Instead, "we took military action against a regime that we continued to recognize diplomatically, on behalf of disparate groups of opposing forces whose only real point of agreement was that they wished to rid Libya of [Moammar] Gaddafi. This was not even a civil war" because there was "no cohesive opposition facing a regime." The result? "Rampant lawlessness" perhaps related to the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, and "the regionwide dispersion of thousands of weapons from Gaddafi's armories."
The question, Webb says, is whether in "a world filled with cruelty," presidents should be allowed to "pick and choose when and where to use military force" by merely citing the "undefinable rubric of 'humanitarian intervention.'"
Imperial presidents and invertebrate legislators of both parties have produced what Webb correctly calls "a breakdown of our constitutional process." Syria may be the next such bipartisan episode.
George Will's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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