Foreign Policy, I love you, but you're killing me here. You aren't just declaring "Libya After Gadhafi," you're describing what it'll look like ten years from now. My dude Robert Haddick from SWJ is pondering the Libya war as a "model" for future intervention. You've got a traffic-bait slideshow headlined "Triumph In Tripoli." For 24 hours now, you've chewed over the question of whether the Libya war was worth it. ("Absolutely," you judge.)
Nor are you alone. The Atlantic, another quality publication, has published its own Lessons of the Libya war. In proper Atlantic fashion, some of its bloggers are already moving to third-order questions of its political benefit for the Obama administraion.
And maybe you can't be blamed. Obama declared Gadhafi's rule all but over yesterday. A NATO presser this morning bragged that "he's not a key player any more."
But look: the war isn't over yet. Leave aside the really relevant question of a potential revanchist insurgency. The rebels don't have Saif Gadhafi, they don't have Moammar Gadhafi, and they haven't demonstrated they can hold Tripoli. How can we draw lessons from an unconcluded war?
Emotionally, I would really like this war to be over as well. Gadhafi is a piece of shit, and I didn't think the U.S. should have gotten involved in the first place. And I get -- believe me -- the overwhelming competitive pressure to write a piece that will be relevant 36-48 hours after publication during fluid events.
But this isn't helping anyone understand why there's still a battle in Tripoli. I know you don't want to look like you're waving a 'Mission Accomplished' banner, right? Just consider it. You can even laugh at me if by the end of the day/week the Gadhafi era really is over and the war is concluded and good stuff proceeds onward.