The New Yorker has taken to applauding the President over Qaddafi's apparent downfall in Tripoli. I celebrate the downfall of this tyrant as much as that of any tyrant, including the likes of Saddam Hussein. However, this odd example of Libya, in which the United States occasionally tossed a few bombs at tanks and trucks, hardly constitutes a winning strategy for dealing with tyrants in the future. Or, for that matter, currently, in places like Syria.
Look throughout that New Yorker piece, and you will nowhere find an argument describing how Obama's actions were legal. I've pointed out before that the War Powers Resolution does not allow the President to just start bombing random counties without Congressional approval. I don't particularly care what the United Nations decided, they are not the legislature of the United States nor a substitute for it.
And this could not be described as a Western Crusade? Who did all of the bombing? Who provided the air cover? Arab nations? Nope. Say hello to white men flying above killing Muslims. The fact that we bombed halfheartedly does not mean it was not the West providing that firepower. The war could have been ended in February or March had appropriate firepower been supplied to the rebels, rather than waiting for Qaddafi's forces to push the rebels back to Benghazi and extending the war (with all the deaths that follow) for months.
"They are indigenous; they have legitimacy."
Irritating idiocy. You know who else was indigenous? Muammar Qaddafi.
The lesson every Arab despot should learn from our response to Libya and Syria is that if you have a powerful army and friends, you may butcher your own people at will and the United States will stand by. If, on the other hand, you have a weak army and our President feels like he needs a military victory to improve his own image, you're on our short list of targets.
This should not be seen as a model for future behavior. At no point did our President or his supporters have anything resembling a plan for dealing with Libya. That Qaddafi's forces suddenly collapsed is a blessing from heaven rather than a result of anything our President or Europe is responsible for. By far and away, the most disturbing part of all of this is that our President would illegally use force, that Congress would be cut out of such a decision. Our influence has not been increased at all by this event. And until Libya is a stable and free nation, we have not won yet.
Illegal, belated, halfhearted...the model for the future! NATO basically took out Glass Joe and had difficulty doing so. Good luck being relevant anywhere else. Like, say, Syria.