I thought it strange that two days ago Pres. Obama spoke about Libya as if it was a done deal. Obama said, “The end of the Gadhafi regime in Libya is a victory for the Libyan people and for the broader cause of freedom in the Middle East and throughout the world.”
A victory? Not so much (emphasis mine):
But despite the recent rebel advances at Zawiyah, any expectation that the collapse of the Qaddafi regime is imminent — a statement made regularly by all of the NATO militaries now contributing resources to the anti-Qaddafi campaign — remains wishful thinking at this time. The Libyan uprising against the Qaddafi regime is now six months old, and there is no immediate end in sight. Long gone is U.S. President Barack Obama’s insistence that multilateral military action against Libya would be a matter “of days, not weeks.”
For now, the scenarios most likely to bring the conflict to an end revolve around what many close observers refer to as “catastrophic success” — the sudden removal of Qaddafi by internal revolt or other means, which would leave a profound political and security vacuum — or extended negotiations between Tripoli and Benghazi led by a neutral interlocutor.
My hope is that this does end soon. This has been a bloody six months in Libya. Not one of our boys fought or died there, thank goodness, but there have been so many senseless innocent deaths there because we “led from behind.” Many conservatives and many liberals did not want us to have anything to do with Libya, but I was one of the conservatives that thought it right to stop the slaughter and take down yet another brutal dictator in the Middle East that had been a monster for far too long. We had a window of opportunity when it could have been done quickly, with just air support, but that is not Obama’s way. By the time Obama had given the power to NATO, Gaddafi was ready to fight. This wasn’t Iraq with a population of some 30 million. Libya is tiny with only 7 million. With our power and force it would not have been hard to take Gaddafi in the first few weeks of rebellion. But just as in Egypt and Tunisia, Pres. Obama delayed his support.
What many people don’t seem to understand is that while Pres. Obama did not seek authorization from Congress to go into Libya, he did seek authorization from the Arab League and from the U.N. to fight in Libya. They did not allow him to conduct a full-scale air war against Qaddafi. Which is why we didn’t, and why it’s now 6 months later and Qaddafi is still there.
Hopefully, Dirk Vandewalle, the author of the linked article is wrong, and there is actually an end in sight for Libya. I hope that yet another brutal dictator is taken off the world stage and kept from the vicious attacks and murders on it’s people.
Even with Gaddafi gone we will have to see if Libya becomes an Islamic republic, a disaster like Somalia, another Arab dictatorship, or another miracle of democracy. We will have little say in the matter since we had little say in their freedom. They have NATO to thank for that.