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George Will: We Have Intervened In A Civil War In A Country We Do Not Understand

This morning, it took George Will about a minute to lay out the case against Operation Odyssey Dawn:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: “George. Do you think this was the right thing to do?”

GEORGE WILL: “I do not. We have intervened in a tribal society in a civil war. And we’ve taken sides in that civil war on behalf of people we do not know or understand. For the purpose not avowed, but inexorably of creating a political vacuum by decapitating the government. Into that vacuum, what will flow we do not know and cannot know.”

That would pretty much sum it up.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Was it true in 1986 as well?

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  2. […] Outside the Beltway […]

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  3. John,

    Operation El Dorado Canyon was a one-off military attack meant to retaliate against Gaddafi for his involvement in the attack on the Berlin Disco that killed American soldiers and other acts of terrorism. It wasn’t intended, and never became, an effort to overthrow his government or assist a rebel uprising.

    The current operation is a very different animal with very different long term commitments awaiting us at the end

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  4. john personna says:

    Is this the kind of technique they tell law students to use in front of stupid juries? Name a bunch of extraneous differences and claim they are distinctions?

    None of that matters. We are not “invading” Libya. We are not even “orchestrating.”

    We are “supporting” primarily France and Britain in a UN action.

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  5. john personna says:

    (You know, in another thread michael talks about what this means for us, if it goes pear-shaped, as if we owned it. That’s so dumb. What does this mean for France and Britain if it goes pear-shaped? That’s the question.)

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  6. john personna says:

    Note: We left bodies in Libya in 1986, and walked away. We didn’t just leave empty Tomahawk shells.

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  7. michael reynolds says:

    JP:

    I don’t buy that this is a France/UK thing and we’re just tagging along. If that were true, what was Hillary doing on a tour through NA that just happened to precede the attack by a very few days?

    I don’t think France/UK has the diplomatic heft to get this past the Russians and the Chinese. I don’t think the Saudis signed off on the say-so of the French/Brits.

    And I very strongly suspect there are other deals that were made — for support through Egypt, for basing in Tunisia — that were not about French/UK diplomacy.

    Don’t forget that this operation must have been building for at least a week, more likely two. Look at the timing: the UNSC suddenly has a resolution passed and hours later things are blowing up in Libya? Military forces don’t move that quickly.

    I think this is our play as much as France/UK, but we’ve kept our hand better-concealed. I think it is really terrific that France and the UK and other allies have stepped up and taken a more equal stance, and I give them major props. But I think it’s naive to believe we were bystanders in the run-up or planning.

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  8. TG Chicago says:

    @personna, in a sense you are right that we don’t own this. However, if it ends up going awry, we will get our share of the blame (probably most of the blame, fairly or not) and we will probably feel obligated to fix it.

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  9. tom p says:

    “I do not. We have intervened in a tribal society in a civil war. And we’ve taken sides in that civil war on behalf of people we do not know or understand.”

    Why does anyone listen to George Will anymore?? Iraq?? Anyone??? And there wasn’t a civil war there,,, or WMD.

    Mind you, I am against intervention, but George Will is the last person I will look to for justification of my POV. He has been wrong more than I…only because I try to SHUT the F UP…. when I don’t know what I am talking about….. something he has never demonstrated a desire to…

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  10. anjin-san says:

    > I think it is really terrific that France and the UK and other allies have stepped up and taken a more equal stance,

    Yes, it’s an encouraging, and necessary development. We simply cannot afford to pay the freight for all of our allies any more. They are going to have to do some of the heavy lifting.

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