Of course, there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.
So loyalists don't need to worry that we'll do what it takes to bring down the Khaddafi regime. There will be no military mission to include regime change. The loyalists will be standing at the end of the day to enjoy the money Khaddafi has shoveled at them. So thoughts of defecting to the rebels or deserting will dwindle. All Khaddafi has to do after the guns fall silent is sweat out some sanctions while dangling oil and oil contracts out the window. Do you really think he won't get takers? Hello Russia and China!
Yes, we prevented a massacre. So that's a victory for the rebels and their supporters. That was a good thing we did. But President Obama said Khaddafi had to go. And now he says we will accept defeat over that goal by allowing Khaddafi an exit strategy.
This is a post-America war. We fight for no real goal in order to maintain a small coalition joined to fight for no real goal but which won't let us pursue victory--and admit ten days into the fight that we won't try to win.
Well. I suppose we could still get lucky before this war dwindles to a no-fly zone and then to sanctions and then to media images of Libyan "victims" of Western sanctions that erode and collapse in time for Khaddafi to celebrate 50 years in office--even if it is only a realm consisting of western Libya.