My friend John Judis asks some important questions of those liberals who have come out in opposition to the intervention in Libya.
If America had gone into Libya immediately and alone, I think we would be right to wonder if Obama had gotten Oval Office fever. But, it seems to me that by encouraging others to take the lead, in their own neighborhood, and intervening only when it became obvious that such intervention was needed to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, which is what an attack on Benghazi would have become, the President has shown true leadership. He has met the crisis at hand, perhaps a little tardily but not much, and he has done so in such a way as to encourage other countries to step up to the plate and not simply look to the U.S. to take the risk such interventions entail.
War is always an ugly thing. But, it is not the ugliest of things. Allowing Gaddafi to murder tens of thousands of his own people would have been uglier.
There are, of course, a million ways this intervention can yet go wrong and the need to keep the Arab League and our NATO allies together is no small challenge. But, it is a better challenge than going in alone, and the President deserves credit for his deliberate approach. He has telegraphed to the world that the "ready, fire, aim" approach of George W. Bush has been abandoned, but he has certainly not resorted to the kind of isolationism advocated by Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich which would be an immoral abandonment of the world and its people. The U.S. can and should be a force for good in the world and, it seems to me, President Obama has struck just the right balance.