The Libya Strategy That-Shall-Not-Be-Named


Like Andrew, I'm ambivalent about military action in Libya -- not because the cause isn't just, but because Libya does not pose a significant national security threat to the United States (as Ross Douthat discusses here). And I'm ambivalent because we don't know the game plan. To borrow from David Petraeus in another context, if someone would tell me how we win this, I'd feel a lot better. That said (and like Andrew, once again) I'm pleased about the military advances we've seen against Qaddafi's atrocious attempt to murder his own country (though, of course, these advances can be reversed). And I'm hoping that President Obama's speech tonight lays out the next several steps. I was on This Week with Jake Tapper on ABC yesterday morning, and George Will noted, correctly, that so far, our strategy seems to be: Create a vacuum, and hope that something good fills it.

I noted, in this conversation, that the Obama Administration is actually engaged in the Strategy-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, which is to say, regime change. The Administration, which has done the right thing by intervening, will deny this, of course, and for good political reasons. But this is, nonetheless, the road we're on. Better to acknowledge this openly, and prepare for the changes ahead, then make believe that everything is in the hands of an opposition about which we know very little. If we are helping to rip the lid off of Libya, we should be deeply engaged in figuring out what comes next.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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