Gary Younge on Obama's war in Libya
...The clearest explanation of the war aims has emanated not from Britain, or indeed Europe, but the White House. While Britain has blundered (William Hague suggested at one point that Muammar Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela) and Nicolas Sarkozy has blustered (starting the bombing without telling his allies), Barack Obama has offered the most lucid justification for military intervention.
The trouble is that at each moment the goals of the intervention not only changes, but also contradict any justification given earlier. Shortly before the no-fly zone was imposed, Obama assured a bipartisan group in Congress that the action would take "days not weeks". More than a week after the bombing had started he told the nation the aim was limited to purely humanitarian ends. "I refuse to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action," he said.
He also stood steadfastly against regime change. "If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter." Two weeks later, in a joint letter signed by David Cameron and Sarkozy, he brazenly conceded it is about regime change. "It is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power."
Assassination is now, apparently, the foreign policy du jour. On Sunday, the British defence secretary, Liam Fox, insisted: "Nato does not target individuals." Instead they go for families. Just over a week ago, they killed Gaddafi's son and three of his grandchildren.
So here we are with a conflict that was supposed to last days and was not about regime change that has gone on for six weeks and won't end until the regime has changed. Even as the west prepares to negotiate a truce with the Taliban, Gaddafi's offer of a ceasefire has been rejected summarily. In the name of humanitarianism, the war must be prolonged.
The problem is not mission creep, it's the mission. There are only so many times their governments can reasonably keep doing the same thing and expect different results and there can be only so many times liberal hawks can "trust" their governments to do differently....We've seen from elsewhere that the most successful way to build democracy in the region is by ordinary, local people from below, not by foreign precision bombs from 50,000 feet above...
Full article here - see also Richard Seymour on Imperialism and Revolution in the Middle East in the latest Socialist Review