robin_d_laws (robin_d_laws) wrote,
robin_d_laws
robin_d_laws

This Survey of Myself Has a Margin of Error

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Polls show that the American public approves of the current western military intervention in Libya by only a 50% margin. I can relate. Only 50% of me thinks it’s the right choice.

The case for or against the action is to an unusual degree entirely prudential. On a moral or emotional level, it’s hard to root for any outcome other than the ouster of the Gadaffi family. Even alien reptoids would be preferable to those guys. So the question then turns on whether the campaign will achieve its ends, and at how great a cost in lives and resources. That’s beyond expert agreement, much less the discernment of the casual observer.

Accordingly, I am prepared to issue the following statement:

I will have approved of the present military campaign all along, once it becomes clear that it has worked essentially as planned.

Whew, that’s my bases covered.

This action earns the distinction of managing to split both American political parties. Establishment Democrats are mostly for it. Anti-war progressives are against it. The Republican side divides between neocon and pro-military tendencies on one hand, with the anti-Obama partisans shoring up the usually thin crowd of isolationists on the other. Showing impressive flexibility, some pols have courageously and simultaneously embraced both points of view.

It’s in tough calls like this that personalities of officials tip the final balance. A double Clinton lobbying effort made this happen. Bill Clinton wishes he’d acted in Rwanda. He regularly frames his Kosovo intervention as the result of that lesson. It informed this process too.

A key selling point of Obama as the anti-Bush was his fondness for Lincoln and his proverbial cabinet of rivals. Drawing a contrast with his predecessor, he portrayed himself as someone who would surround himself with strong, independent advisers. He would make up his mind only after letting them go at it.

Where the course is unclear, the most passionate advocate generally wins. Here that was Hillary Clinton.

In the end, then, these airstrikes can be chalked up as Abe Lincoln’s response to Rwanda.

Here's hoping that the ambivalence concludes with justice and a minimal loss of life.

Tags: current events, politics hut, war
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