Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Mess in Libya

The more I learn about Libya the less I like it. The New York Times has printed allegations that, far from being taken by surprise by the uprising, the CIA and British intelligence instigated it and that Muslim extremists including Al Qaeda are among the rebels.

It is increasingly clear that the rebels do not have the numbers or the training to overthrow Gadafi*. Our air strikes are not enough to make up for the rebels' shortcomings, even assuming that we really want them to win.

In an effort to isolate Gadafi, the US released the assets of a Libyan defector who is thought to have been behind numerous terrorist acts.

The Obama administration lied us into war on multiple levels. The UN Security Council only authorized a no-fly zone, not an attack on land targets.

Things get stickier in the US Senate. A few days ago the Obama administration announced that the Senate had already approved a resolution calling for a no-fly zone so no further authorization was needed. This came as a surprise to the Senate. What most senators thought had been passed was a non-binding resolution condemning the violence in Libya. This was passed as an after-hours motion without debate. It turns out that, at the last minute, a clause was inserted into the resolution calling for a no-fly zone. No notifications were sent out of the change. It was introduced at 5:30 and passed at 5:31 without debate. If President Bush had used such sleight-of-hand, we would be hearing impeachment talk by now.

Put all of this together and it is easy to understand why the President called Libya a "turd sandwich". It is hard to see any good outcome from the Libyan rebellion or our interference in it.

* There are numerous ways to spell Gadafi's name. I am using the shortest one.

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