Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keith Olbermann on the Libya War

Keith Olbermann has a good comment segment on the Libya War.

For a rosy view, check out Juan Cole's Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone 03/24/2011 Informed Comment 03/24/2011. Cole is consistently good at gathering and reporting information from Arab-language sources and at reporting them to his readers. Given his critical stance toward the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and given the fact that his criticisms have all too often turned out to be well-placed, I'm surprised that he's initially so optimistic on the Libya intervention. I think he may be taken an optimistic evaluation of the Kosovo War as a major reference point for this one. He doesn't seem to be giving full weight to the limitations on air power that a closer look at the Kosovo War exposes. He also doesn't seem to be looking at the potential for insurgency in Libya, whether Muammar Qaddafi is ousted or not. (On that point, see Steven Metz, Libya’s Coming Insurgency The New Republic 03/20/2011.)

Neil Purcell pointed out this antiwar piece by David Rieff, The Road to Hell The New Republic 03/23/2011, who writes:

So much for the hope that Iraq and Afghanistan might actually have taught the West anything lasting about trying to impose democracy at the point of a gun. Instead, it is as if Iraq, which, in the United States, was initially welcomed by most liberal internationalists and neoconservatives alike as a war of liberation, had never happened, and, instead, we have traveled backward in time. Remember those halcyon days of the late 1990s when Tony Blair was promising the world that in the future the West would fight wars in the name of its values, not just of its interests, in effect promising that the wars of the twenty-first century would be noble wars of altruism? If you don’t, well, don’t worry: If the war in Libya is any indication, you’ll have the chance to live them all over again. Of course, the catastrophe in Iraq was supposed to have sobered us, and made even the most ardent liberal interventionists realize that Pascal’s great phrase, “He who would act the angel, acts the beast,” expresses the stark truth about what we self-flatteringly call humanitarian interventions. But instead, here we go again. [my emphasis]
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