We have launched another war we cannot afford, without public debate or much skepticism from the media, and surprisingly, Americans appear to be relatively alright with that. Watching the cable networks question Pentagon officials about the exciting logistics of Operation Odyssey Dawn” while offering no air time to opponents (if any even exist in the mainstream) makes me wonder if we learned anything from our gargantuan blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But this time will be different, of course. Oh, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Libya being a major oil exporter.
The right, which generally supports killing Muslims, is angry at the president for not killing more, faster and earlier, without the permission of other brown countries and the snooty French. Also, $5 million for NPR is an awful lot and we need that money to paint skulls on the tips of Tomahawk missiles. (For national security.) That Bill Kristol remains a paid commentator advocating for a full invasion of yet another country proves that we live in a Godless universe with no justice and perhaps trying to impose it by force will get messier than supporters would like to admit or have thought through.
The left seems split between subdued skepticism and apologia. I’ve even heard that it’s not really a war because the government issued a statement claiming ground troops will not be deployed. Besides governments always telling the truth, I wonder if a country launching 100 cruise missiles at military installations on American soil would change their definition of “real war.” The humanitarian impulse is there, and this is where I make the standard statement about Qaddafi being a horrible guy, but why Libya and not Bahrain? Under the logic of this intervention, I can’t see why we wouldn’t attack another half dozen countries tomorrow. The answer should be because these things always get messy and never turn out how we’d like them to. Remember Somalia?
The rebels are brave as hell and I admire willingness to die, but what do we know about them? How many years are we willing to support their struggle? If Qaddafi shoots down an American jet do you think Obama will dial down the conflict? And if the rebels ransack Tripoli and begin summarily executing and raping people, what then?
Perhaps it will all go swimmingly and we’ll be vacationing in the Jeffersonian Democracy of Libya by Summer. It’s complicated, but if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of not spending money to kill people while we discuss cutting the unemployment benefits of Americans who can’t find a job.
Friday: Media Meltdown”