I have never been more enraged by punditry than all of the criticism that has been leveled at the President about our intervention in Libya. It feels like pundits have produced thousands of column inches and countless hours of television and radio coverage has been devoted to criticizing the President’s plan (in many cases by the people who pressured the White House to set up a no fly zone in the first place!). And yet none of the criticisms I have read or watched have provided a single practical, workable alternative.
Guess what? Every possible plan can be criticized one way or another. We do nothing– an abdication of our moral responsibility to prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians. We do a full-scale invasion to depose Gaddafi– a slap in the face to our overtaxed armed forces already fighting two foreign wars. We wait for UN approval– we’re subservient to the whims of the United Nations. We act unilaterally– we’re an out-of-control superpower wanting to impose our colonial ambitions on the world.
So rather than having the courage to advocate and defend an unpleasant plan of action, the pundit-verse is cowardly sniping at the adminstration’s plan. So to all the pundits out there– do us a favor, would you? Tell us YOUR plan, or else shut the &@#$ up!!
Of course every plan can be criticized, and even the right plan is going to have serious downsides: that doesn’t mean we should muzzle those who wish to point out the flaws! I think you’re way off-base here.
FWIW, I propose that we stay out of it altogether. We don’t have an unconditional “moral responsibility to prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians”. It may be a good thing to prevent governments from killing their own citizens, but for goodness sake, it’s a civil war: such things have happened throughout history, and by applying this weird no-fly zone we are merely limiting the fighting to ground battles, not stopping it altogether. Or we’re trying halfheartedly to level the playing field, which is worse. And it’s better to do one or two things well, then spread ourselves all over the globe as the issue of the hour seems to demand it.
Fair enough. When I get frustrated enough, it’s hard not to be a little hyperbolic. I’m not saying that we should muzzle people. So let me say it another way– I don’t think that the current criticism is constructive.
It’s very easy to take the high road and criticize a difficult choice if you don’t have to admit that any other choice may not be any better. And to some degree, it IS valid– the ideal outcome (deposing Gaddafi) doesn’t match the mission (the no-fly zone). But even if the criticism is valid, it doesn’t bring anything to the table that helps find a better course of action. Why can’t we come together, admit that all the choices suck, and have a genuine discussion about the pros and cons of each solution? Why does it have to be all about scoring rhetorical and political points?
I think I’ve changed my mind on this. My knee-jerk reaction was that we should have acted to help the rebels defeat Gaddafi, but I am not sure I had adequately considered how big of an investment that would be, or how much better off Libya would be if he were gone. It’s probably time for the US to drop its “policeman of the world” role.
I just have one question – why Libya? Why not intervene in Somalia or Sudan? Or even clear up the Mexican cartels?
So many conflicts to choose from: