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But, to be fair, if your position is that getting involved in the Libyan civil war to the extent we have was a mistake, don't you then have to acknowledge that what would have happened otherwise would have been a better outcome?

Specifically, if the international community had stood by idly and not intervened, Gaddhafi's air, artillery and armor would have rolled up the rebels, first in Misrata and ultimately in Benghazi, and I think we would be safe in assuming a high rate of civilian casualties, incarceration and torture.

At this point I think it's still very clear that the intervention has been a success - thousands of lives saved, and with the international support the rebels are moving inexorably toward Tripoli. Now, it might still be a disaster, and even after Gaddhafi is killed (there's no other even slightly likely outcome) a political solution will certainly not be easy, but I when I think about how I'd be feeling about the whole process if we had stood by and allowed the loyalists to crush the rebellion, I'm ok with where we are so far...


@Mikey, yes, I think so. I think my position entails countenancing Gadhafi massacring Benghazi and putting down the opposition. I won't pretend that doesn't trouble me, and I won't also pretend -- as I've seen other war opponents attempt -- that such a massacre wouldn't necessarily have happened. Intellectual honesty and all that.

I don't think it's very clear the intervention has been a success by any measure. If the point is to arrest a massacre, then unless you believe that Gadhafi will somehow change his entire approach to the Libyan revolution, you've got to fight to oust him. Congratulations: you now own Libya, another fractious country we don't understand. Generally, it's best to avoid wars where the worst-case scenario is that you win.

That's not to say the Libya war is a disaster, or a moral emergency. It's to say that strategically, this war is a blinking red light.

Doug M.

I don't think it's clear the intervention has been a success. From an American POV, I don't think you can (yet) call it a failure either. Qaddafi has been losing ground steadily, the various rebel groups are in a loose but functional federation under the NTC, and the US hasn't suffered a single (acknowledged) casualty.

I didn't support this intervention, myself. But I don't think it's going all that badly. It'll get interesting when the rebels start moving into areas that are dominated by the tribes traditionally supportive of Qaddafi's regime. At that point, we'll see (1) whether those guys are so sick of Qaddafi they're willing to accept a new regime, even if it means they're no longer necessarily on top; and (2) if they're not, how well the rebel coalition will deal with that fact.

If the answers to (1) and (2) are "no, they're not" and "with oppression and massacre", then yeah, there's a problem. But we don't know that yet.

One straw in the wind: the NTC has been dealing surprisingly well with the concept of large groups of armed Berbers. Since Qaddafi's government went far out it its way to oppress, demonize, and marginalize the Berbers -- everyone under the age of 50 has grown up being told that Berbers are a bunch of dimwitted, treacherous primitives who Aren't Really Libyan -- this is cause for at least modest, tentative optimism.

Doug M.

Dominic Caraccilo

There is very little trash in the streets, many more people in the markets and shops, and children have returned to school.

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