Monday, March 21, 2011
Michael Walzer makes the case against intervention. Meanwhile, the intervention proceeds. Although France took the lead and was the first, apparently, to drop bombs (reportedly without prior coordination with its allies), the brunt of the attack appears to have been carried by American forces. The French and British did not use cruise missiles, so far as I know, and have been flying planes from European bases rather than carriers, with aerial refueling, limiting the number of sorties. The French did apparently stop a Libyan armored column near Benghazi, however. If American forces limit their participation after several days, as promised by Obama, the French and British will be left to carry on, but Libyan air defenses have been eliminated, and Libyan forces deployed in the eastern part of the country have been decimated. The strategy, insofar as there is one, seems to be this: hope that Kadhafi's mercenary forces will see the wisdom of returning to whatever African countries they came from, while Libyan troops will see the handwriting on the wall and cease to protect the dictator. This may or may not be a sound calculation, but for now, eastern Libya seems to be safe, and a number of small towns around Tripoli are in rebel hands. But the rebels, lacking weapons and above all leadership, haven't been a very effective fighting force. So the endgame depends on the collapse/defection of Kadhafi's forces.