Tuesday, March 08, 2011

How a military intervention in Libya could turn open-ended

Michael Lind defines the logic of military escalation in Libya once a direct American intervention is underway in The neocons are trying to talk us into war -- again Salon 03/08/2011. The "lift-and-strike" to which he refers is lifting an arms embargo on a conflict area to arm the side we prefere and striking militarily in a way that may initially look limited:

The lesson of these three wars [Kosovo, Afghanistan War, Iraq War] is that the rhetoric of lift-and-strike is a gateway drug that leads to all-out American military invasion and occupation. Once the U.S. has committed itself to using limited military force to depose a foreign regime, the pressure to "stay the course" becomes irresistible. If lift-and-strike were to fail in Libya, the same neocon hawks who promised that it would succeed would not apologize for their mistake. Instead, they would up the ante. They would call for escalating American involvement further, because America’s prestige would now be on the line. They would denounce any alternative as a cowardly policy of "cut and run." And as soon as any American soldiers died in Libya, the hawks would claim that we would be betraying their memory, unless we conquered Libya and occupied it for years or decades until it became a functioning, pro-American democracy. [my emphasis]
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