Looking at Libya through the prism of America’s recent wars really misses the point. I certainly want to second Pat Buchanan’s statement that it’s their war, not ours. And as I always insist on his Israel-Palestine policy, while Obama’s posturing is not at all pretty to watch, it’s not yet qualitatively making the situation worse, and a far cry from what the neocons would like to see.
As this is a situation where I admit to not being able to draw a sharp line between my heart and my head, I’m splitting the difference in saying the ideal solution would have been for the Egyptian military to take down Qaddafi the way the Vietnamese took down Pol Pot. The aimless maneuvers we’re seeing by the west seem to be a frantic attempt to head this off, with the barely disguised desire of Britain and France to avenge Suez a breathtaking spectacle to behold. More than anything, they and the U.S. are just desperate to be relevant again after the events in Egypt and beyond. And let us not lose sight of the fact that things are still heating up in Yemen and Bahrain, to say nothing of Palestine and now even Syria.
Having said all that, however, I am extremely frustrated with those in the antiwar movement who are eager to proclaim that we are now in a “third war” in the Muslim world, and that this is the vindication of saying Obama is Bush-lite or worse (which does not mean Obama can’t be God-awful in his own ways, but it does a disservice). When they were all convinced for over a year that Yemen or Somalia or even Pakistan would be the new Iraq, a friend who was alive back then told me it was exactly like the leftists who insisted throughout the 80s that El Salvador or Nicaragua would be the next Vietnam.
The tragic irony is that this helped play a part in discrediting “Vietnam syndrome” by the time of the invasion of Iraq. Let’s not repeat the same mistake.