Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reading Tom Friedman's Entrails

Oh boy.
I don’t know Libya, but my gut tells me that any kind of decent outcome there will require boots on the ground — either as military help for the rebels to oust Qaddafi as we want, or as post-Qaddafi peacekeepers and referees between tribes and factions to help with any transition to democracy. Those boots cannot be ours. We absolutely cannot afford it — whether in terms of money, manpower, energy or attention. But I am deeply dubious that our allies can or will handle it without us, either. And if the fight there turns ugly, or stalemates, people will be calling for our humanitarian help again. You bomb it, you own it.

So there will have to be boots on the ground. But they can't be "ours," and certainly not Tom Friedman's or those of any of the Friedman clan. But they won't be anybody else's either, so they will be ours.