It appears that the Libyan Government is about to fall this evening and by the end of the week the long reign of the dictator there will finally be over.
This is of course a good thing for several reasons:
1. Gaddafi was an enemy of the United States with the blood of many American’s on his hands.
2. All Peoples deserve the chance for self-determination
3. The president put us all in by saying “Gaddafi must go” so every day he stayed was a day of defeat for the US.
4. The end of the war in Libya is almost certain to have a downward effect on oil prices which means less pain at the pump and a decrease in food inflation.
I must admit I expected partition, the rebels didn’t seem a coherent force and I presumed Gaddafi had sufficient funds for more than 6 months. This is a much better result than a partition and given the choice of the pair we should welcome it.
This is of course doesn’t mean that Libya will be a bed of roses also for several reasons.
1. The Al-Qaeda connection between the Libyan rebels means that we have to thread carefully, we may in fact end up with a government more unfriendly than before and any advanced weaponry captured by the rebels might end up in the wrong hands big time. That is a disaster just waiting to happen and we’d better take steps to be sure it doesn’t.
2. The rebels are not well-organized and the government could go either way.
3. Because of aggressive moves by Sudan and the aid of Niger to Gaddafi we may see a second wider war in the area.
4. There is every possibility that self-determination might become Sharia or a new war with Israel.
Or to put it another way we have no idea exactly how this is going to end up in the long-term.
Now there are several winners here:
1. Libyan rebels: Although aided by NATO air strikes they fought this war pretty much on their own. That is healthy for a new country but NATO gave them just enough help that there is a debt.
2. NATO: The fall of Gaddafi without primary involvement of the US is significant. It gives a morale boost to the alliance while also providing experience to pilots in actual combat situations. This puts them in an excellent position to help steer things in a more positive than negative direction.
3. Obama: He made several missteps and it can credibly be said that we either came late to the game (an early move would have been a win in March) or didn’t belong in the game at all, but the bottom line is that he intervened at the moment that prevented a mass slaughter in Benghazi and (to our knowledge) kept US troops on the whole out of the fight while still achieving his objectives.
4. The US: An enemy is removed and the prestige of the US is maintained without massive intervention by our troops. That’s a win.
Some might consider it wrong to celebrate this or to give Obama any credit. I have to disagree. It doesn’t matter if we belonged there or not or if it was done poorly, the bottom line is this was an US backed war and it ended in a victory for the side we supported and I’ll take it.
Elections or no, politics or no, given the choice of an US defeat than can be blamed on Obama or an US victory that he can take credit for, I’ll take the victory every time.
Update: Steve Benen starts to overplay his hand:
Remember hearing about the “blame America first” crowd? Well, say hello to the “thank America last” crowd.
McCain and Graham “commend” everyone except the United States military, and then, even while applauding the developments, take yet another shot at the Obama administration.
Hold on, I thought a major argument by the Administration was that US forces were NOT involved beyond the initial taking out of the airpower and it was NOT a US mission.
the fact of the matter is, the efforts of U.S. forces in are being cited as “a major factor in helping to tilt the balance after months of steady erosion of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s military.”
So apparently taking primary credit when we don’t have boots on the ground or took part in the majority of the fighting is no longer “jingoistic”.
I would also remind our friends on the left that the only reason why Libya garnered some US diplomatic niceties was they abandoned their WMD’s when Gaddafi was terrified of the US after Iraq, and if not for that war which they so opposed, not only would this it have been unlikely that this revolt have even started but if it DID start the Gaddafi government would have certainly used WMD to quash it.
Let’s be blunt, giving the Obama administration its due as I do in this post is not only the right thing but the smart thing. It’s the right thing because they deserve it and its the smart thing for three reasons.
1. It does remove the “petty” charge that is made
2. It is almost certain that the left (which somehow has forgotten the Libyan apologists among them) will oversell the victory
3. By giving Obama the credit and letting him take it, he implicitly becomes responsible for the long term developments in Libya just as the Bush gets credit/blame for long term developments in Iraq.
The Lonely conservative is correct:
He can proclaim vindication all he wants, but I doubt it will do him much good politically here at home. And seeing that the US led from behind in this kinetic military action it probably won’t help our standing much in the Arab world. In case you haven’t heard, Arabs now hate the US more than they did when Bush was president. Go figure.
I actually disagree with the last sentence a bit, the Arabs likely hate us just as much as they did before but because they don’t fear Obama as they did Bush they are more likely to express it publicly and act upon that hatred.
Great line at Hotair quote a bunch of experts producing “Hot air”:
Time magazine noted this morning that a panel of Libya experts recently concluded the fight for Tripoli might take weeks or even months.
You can’t go wrong betting against “Experts” that Time would pick.
Update 2: Why am I not surprised that Benen’s whine is at the top of memeorandum?
Update 3: After the president speech will Benen condemn him for not giving US troops enough credit?