If we get a resolution, we should work with the Arab League to assemble an international coalition to impose the no-flight zone. If the Security Council fails to act, then we should recognize the opposition Libyan National Council as the legitimate government, as France has done, and work with the Arab League to give the council any assistance it requests.
Any use of force must be carefully and fully debated, but that debate has now been had. It’s been raging for a week, during which almost every Arab country has come on board calling for a no-flight zone and Colonel Qaddafi continues to gain ground.
Except that many senior military analysts have pointed out that establishing a no-fly zone will require bombing radar sites and anti-aircraft sites in Libya, and then what? If that's not effective, do we then target the tanks and loyalist forces? And then do we send in peacekeepers to hold the ground while a new government is formed? Where does this end? Matt Yglesias remembers a more prudent Slaughter talking about the Iraq occupation, in which she argued for a more rules-based global order that wasn't based on active military operations. But she was in favor of invading Iraq, just like all the other liberal interventionists. There is no limit on pointless, expensive wars in which we can engage.
The smart thing to do would be to contact Qadaffi and say, "look, man, your day is done. We can get you a plane out and into any country that you want with a million dollars in unmarked bills. Or you can stay here, and if you thought Libya was isolated between 1988 and 2003, well, you haven't seen 'isolated' yet." No, instead we're going to hear from the European Union and the Arab League as to why U.S. warplanes need to intercede over Libyan skies. Hey, guys, you want peace that bad, send your own planes. Ours are busy over Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan, Europe, and along the borders of the United States.