A reader writes:

Like you, I've been appalled by the screeching coming from neocons and Hitchenites who have been advocating blindly for the U.S. to intervene with no regard for the past. But you should take note as well that many of the neocons and other have been screaming for not just foreign intervention, but unilateral U.S. intervention if necessary. But Obama is not them, and he has shown time and again that he is smarter and more judicious than they are. Obama has remained collected, reserved, and judicious about this, where other presidents might have felt compelled to look "strong". He did not, as some advocated, rush to give unilateral military aid and arms to the rebels. And he's now put the U.S. in a position, at least conceptually, to potentially lend support to an intervention led by other countries but without the U.S. having to "own" the intervention.

Whether that is possible, we'll just have to see. But notice that unlike Clinton in the case of Bosnia, and unlike Bush in the case of Iraq II, Obama has managed to get something his predecessors could not: UN support for what could be a major multilateral intervention led by states other than the U.S. Doesn't this remind you in some ways of how he handled healthcare, and succeeded where his predecessors had failed, to do something of real significance through patience, reserve, and a commitment to process? Like the health-care bill, this no-fly zone may very well have many things wrong with it. But Obama has proved me wrong so many times before, that I'm going to wait a bit before turning against this too fast, even though I'm skeptical.

I hope to God you're right. But we don't know, do we? We don't even know why the president made this decision - or whether indeed he made it at all. We are at war without the president even informing us of the fact, let alone explaining why, and how we get out, and what our goals are, and how we will pay for it. Whatever else this is, it is antithetical to democratic accountability. Another writes:

Calm down. It is an unfunded, unpopular, undeclared war against a Middle Eastern country that has absolutely no positive effect on our national security. What could possibly go wrong?

(Photo: The United Nations Security Council votes on a Libya resolution calling for a no-fly zone and "all necessary measures" against forces loyal to Moamer Kadhafi, March 17, 2011 at UN headquarters in New York. The vote was 10-yes and 5 abstained - China, Russia, Germany, Brazil and India. By Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

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