I listened to the president's speech last night, hoping for some disconfirmation of my admittedly cynical perspective. It didn't happen.
Okay, it's not another Iraq — which is to say, it's not an all-out invasion with the intent of occupation. On the other hand, neither is it Bosnia.
It is, however, kind of like Afghanistan, in that NATO (read the US) is taking sides in what is, when you take a hard look, a civil war. (Yes, the initial invasion of Afghanistan was aimed at punishing al-Qaeda and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, but the al-Qaeda leadership has been in Pakistan for nine years now — all we've been doing since then has been propping up the blatantly corrupt al-Maliki government. The Taliban never attacked the US.)
Why did Mohammed Younis decide to switch sides when Gadaffi sent him to quiet the protests in Bengazi? Why did Mustafa Abdel Jalil — currently being treated as "leader of the rebels" by all and sundry — decide to abandon his patron of many years and switch sides? It's hard to imagine either man would have acted as he did without significant encouragement from outside power centers like France, the UK, and the US.
Had Younis not defected, the protests in Bengazi could have been put down in a day or two, with no more deaths among civilians than are currently occurring in Bahrain — scarcely rising to the level of "genocide." To wit, I cannot imagine how a significant worsening of human rights conditions in Libya would have occurred without the involvement of outside agitators from the French DGSE, the British SIS, and/or the American CIA.
Yes, I know. I sound more and more like a conspiracy theorist, and I probably should go off and wrap my head in tin foil to keep "them" from invading my brain — but if all you have to work from when you try to figure out what actually is going on is a string of not especially skillful lies, it's human nature to make up scenarios that seem to fit the information and misinformation available.
What should Obama have said? How about, "We are bombing Libya for reasons that you ignorant peasants cannot be trusted to hear. Just remember America that always sides with the good guys. Honest. Cross my heart."