I'm pretty disappointed by the idiots who either want to re-fight Iraq with Libya, use Libya to justify Iraq, or change their minds about America's use of force in the world, demanding a "declaration of war" here after approving Bush's lies 8 years ago.
The situation is entirely different.
Let's remember our goal. It is, and always has been, to assist democracy and freedom. We believe prosperous liberal democracies don't go to war against one another. They battle through other means, economic means, in which both sides can actually win, rather than both sides losing.
We went into Afghanistan because Al Qaeda attacked us, and because we believed the Taliban were giving them safe haven. Killing Bin Laden remains our primary goal there.
What has been happening in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa, however, is the revolution we have sought for generations. People there want self-government. They want the right to make choices, and then make new choices. They want democracy and open markets.
They want what we have. They have a right to it. Everyone does. That's what we've always said.
When a crazy tyrant stands in the way, when he's willing to hire mercenaries and butcher his own people in vast numbers to maintain power, we have a duty to back up our words with action. It's quite the reverse of Iraq. There is a real domestic opposition in Libya, real people willing to die to take this guy out, many of whom used to be insiders. So we support them. We recognize the opposition as legitimate, and we provide them the help they've asked for -- air power to take out the dictator's advantage.
Obama did what Bush I did. He built a coalition. He got other people into the fight. He got the Arab League to go along. He even got a UN resolution, with China and Russia declining to veto. Any idea what kind of diplomatic stones that takes? Big brass ones.
Now what happens? Now we're on the side of the people. We haven't done anything about Bahrain, you say? We've shut up about it, mainly, and protested to Saudi Arabia about it. Same with Yemen. And there is every chance that the latter uprising may succeed.
If it comes to war in either place we'll have another situation, but we're less likely to get there if we prove we can take out madness when madness strikes nearby.
Once we're on the side of the people, once our words and actions are consonant with one another, then forces like Al Qaeda start to lose their effectiveness. Their demand of replacing a "western-imposed dictatorship" with an Iran-like dictatorship no longer work because there's a viable alternative, government of the people, by the people, for the people.
I'm not saying this isn't going to be messy, on the ground. Elites in Tunisia and Egypt won't give ground willingly. But that's a battle for the people there. Just as Bahrain and Yemen are battles for the people there. Just as the Ivory Coast civil war is for the people there to win -- and by the way they're winning. Just as Iran's people must fight for their freedom.
So, with minimal risk to our own people, we stand on the side of our principles, we neuter our adversaries, we're the good guys again.
Oh, and the President wins a landslide. Which explains the Republican opposition.
I understand why some Democrats are upset. They fought the war against the war for 8 years, and now they see their guy going into yet-another war (on that war's eighth anniversary no less), without fully withdrawing from the first two.
But putting our words on the side of our actions is the only way out of the other two wars. We're not putting down protests in Iraq, and we won't put down protests in Afghanistan if they're on the side of democracy, acknowledging that when the people change their mind again they should be heard again, and that they should be heard regularly.
This is a Wilsonian policy, on behalf of brown people. We're behind them, not imposing our system on them but letting them make the choice. It's treating other people like adults, the way we'd like to be treated.
It's the right thing to do.