I don’t have any particular insights on our mission in Libya. Granted, this is a difficult call. We are in uncharted territory here. But I have at least come to some preliminary conclusions in my thinking:
* Libya is our business, we have interests there, and they are not all about oil.
* We shouldn’t intervene everywhere, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t intervene anywhere.
* Gadhafi is evil incarnate, has been a U. S. enemy for over 40 years, and his overthrow should be an objective.
* What follows Gadhafi is important, but not decisive in terms of our involvement, however much we want to control the succession.
* Freedom is messy–it took eleven years to form our government after declaring our independence from tyranny and we still had to fight a civil war to preserve it.
* Despite pains to deny it, the legacy of the Bush Doctrine is inexorably working its way through the Middle East, and we should be pleased. As Bernard Lewis has said, “the tyrannies are doomed”.
* Democracy as we understand it is not the end game. The important outcomes are the rule of law and a reasonably open and tolerant society.
No question that the Obama administration botched the first couple of weeks of the uprising in Libya, when more assertive support of the rebels could possibly have been decisive; his pronouncements have been confusing; and I don’t like the idea of NATO command of U. S. forces and being somewhat beholden to the Arab League in our terms of engagement. But we are appropriately there, we have committed allies, and we should finish the job.