Point taken Uncas - though the parallels are a little dubious. But I wasn't so much commenting on the rightness or wrongness of the action per se at the start of the thread, as Obama's good judgement in not "doing a Rumsfeld" and charging in, all guns blazing.
Even now, I wouldn't presume to judge whether it is going to make matters worse or better for the majority of Libyans to go in there and dismantle the regime, I simply don't know enough. However, it does seem evident to me that having achieved a relatively universal consensus that some action is needed, then some action should be taken. To do otherwise kind of casts doubt on the value of the UN and international cooperation; even more doubt than there already is I mean!
On another point. What is this fixation with using the word "Islamist" as if it is interchangeable with the word "Enemy" (you might just as well say that all Christians are the Enemy).
It's very disparaging to Islam, which is the second largest religion in the world, and one that should, I think, be respected.
As for "Islamists" taking over the country (deja vu from the Egypt thread in the Alley where it was the Muslim Brotherhood) I just don't see what is productive about an attitude that constantly opposes change from a bad situation simply out of fear of a worse alternative.
In addition, there is a certain segment of society that hankers for the good old days of the bogey man - the "reds under the bed" syndrome. The need to reinforce a way of life by constantly warning of the dangers of departing from tradition, precedent and the ways of our fathers. Now that blaming the "reds" for all evils has become patently even more absurd than before, the new monsters to frighten our kids with are the "socialists in the sauna", the "liberals in the library", the "gays in the garret", and of course the "Islamists under the ivy".
It's so destructive to pigeonhole people into a particular group or religion or sexual orientation, and then label them "bad" simply for being in that grouping. Recognising that there are always bad and good people (and groups of people) within any set is much more constructive.
So, for instance, of course there have been reports of the rebels killing people and torturing them. So what?
There will be bad rebels who take advantage of a volatile situation just as there are bad Christian clergy who abuse young children. It doesn't mean that it's accurate to label all rebels with a derogatory "Islamist", or all Christian clergy "Paedophiles".
Hi Brad. Following national interest? Humm. Clearly as a matter of principle, a dubious course to chart. But, yes, as a matter of practical expediency in the continuing chaos that is the world, perhaps the wisest way to proceed. It's like a soccer game perhaps, where the cleanest and most boring game is produced when all the players know each other well and can predict each other's personal game, passing and tackling with precision because of it. Thus when you do get a maverick player who is unpredictable, it allows the rest of the players some chance of a "coordinated" response, even if the coordination arises from a perverse kind of self interest.