Thursday, March 17, 2011

Is It Better Late Than Never?

There are so many items in the news that we can discuss these days that is is difficult to find a topic to write about without coming across an article or a blog where someone has written about it already and either said exactly what we wanted to say, or said it better!  Japan had dominated the news for several days, so we've decided to do a little piece on Libya.

We can't write about Libya without recalling a couple of friends of ours who lived there in the 1960s, and knew the country well.  In fact, their eldest child was born in Tripoli.  Our friend had once been forced to leave the country because there had been some sort of uprising which always led her to joke, "You know those Arabs, they're always revolting!"  The double entendre would always make us laugh.  Little did we know what a thorn in the side of America those Arab countries would eventually become. 

If for no other reason than to stop our dependency on Arabs for oil, we'd love for our nation to become completely independent in providing our own energy resources.  We're still not quite convinced that anyone really knows where these revolts will lead.  Most journalists whom we read and hear, say that it is a "pro democracy movement."  We are sure that the Cuban university students who began to revolt against the Batista Dictatorship  in the 1950s believed that democracy was coming.  Instead they found themselves fleeing an even worse dictator -- one who brought communism to the Western Hemisphere, a nuclear threat to America, and exported socialist and communist ideology to other countries in Central and South America. 

We have no assurances that the rebels in Libya are really seeking to bring democracy to that country.  We are sure that their intent from the very beginning was to oust Muammar Qaddafi, but if they succeed what sort of government would they install in his place?  After Afghanistan and Iraq, we don't believe that America should be involved in yet another ground war in the Middle East.  Although our soldiers have succeeded in ousting the Taliban and restoring some sense of freedom to the Afghan people, the Taliban has not been completely vanquished.  After the sneak attack on 9/11/01, the success of  "Operation Shock and Awe" gave us a good feeling of payback.  

It was the same for putting Saddam Hussein on the run, finding him, trying him, and then  having him put to death, ending his reign of terror over the Iraqi people.  Even though liberals like to parrot, "But they never found any WMD!" we believe they did.  Hussein himself was a major WMD.  Not only did he brutally kill his own people, but he also  harbored terrorists who would then go on to commit devastating crimes against America and other nations in the free world.  September 11, 2001, changed all of our lives forever.  Whether we admit it or not, our way of life has not been the same since then.

Tonight the United Nations  Security Council approved a "No Fly" zone over Libya.  However, President Obama is still going on vacation to Central and South America on Saturday.  The Libyan rebels have begged for support against Qaddafi's Air Force for days on end.  Our government has been non committal.  For once France took the lead where the US had always done so before. The world simply could not stand by and watch as Muammar Qaddafi slaughtered the rebel forces  with his air superiority.  A "No Fly" zone would, many thought, level the playing field.  But is it too little to late? 

In a commentary in The Weekly Standard Blog, editor William Kristol writes a very compelling argument for issuing the order for a "No Fly" zone.  Because involvement in enforcing a "No Fly" zone over Libya might be construed by some as an act of war, we expect the usual suspects to come out and protest American involvement in this "aggression" by the United States.  It is bound to happen, especially when so many of our voters and politicians seem to take direction from Hollywood actors and  "peaceful" labor unions.  

We support the "No Fly" zone as a humanitarian gesture.  Genocide is not something we can disregard, and Qadaffi did turn his guns on the people of Libya, destroying towns and cities and killing many.  Mr. Kristol believes that "It is better late than never."  We question:  Is it?  We believe that Mr. Kristol adequately answers our query.

Two Sisters. 

Better Late Than Never
by William Kristol

Conservatives should keep pushing the Obama administration to act in Libya.

Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air is understandably exasperated and angered by the Obama administration's "lack of leadership and the vacillation" on Libya, to say nothing of their "weakness and incompetence." I couldn't agree more with his exasperation and anger—and reading team Obama's juvenile excuses and shallow rationalizations for not having acted until now (see, e.g. today's New York Times article) made me not just angry but almost sick this morning.

The fact is, we don't know that it's too late to affect the outcome in Libya. A combination of no-fly and no-drive zones, and a willingness to use force at least to prevent Qaddafi from conquering the Bengazi enclave, could well still make a difference. And as Max Boot explains, getting to a standoff might still lay the groundwork for the defeat of Qaddafi. So we shouldn't excuse the Obama administration from acting today or tomorrow because they should have acted two weeks ago.

The outcome in Libya remains too important for U.S. interests (Qaddafi in power after all this, with all the resources he has, is a nightmare in terms of terror and even weapons of mass destruction), U.S. principles, and the future of the Middle East, for us to give up hope now. Believing the Obama administration might still do the right thing, and do it moderately effectively, may involve the audacity of hope—but better that than the resignation of despair. Because the Obama administration's failure will be America's failure, for which we could pay a price for a long time.

© Copyright 2011 The Weekly Standard
William Kristol is the editor of The Weekly Standard and frequent member of the Special Report with Brett Baier discussion panel on Fox News.  To read more of Mr. Kristol's editorials visit

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