Thursday, August 25, 2011

PLI03 - The Responsibilitising

The United States has no troops in Libya, which means our men and women in uniform do not find themselves at the center of — or responsible for — what will inevitably be a messy and possibly dangerous aftermath. Our forces did not suffer a single casualty. The military action by the West that was crucial to the rebels was a genuine coalition effort led by Britain and France. This was not a made-by-America revolution, and both we and the Middle East are better for that.  -  EJ Dionne, Washington Post, 24th August

The result is irrelevant - we were right to attack.  Having an exit strategy from Libya was nothing like as important as the urgent need to save huge numbers of lives...  (Before the war) there were as many people who said that, well, yes, they agreed that Colonel Gaddafi is a very bad person, and yes, on balance it would be a good thing to get rid of him, but despite this, intervention was most imprudent.  And the reason? We didn't have an exit strategy... I never thought the lack of an exit strategy was a good objection in the first place...  It would have been the right thing to do even if there had been an impasse.  - Daniel Finkelstein, Times, 24th August

Looks like Nick Clegg was right when he said that lessons had been learned from Iraq, certainly among the pundit class, if nowhere else.

Lots of opinion columnists wound up looking pretty silly when they imprudently declared that Iraq would only be a success if it wound up producing a model democracy, a beacon for those benighted souls of the region still suffering dictatorship, or if those phantom nukes and anthrax bombs eventually showed up.  Incautious statements like that made repeatedly declaring victory at regular intervals for the next few years a tricky proposition, in the Google era.

It looks to me like parts of yer pundit class have found a way to avoid all that boring "consequences" nonsense - simply declare absolute vindication while the country is enjoying the fun and fireworks of victory, then turn off your TV and proclaim that anything that happens afterwards is irrelevant.

We won!  Just rejoice at that news.

Ah, opinion journalism - stuff like this always reminds me of that F. Scott Fitzgerald description, the one I always haul out on occasions like this...
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.  

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