The "Do Something" Brigade

Hitchens wants intervention in Libya. His strongest point:

The wealth that Qaddafi is squandering is the by-product of decades of collusion with foreign contractors. The weapons that he is employing against civilians were not made in Libya; they were sold to him by sophisticated nations. Other kinds of weaponry have been deployed by Qaddafi in the past against civil aviation and to supply a panoply of nihilistic groups as far away as Ireland and the Philippines. This, too, gives us a different kind of stake in the outcome. Even if Qaddafi basked in the unanimous adoration of his people, he would not be entitled to the export of violence. Moreover, his indiscriminate barbarism, and the effect of its subsequent refugee crisis on neighboring countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, ipso facto constitutes an intervention in the internal affairs of others and a threat to peace in the region. 

Then let Egypt and Tunisia deal with it. Yet another direct Western military intervention seems to me, illustrates how the legacy of colonialism and post-colonial cynicism can promote more intervention and more neo-colonialism and even more cynicism (among Arabs and Westerners). If the point is that the West is responsible for much of this violence - and we bear major responsibility for propping up Arab dictators for so long - and that therefore we have a duty to rectify it, it's hard to know where the West would ever draw the line. And after trying to bring order to Iraq and Afghanistan - Hitch thinks the nightmarish world of Libya is where we should now send troops. Hitch inveighs:

Does one have to go over all the arguments again, as if Rwanda and Bosnia and Kurdistan had never happened?

Er, yes. Notice the missing, more recent example - Iraq. The identical argument was made, remember, about Saddam. Our very previous complicity demanded our intervention, we were told and some of us believed, regardless of the consequences. In fact, nowhere in the piece does Hitch weigh the unintended consequences of getting militarily entangled in a non-country, run by terror and tribes, with little hope for a stable government or civil society in the near future. This is a strange case of liberal angst fusing with neoconservative hopes with the result of constant warfare. It perpetuates a cycle we can never stop - a cycle of endless war and occupations. If we cannot stop it here, where can we?

Tom Ricks, somewhat surprisingly, also wants to "do something" about Libya although he isn't ready to impose a no-fly zone. What he labels the "best option":

Give the Libyan rebels the aid they need to win. This may be no more than some secure communications gear and a couple of thousand rocket-propelled grenades to deter Qaddafi's tanks and SUVs. (This may be already happening in some form.) Can we start flying discreet charter flights of stuff into some airports in the east? This needs to be ready to go ASAP -- like yesterday.