Why Libya and Not Darfur, Yemen, Iran or Syria?

By David Harsanyi

Contrary to pithy bumper-sticker truisms, war is occasionally the answer. But can anyone explain why it’s the answer now? At the moment, at least, polls insist that Americans are generally supportive of the United States’ intervening in the civil war now raging in Libya, so someone must have an ironclad case.

President Barack Obama pins his rationale for intervention on a “humanitarian threat.” A noble cause, no doubt. It’s too bad that the folks in old Darfur missed out on those laser-guided missiles American and French fighter jets deploy to help avert massacre and man-made hunger. Maybe the victims didn’t say please. Maybe the city dwellers of Pyongyang will be more convincing.

But this mission is creeping. Only days after suggesting the goal wasn’t to remove Moammar Gadhafi, the White House now says the objective is regime change and a democratic system. If the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that democracy projects tend to be expensive, open-ended investments. So when we’re invested without there being any perceivable threat to the United States and without our having had a debate or congressional deliberation on the topic — by a president who sprang to national prominence voicing exactly those grievances — it seems that we’d be more outraged or inquisitive or, at least, cautious.

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Categories: Africa, Libya

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