Obama has announced that in no circumstances will the United States introduce ground troops into Libya. Even if the United States was not planning to take that step, it was an unpardonable mistake for the president to have said so publicly. As simple international bargaining theory demonstrates, the threat of escalating a conflict by a party with superior resources should lead to a more favorable settlement.
Dudes, this is not an academic paper. It's a war. We're not a theoretical construct. We're a nation of fallible human beings. And we are Obama's boss. I believe I speak for the entire nation when I say that, thanks to the war your idiot boss started in Iraq, I really don't want any US boots on the ground anywhere. You want any sort of war with Libya you'll have to tell us upfront that there won't be boots on the ground. Period.
The anti-UN crap is equally stupid. No shit Obama's insisting on UN involvement. The last time we started a war in the Mid East without UN involvement was Iraq, and that one took a lot longer and cost a lot more then we expected. Here's the meat:
Considering Resolution 1973's handcuffs, it is likely that NATO will eventually either ignore it or construe it disingenuously. U.N. approval has virtually no offsetting benefits, except for a thin veneer of international legality for a no-fly zone, an embargo, and limited efforts to protect Libyan civilians. It only provides countries like Russia and China the opportunity to attack American intervention by claiming it runs beyond the writ of some amorphous "international community" whose will is expressed in a U.N. resolution -- a resolution that pretends that the goals, strategies, and tactics of war can be reduced to a clear legal document. But this imposes a straitjacket on a coalition military faced with unforeseen and constantly changing circumstances and conjures written political agreement where in fact there is none.
Has he remembered nothing about Iraq? Without the UN we had a coalition of countries whose foreign policy depends entirely on the US. Most of them didn't contribute anything, and the ones who did contributed very little. Almost all got out as soon as the going got tough. In the meantime the Chinese, Russians, etc. attacked us for thwarting the will of the international community.
Moreover where do you propose we bomb Libya from without a UN resolution? The French would be game, but their closest territory is Corsica. The Italians, Turks, Greeks, and Maltese, OTOH? Hell no. Especially the Turks.
Oh, and to complete the checklist of Things We Did in Iraq That Didn't Work Out And Torture Memo Guys Want Us To Do in Libya the torture memo guys want us to go after Qaddafi's chemical weapons.
Here's the most ridiculous part of their conclusion:
Instead, the United States and its allies should form a Concert of Democracies. No international bureaucracy or complicated rules on the use of force are needed. Instead, the great democracies should collectively decide, case by case, whether to intervene. A concert would allow these countries to share the costs of intervention. And it should exclude countries like Russia and China; they should have no voice until they show a corresponding desire to shoulder global responsibilities.
Great theory. In practice, however, we already have that. It's called NATO. It's just as bureaucratic and rules-obsessed as the UN. Withdrawing from the UN to set up a new NATO would have the following drawbacks:
1) Nobody would join because they're already in NATO and they don't see the point.
2) It would allow the Russians to set up their own concert, and they'd probably get Brazil, Venezuela, Iran, etc.
3) The new organization would become as bureaucratic and rules-obsessed as the UN because the only way to run an international organization of more then three nations is to have detailed rules about whether it's a snub to call the Canadian Minister of Defense (officially an honorable) your Excellency.
4) We'd lose veto-power over the Russians, Chinese, and Indians.