Thursday, March 17, 2011

third time's a charm

just what america needs: another war.

so now we have a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone that just about everyone agrees will probably not work on it's own to stop qadhafi's advance. so the "all necessary measures" to protect civilians clause will be interpreted creatively to authorize the bombing of places like tripoli (where, as it happens, quite a lot of civilians live).

actually, i wouldn't be surprised if the french take the lead initially on this. they've been pushing the hardest to support the rebels militarily. so maybe it won't completely be america's war at first. but if it drags on long enough, it will be.

and as much as i think this is a bad idea, there is still a scenario where this could end relatively soon. it's possible that the prospect of being attacked by a competent military force might cause a bunch of qadhafi's officers to defect. there were a bunch of defections when the rebellion first broke out, and as the rebels advanced there were rumors that there were a bunch more military commanders who were on the fence considering defecting. when qadhafi regained he upper hand and all talk of more defections faded away. but this UN resolution and/or the initial strikes could change their political calculations.

but unless a cascade of defections gets qadhafi out fast, this could just as easily devolve into another long bloody crisis. of course, it was a bloody crisis already. but the blood was mostly on qadhafi's hands, not our own. unless the defection scenario plays out, this is just likely to result in more death, not less. a military solution rarely is.