What if the no-fly zone fails?
In an entry posted late last night, I gave a relatively optimistic view of the Libyan interference. I assumed that the allies’ attack on Kaddafi’s air defenses and the resulting no-fly zone would succeed in stopping Kaddafi’s forces, which in turn would lead to a stalemate between Kaddafi and the rebels, which in turn would keep us involved in Libya for the foreseeable future, though not directly running the country. In my scale of values, not directly running the country is better than directly running the country. That’s what I ironically meant by “relatively optimistic.”
But what if, as Peter Hitchens asks in the Mail, Kaddafi’s forces are not stopped? What will the allies do then? Obama said in his TV address that his purpose is not to defeat Kaddafi but to prevent the killing of Libyan civilians by Kaddafi. He also said that no American boots will be put on the ground. But if the no-fly zone fails to stop Kaddafi’s soldiers, and they proceed to mass kill the rebels, Obama’s parameters will instantly fail. He must, in order to stop the killings, abandon his “no U.S. boots on the ground” condition and move against Kaddafi’s army and seek to defeat it and him, thus getting the U.S. directly involved in running Libya after Kaddafi’s removal. Or, at the very least, as James P. points out here, Obama must initiate a heavy bombing campaign against Libya similar to what Clinton did against Serbia. Though the anti-Serbia bombing campaign itself involved no U.S. boots on the ground, it did make the U.S. (via the front of NATO) into the overpower running Kosovo and Serbia after Serbia yielded to Clinton’s demands.
Alternatively, if the no fly zone fails, Obama would have to abandon his primary mission of saving the rebels’ lives, which seems far less likely than his moving to an all-out bombing or invasion of Libya.
Have Obama and his allies Cameron and Sarkozy thought through any of this? Do they have any idea what they will do if the no-fly zone fails? As Hitchens says, “Who knows?”
Some of the longest wars in history started with small-scale intervention, for a purpose that looked good and achievable, and ended up ruining millions of lives. The Soviet takeover of Afghanistan in 1979 ended with countless innocents driven into refugee camps, and the collapse of the Soviet state itself. It also left Afghanistan as a worse snake pit than before.Could the decisive reason for Obama’s, Cameron’s and Sarkozy’s action be that the three men are all swollen with personal vanity? Yes, absolutely. Hitchens’s explanation makes complete sense.
Also, in light of Hitchens’s observations about the total absence of coherent thought on the part of the Cameron government, Rick Darby’s satirical look at Obama’s brain seems more believable than ever.
James N. writes:
The Libyan intervention is a classic, CLASSIC case of liberal thought run amok.Ferg writes:
If Obama’s purpose is to prevent Kaddafi from killing his own people who are in armed rebellion against the State, does that mean that Obama would not kill Americans if they were in armed rebellion against this State? Maybe someone should ask him that question.LA replies:
According to Obama, what especially concerned him was Kaddafi’s repeated statements that he would show “no mercy” to the rebels, i.e., he would kill them all.Kathlene M. writes:
Ferg asks a good question that truly needs to be explored:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 20, 2011 10:15 AM | Send