A boy looks out as mourners pray during the funeral of a rebel killed by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi, March 22
John Judis (The New Republic): ….I looked at various blogs and websites that air opinion on the left. With some notable exceptions (like Juan Cole), all I have found is opposition to the Obama administration’s decision to intervene in Libya.
So I ask myself, would these opponents of U.S. intervention (as part of U.N. Security Council approved action), have preferred:
(1) That gangs of mercenaries, financed by the country’s oil wealth, conduct a bloodbath against Muammar Qaddafi’s many opponents?
(2) That Qaddafi himself, wounded, enraged, embittered, and still in power, retain control of an important source of the world’s oil supply, particularly for Europe, and be able to spend the wealth he derives from it to sow discord in the region?
(3) And that the movement toward democratization in the Arab world – which has spread from Tunisia to Bahrain, and now includes such unlikely locales as Syria – be dealt an enormous setback through the survival of one of region’s most notorious autocrats?
If you answer “Who cares?” to each of these, I have no counter-arguments to offer, but if you worry about two or three of these prospects, then I think you have to reconsider whether Barack Obama did the right thing in lending American support to this intervention.
…Should Obama, as some critics have charged, have gone to Congress for a war powers resolution? I am not sure there was time for a full-scale debate…
…isn’t Obama repeating the same mistakes that George W. Bush did when he invaded Iraq in order to oust a despot? There’s a big difference between then and now: The United States is supporting an active revolt; it is preventing carnage; and it is encouraging real, rather than imagined, democratic movements across the region. These are all reasons why, even at this late date, and with uncertain prospects, it made sense to intervene.
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