April 22, 2015


For a bit of Sunday afternoon quarterbacking, let’s excerpt this from March 22 2011, by Adam Garfinkle of The American Interest:

As noted, there is a regional and tribal element to the fight in Libya. It is unlikely that the Benghazi-based rebels could by themselves establish stable control over the whole country. It is almost as unlikely that the Tripolitanian tribes could re-establish firm control over Cyrenaica. Qaddafi managed the feat through a combination of patronage, terror and cooptation. That will be a very hard act to follow in the wake of so much bloodletting. We are therefore looking into the maw of a Libya that may well be divided, in the throes of some kind of protracted, at least low-level civil war, and that could very easily produce an insurgency spilling over the Egyptian and Tunisian borders—complete with refugees, the usual dysfunctional NGO triage operations and all the rest. And in due course, if the fractious mess lasts long enough, there is a reasonable prospect that al-Qaeda will find a way to establish a foothold amid the mayhem.

Who will want to send in peacekeepers to baby-sit a Libya that looks like that? Who’ll want to go to the UN to get the job authorized? The African Union?

Now, given that this sort of problem is foreseeable, and that it was also foreseeable before the cruise missiles started flying on Saturday, it stands to reason that a responsible, serious government will have thought about all this in advance, and come up with some plan for the post-combat “Phase IV” of the Libyan War, right? Not on your life; the President and his war council almost certainly have not even begun to think about this sort of thing, because they’re still in denial that it could happen. This is, after all, just a limited, humanitarian mission as far as they’re concerned. They don’t realize it yet, but these guys are on a path to make even Donny Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks look good—and you thought that was impossible.

Well, no I didn’t.

Maguire’s conclusion: “The guy who got elected on ‘No More Iraqs’ gave us a new Iraq (and lost the original one!). With Hillary at his side encouraging our involvement.”

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