100 Days in Libya and Counting

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Thoughts on the conflict as it reaches a milestone the American people never expected

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1) The NATO campaign in Libya turns 100 days old today. It's as good a time as any to ask about the end game. Is Muammar Qaddafi going to retain power, and perhaps seek vengeance on America? Or is he going to be deposed or killed? Can the country transition peacefully to a new government? Are the Islamist radicals among the rebels going to be empowered? Might post-Gaddafi Libya descend into anarchy? These are questions I'd have urged my Congressman to ask during deliberations over whether to wage war if Pres. Obama hadn't robbed us of that process.

2) The White House continues to insist that American ground troops won't be deployed in Libya, and that we aren't trying to assassinate Gaddafi. Over the weekend, House Armed Services Committee member Mike Turner (R-Ohio) claimed otherwise. The top admiral in the conflict reported that NATO forces are trying to kill Gaddafi, and that his demise may necessitate ground troops, Turner said.

3) Josh Rogin offers important context about last week's failed House resolution to defund the war in Libya:

The vote failed 180-238 - but, in fact, there were more than enough lawmakers to pass the measure. Of the 149 Democrats who stuck with the president, up to 70 of them are totally opposed to the Libya intervention and want to see it completely defunded as soon as possible. They voted "no" on the Rooney's bill because they thought it was too weak, did not cut off all funds, and implicitly authorized the intervention. These 70 Democrats make up the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, whose leadership includes Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

"Members of Congress voted no because the bill provided funding and legal authority for everything we're currently doing. It was back door authorization. Members didn't support authorizing what we're doing now in Libya," Michael Shank, Honda's spokesman, told The Cable. "The majority of the CPC voted no on the Rooney vote because of this." In other words, if the GOP had put forth a stronger anti-Libya resolution, the progressive Democrats would have joined them and it would have passed. Despite what Clinton or other administration officials may say, the bill's failure cannot be seen as an endorsement of the Libya war.
Daniel Larison concurs. So does Glenn Greenwald.

4) The conflict also continues to feed a resurgence of foreign policy realism on the right - George Will, Tony Blankley, Colin Deuck, and Tom Skypek are all in on the action. Less momentously, it sparked this Bloggingheads.TV conversation between Reihan Salam and me:



Image credit: Reuters

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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