AS PREDICTABLE AS THE SUNRISE…. Bill Kristol is calling for strikes on Libyan military forces. Who would’ve guessed?
“I think at this point you probably have to do more than a no-fly zone. You probably have to tell Qaddafi he has to stop his movement east and that we are going to use assets to stop him from slaughtering people as he moves east across the country. We might take out his ships in the Mediterranean. We might take out tanks and artillery.”
At least the pattern holds — those who’ve been repeatedly proven wrong on foreign policy and national security have no qualms claiming credibility and calling for more wars.
For what it’s worth, I’ve found the White House’s caution on Libya quite prudent, Republican criticism notwithstanding. We have many modern examples of U.S. administrations — H.W. Bush in 1991 comes to mind — saber-rattling from a distance and generating uprisings, before a meaningful plan is in place.
In the case of Libya, it appears U.S. officials were particularly interested in the judgment of the Arab League. Yesterday, the bloc raised its voice.
The Arab League asked the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to impose a no-flight zone over Libya in hopes of halting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s attacks on his own people, providing the rebels a tincture of hope even as they were driven back from a long stretch of road and towns they had captured in the three-week war.
The extraordinary move by the 22-nation bloc — an extremely rare invitation for Western military forces on Arab territory — increases the pressure on the Obama administration, which has been reluctant to intervene in a war that could turn out to be prolonged and complex.
However, by inviting the West to take such action, it also clears the way for the United States and Europe to press for a strong Security Council resolution and to counter the objections of China and Russia, which traditionally oppose foreign intervention in a country’s internal disputes.
The Arab League concluded, among other things, that the Libyan government had “lost its sovereignty.”
The White House issued a statement in response to the Arab League’s request, calling it an “important step” that sends “a clear message that the violence in Libya must stop, and that the Gadhafi regime must be held accountable.”