Tuesday, March 22, 2011

what do we do about libya?

I want to admit to something. I admit I am confused on how I feel about the bombing on libya.

I know how I ought to feel. I ought to be outraged that obama has reneged on what we took to be his promise to be more thoughtful and cautious in putting the us into war mode again--and say what you will, opening a 3rd warfront when you don't have a handle on the other 2 is anything but thoughtful or cautious. my knee-jerk response is that war is wrong--nearly all war--and the bombing strikes on tripoli don't satisfy what I think a just war ought to condone, namely that it is pinpoint strategic in its retaliation (and it ought to be retaliation rather than first-strike) and fought on as level a field as possible. this is neither.

but I also ought to feel compassion for the people being killed by gaddafi's forces and I ought to understand that fighting against evil is never a neat and peaceful thing. that gaddafi has been allowed to rule libya far too long is something I couldn't argue against--as I couldn't argue against the assertion that robert mugabe has ruled too long or that kim jong il has ruled too long or another dozen names. paraphrasing barry goldwater, "inaction in the face of injustice is no virtue." when a leader kills his people--whether saddam hussein, slobodan milosovic, augusto pinochet, fernando marcos--he loses the diffidence awarded any leader and becomes a doer of evil whose regime must end as quickly and as humanely as possible.

thus the conundrum I face: attacking gaddafi to bring his leadership to an end is a good, bombing his people to accomplish it is not. hence I become that unusual creature, a person with opinions who admits that, in this case, I simply do not know yet what my opinion is. I do not deny for a moment I am lucky to have that luxury.

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