What next? How does this end?

How does this end?

The time at which this became a question whose answer could not be avoided was this beginning of this week. It was not in reference to a no-fly zone or any other form of international military action aimed at Libya. It was in reference to Muammar Gaddafi’s advance on Benghazi.

For those who want to draw parallels with Iraq, the equivalent question was: what happens if we don’t remove Saddam? The neocon answer, long before the war had been launched, was that Saddam possessed and was destined to use weapons of mass destruction. How does this end? If we don’t stop Saddam it could end with a mushroom cloud.

In the face of widespread skepticism, Colin Powell had to “prove” the case for WMD in front of the UN Security Council.

This time around, no one had to prove that an attack on Benghazi was imminent and very few were in doubt that if or when it happened there would be a massacre. One could debate how many lives would be lost, but it would have been hard politically or morally to say: here’s the threshold — this becomes a matter of international concern only if it’s reasonable to assume X number of casualties are likely.

As soon as it appeared highly probable that a massacre was a matter of days away, the international debate turned to the question of how this could be prevented.

The answer provided by UN Resolution 1973 is quite persuasive.

How does this end? By a massacre in Benghazi being prevented.

But now there are a flood of other questions — will this operation result in the removal of Gaddafi? What would a post-Gaddafi Libya look like? Which governments are contributing forces for enforcing the NFZ? How will the NFZ be implemented? How long will it take to put in place? What happens if Gaddafi respects a ceasefire but his opponents don’t?

When those who sought and secured the UN authorization to intervene in Libya were, just a few days ago, skeptical about intervention, it’s a bit unrealistic to believe that they now already have all the answers about how this is supposed to play out in theory, let alone predict what will actually happen.

This isn’t the culmination of a long campaign to reshape the Arab world hatched by a cabal of liberal interventionists. It is a chapter in a process that began on December 17 in Tunisia when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. Not a single person on the planet could have foreseen what that desperate act by a street vendor was going to trigger.

So to those who now vex about an intervention in Libya is going to play out, I would remind them that the drama we are now witnessing and have been following for the last three months has no script — but not only that — the fact that there’s no script is what’s good about it!

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4 thoughts on “What next? How does this end?

  1. M. Smith

    What’s next you ask Paul? Why an escalation of the War On Terror of course. Round and round and round it goes.

    American Official Warns That Qaddafi May Lash Out With New Terrorist Attacks
    Published: March 18, 2011 NY Times

    The United States is bracing for possible Libyan-backed terrorist attacks, President Obama’s top counterterrorism official said on Friday.

    The official, John O. Brennan, said that the military attacks on civilians ordered in recent days by Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, coupled with his track record as a sponsor of terrorism, had heightened worries within the administration as an international coalition threatens military action against Libya.

    Asked if American officials feared whether Colonel Qaddafi could open a new terrorism front, Mr. Brennan said: “Qaddafi has the penchant to do things of a very concerning nature. We have to anticipate and be prepared for things he might try to do to flout the will of the international community.”

  2. M. Smith

    As was the case in Bosnia as reported by many sources including Lord Owen as to the double dealing and lying by US/NATO did to thwart any chance of peaceful resolution very early in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, we are getting the same treatment in the rush to escalate the latest war. How many outlets have prominently reported the following?

    “Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — Libya on Friday called for international observers to come and verify a cease-fire that witnesses say has failed to halt deadly fighting.”

    But of course unlike the US, Britain and France paragons of truth telling and honest brokering no one can possibly take an offer like this seriously. No need to. The new Hitler is a monster and must be destroyed now! Anything that might stop the runaway interventionist train is to be suppressed, ignored or spat upon. Same ol’ same ol’.

  3. eddy mason

    You are right Paul. There is no end because there is no script because this is not the past!
    This is Libya now! And the people are now looking outside their country and saying “please help, he will kill us for seeking democracy!” This is now!
    We only have two choices, we can help or we can turn away. We can’t have a dollar each way.

  4. Colm O' Toole

    Wrong. This is the hijacking Mohamed Bouazizi’s sacrifice by NATO military interests. To equate Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself on fire in Tunisia to protest the government to Islamophobe snake Sarkozy and NATO is foolish.

    Chavez is the only world leader who warned against this days after Libyan violence when he warned the West planned to invade. At the time he was mocked for it (including by me on this site). But it appears he was 100% right.

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