Many have understandably contextualized this new war with respect to the Arab 1848. But it is also, to my mind, vital to see it in a larger context that really does impinge on national security: the war against Jihadism. Will this new war help or hinder us in that larger generational effort? To my mind, the great achievement of the Obama administration in two short years has been to remove the US from what has been a remarkable moment of Arab popular maturation against the corruption, violence and tyranny they live under. This was an Arab moment, to be seized by Arabs. They were finally to own their own victories and seek their own freedoms, without Western intervention.
Now, for understandable moral reasons, that strategic recalibration is at risk. There's a danger of this intervention, with its inevitable civilian casualties and unknowable future acts by the rebels we barely know, will revive the entire paradigm of the West vs Arabs. Maybe Qaddafi is pariah enough that we will avoid this. But the dangers remain. Greenwald:
As for Brennan's warning that this action may trigger Terrorist attacks on the U.S., I suppose -- just as was true for the similar 2003 warnings -- that this is a possible repercussion of our intervention. But doesn't that really underscore the key point?
If we really want to transform how we're perceived in that part of the world, and if we really want to reduce the Terrorist threat, isn't the obvious solution to stop sending our fighter jets and bombs and armies to that part of the world rather than finding a new Muslim country to target for war on a seemingly annual basis? I have no doubt that some citizens who support the intervention in Libya are doing so for purely humanitarian and noble reasons, just as was true for some supporters of the effort to remove the truly despicable Saddam Hussein. But the intentions of those who support the war shed little light on the motives of those who prosecute the war and even less light on what its ultimate outcomes will be.