With news today of the French spearheading attacks on military targets in Libya and U.S. Missile attacks following shortly after, there seemed to be a ring of eerie familiarity about all of this and I realized it was twenty-five years, almost to the day that a similar situation had begun, under a different Presidency, under a different set of circumstances and with different support.
Last time this happened it was just us, and it was condemned all over the Arab world, not to mention loudly denounced by the Soviet Union. Now it's a bit different and oddly, the Arab world is loudly applauding the results. Go figure. Of course, how long that sentiment lasts depends on how long our welcome is and what our intentions are. Are we there for the oil or are we there on behalf of the Jasmine Revolution? Are we there to support the right of self-determination or are we there to foist a perceived variation of Democracy that comes with loopholes, glad-hands and secret deals?
Are we, for once, going to support the good guys and then get out of their way while they build their democracy and go through growing pains on their own? Or are we going to meddle in their affairs, as we have done so repeatedly in the past and manipulate the outcome. I guess we'll just have to see. I won't be holding my breath though. I've been around this block too many times.
But in 1986 it was the Reagan White House and the start of a campaign against Libya and an attempt to unseat Gaddafi that somehow kept him in power another 25 years.
Here is a capsule look at news reports for 12 hours during the day of March 25, 1986 when the bombings had begun and the campaign was underway, including a broadcast of The World Tonight from CBS News.