Saturday, March 19, 2011

the imperial president and the flying tank

i'm not a fan of andrew sullivan, but i agree with his reaction to obama's speech yesterday. it's really quite amazing how little public debate there has been about this in the u.s. i mean, i didn't think there was enough consideration of the possible consequences of the iraq war before the u.s. invasion and that war was preceded by months of debate and a resolution in congress. there seems to be even less thought about the end game to this libyan operation.

the new york times reports that the obama's administration's sudden switch from letting libya sort out itself to endorsing u.s. military action took place in a single 24 hour period. the switch is attributed to hillary clinton's influence. the main reason i voted for obama over clinton in the primary was because clinton was much to hawkish for my tastes, but i guess i ended up with the clinton hawk anyway.

it's really notable that the president didn't bother trying to sell any of this on the american public until after it was already a done deal; the UN resolution was already passed and france, the UK and the US were already gearing up to enforce a "no fly zone". it's also funny how the first military action to enforce this so-called "no fly zone" was an attack on a (presumably non-flying) tank. the mission creep has begun with the very first shot.

on the other hand, it's still not completely clear whether the u.s. itself is going to fire any shots here. they could just be providing support monitoring the airspace over libya and sharing that information with france or britain. in other words, this could be more of france or britain's war that the u.s.' we shall see.

and i'm still hoping that this early stage will scare more of qadhafi's military commanders to defect to the rebels, causing a quick collapse of qadhafi's regime. that is still a possibility and if that ends up happening, then the UN resolution and pretend "no fly" zone could turn out to be the gamble that worked. but it's still a reckless gamble, because if it doesn't work, this will eventually evolve into quite a mess. (yeah, i know, it's already a mess. i mean a worse one. and, unlike the pre-yesterday mess, that potentially worse mess is a potential mess with my country's fingerprints on it)