had the international community not acted when it did, thousands would have been slaughtered as the world watched.First of all, it is always useful to point out that there never has been, and still isn't an "international community." And this mythical beast did not intervene in Libya. The U.S., Britain, and France did, along with some token support. There are major powers such as China who opposed intervention.
Second, I'm skeptical of the worst case scenario of mass slaughter in Benghazi. Lynch is merely repeating an assertion without much evidence behind it.
The effects of that decision would have been felt across the Middle East, where America would have been deemed to have abandoned the people struggling for freedom in the Arab world.America is going to be blamed by those who want to blame it for something, regardless of what we do. And it is far from clear exactly what Libyan rebels are fighting for other than getting rid of Gaddafi.
And it would have quite simply been wrong.Another unfounded assumption. Libya is in no way our responsibility. There would have been nothing wrong with recognizing that and choosing not to intervene in its civil war.
My conversations with administration officials, including but not limited to the one recounted by the indefatigable Laura Rozen, convinced me that they believed that a failure to act when and how they did would have led to a horrific slaughter in Benghazi and then across Libya.Lynch is easily taken in by administration propaganda. Obviously administration officials are going to stress the absolute worst-case to justify intervention.
There was no mad rush to war, and certainly no master plan to invade Libya to grab its oil.The only people that think there was are the usual anti-American types. That charge is so ridiculous it isn't even worth a response.
The administration resisted intervening militarily until they had no choiceOf course it had a choice. It chose to intervene in a civil war where no clear American interests were at stake. It there were, why was it so difficult to define them? Why did the president wait so long to even offer up a muddled rationale in his speech last night?
And my conversations with Arab activists and intellectuals, and my monitoring of Arab media and internet traffic, have convinced me that the intervention was both important and desirable.What Arab activists and intellectuals think should be one of the very last considerations as to why we should commit U.S. forces to intervene in someone's civil war.
The administration understood, better than their critics, that Libya had become a litmus test for American credibility and intentions, with an Arab public riveted to al-Jazeera.Oh please. Does Lynch really think the U.S. is going to get some sort of credit for its actions in Libya?
This administration is all too aware of the dangers of mission creep, escalation, and the ticking clock on Arab and international support which so many of us have warned against. They don't want another Iraq, as Obama made clear.... even if it is not obvious that they can avoid one.Don't make me laugh. This administration is clueless and oblivious. They can't even articulate a cohesive message or offer any sort of effective leadership. Why should we believe a foreign policy incompetent like Obama has the slightest idea about the unintended consequences of his actions?
Thanks to al-Jazeera's intense focus on Libya, literally the whole Arab world was watching, dictators and publics alike. Not acting would have been a powerful action which would have haunted America's standing in the region for a decade.Not acting would have sent a much needed message the U.S. doesn't intervene in areas when its national interests are not at stake. Lynch has a ridiculously naive and misplaced faith in rationality of the Arab world. Again, we aren't going to get any more support because of this action.
many of the same people now denouncing the intervention would have been up in arms at America's indifference to Arab life -- it is all too easy to imagine denunciations such as "the dream of the Cairo speech died in the streets of Benghazi as Barack Obama proved that he does not care about Muslim lives."Thanks for making my point. The same people saying one thing anti-American, would be saying something else anti-American. Our intervention or lack thereof just changes the focus of their anti-Americanism, not the substance.
The rest of the article partially undermines his own argument. These lines stand out.
The administration hasn't done a great job communicating its position, particularly on the question of whether or not Qaddafi's departure is the goal (I personally think it has to be). While I hope that today's London meeting will produce more clarity on a political path forward, I haven't seen much to suggest one yet.Yeah, those are some big understatements.
The bottom line is that no one has put forth a convincing argument for why intervening in Libya was necessary for U.S. interests. In my opinion, the weakness of Lynch's arguments, which are based largely on exaggerating the effects of non-intervention, and wishful thinking about its supposedly positive effect on the Arab world, reinforce the case that U.S. involvement was not necessary. This action is a example of typical liberal "do-gooder" policy. It's rooted primarily in emotionalism and the idea that we have to "do something," even if that something isn't well-thought out, sets bad precedents, and risks all sorts of unintended consequences.