It’s not that I can’t justify it; nor is it that I think it unwise; it’s just that I can’t understand how anybody who thought that intervention in Iraq was a bad idea, could think that intervention in Libya isn’t.
In both cases, there was a humanitarian crisis to be averted. In Libya, we struck during a time of heated internal tensions. In Iraq, we struck pre-emptively. There had been ongoing trouble there, and we failed to support the rebellion before after the CIA promised them support. Most likely, there would be trouble again.
In both cases, there is oil involved. If tensions continue, petroleum speculators will continue to drive up the prices worldwide. Both Libya and Iraq are members of OPEC.
In both cases, we had a no-fly zone. After keeping one in place over Iraq for something like twelve years while continually being shot at, we eventually had to put troops on the ground. Even though Obama has promised not to put in ground troops, I don’t believe future presidents will adhere to his promises.
In both cases, the UN was with us (at least officially). I was around during the Iraq war and I remember Bush getting approval from the UN for drastic action should Saddam break the treaty one more time. Of course, Saddam did, the USA, UK, Australia, and others went to war, and the French and Germans refused to uphold their obligations. After this, the Democrats rewrote history, but I still remember.
In both cases, the leaders of said countries had funded terrorist groups against western interests. Much ado was made over the fact that we have no evidence explicitly linking Saddam with 9/11, but we do know that the Iraqi government had aided Al-Queada with training supplies in the past.
The two countries are the same in many ways, but where they differ, it seems that intervention in Iraq made more sense.
It was believed by the CIA, British intelligence, and by many inside the Iraqi government itself, that Saddam was building weapons of mass destruction. This turned out to be false, but Saddam had acted guilty, kicking out the UN inspectors repeatedly, engaging in sloppy cover-ups, so I can’t blame Bush or anyone else for thinking Iraq was a threat. Libya seems not nearly so much a threat.
It was believed at the time by some that the war in Iraq would be over quickly (a cakewalk), that it would be an example of American power to nearby countries, intimidating them into compliance, and that it would be a beacon of freedom, democracy, peace, and prosperity to nearby people and an example to follow. We now know from experience how badly things can go in these types of countries (especially when we don’t use enough force as we failed to do before the Petraeus strategy). By limiting us to a no-fly zone, Obama may be setting us up for another disaster.
When we went into Iraq, we were already bogged down in Afghanistan with rising debt, and Bush was criticized for this. Now we are bogged down in Afghanistan, Iraq, economic turmoil, and even more rising debt (much of it to foreign powers). How much more appropriate it is to criticize Obama!
I understand that there is a school of thought that both actions were good ideas. I understand that there is another school of thought that both actions were bad ideas. I understand that there is a middle ground for those that think war with Iraq was good and war with Libya is bad. What I cannot understand is how anyone who was against the war in Iraq could be for war with Libya. Did Obama learn something new? Is he being dishonest? Was he dishonest before? I don’t understand; why are we in Libya?