Max Boot says the U.S. is too slow on Libya The United States' delayed recognition of the rebel government in Libya is indicative of a general "'lead from behind' doctrine," writes Max Boot in The Wall Street Journal. The president committed to military action only after weeks of rebel lobbying. "With the president of the U.S. having called for Gadhafi's ouster, our failure to deliver is making us look ineffectual," Boot argues. "It discourages democrats across the Middle East and encourages tyrants." The United States should step up its war effort to conclude the operation more swiftly, he says, and then, taking lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq, remain invested in preventing an insurgency from developing in the absence of a dictator.
Dana Milbank on the confirmation of a gay man to the federal bench The confirmation of Paul Oetken, the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench, was "remarkable," notes Dana Milbank in The Washington Post, because it was so uncontroversial. "When the lopsided vote tally of 80-13 was read out, there was no cheer or reaction of any kind," Milbank says. "Senators continued their conversations as if nothing unusual had happened." A lesbian was appointed to the bench in 1994, Milbank notes, but her sexual orientation was not mentioned during her confirmation. Oetken is more outspoken about his own sexual orientation in his legal work. Some senators mentioned it in their remarks, but others spoke of his credentials without mention of the topic. Socially conservative senators like Tom Coburn, Milbank points out, also voted for him. "It would be premature to believe that Oetken’s easy confirmation heralds some new post-sexual era in American politics," Milbank warns. "But it was a signal moment nonetheless. The nominee's sexual orientation was deemed unimportant -- or at least less important than his moderate politics and his pro-business record."