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"I am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on it. I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it’s not a choice that I make lightly. But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misurata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government," - president Obama.

I watched the president stand idly by as countless young Iranians were slaughtered, imprisoned, tortured and bludgeoned by government thugs by day and night. I believed that this was born of a strategy that understood that, however horrifying it was to watch the Iranian bloodbath, it was too imprudent to launch military action to protect a defenseless people against snipers, murderers and torturers.

Now I am told that "we cannot stand idly by" as tyrants tell their people they will be given no mercy. And so one comes to terms with the fact that this administration is willing to throw out its entire strategy and principles in this period of Middle Eastern revolt - in defense of rebels about whom we know almost nothing, whose strategy is violence, not nonviolence, and whose ability to resist Qaddafi even with Western help is unknowable.

My exasperation and anger is not because I want Obama to fail; but because I want him to succeed. But the views of any blogger, or of the American people, or the US Congress seem irrelevant to this. We live in an empire, it must simply be conceded, in which the emperor gets to tell us, after the fact, that we have embarked on a brutal, bloody war against a madman who holds almost all the cards on the ground. God help us.

I'd say the odds of Clinton making it through a single term as secretary of state have declined; and the odds of a primary challenge to Obama have risen.

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