Libya Open Thread

I haven’t written much about Libya, in part because there’s so much other crucial stuff to write about and in part because I think it’s only secondarily about oil (beyond the short-term price spike it’s caused).

It certainly is another good example of the White House’s poor messaging — see Dana Milbank’s skewering. Milbank directs us to this quote:

“I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle,” he told reporters once. “I’m not. Okay?”

It’s a silly thing to say and counterproductive to believe, especially for a White House that has no narrative to fall back on when things go south (or, in this case, when he goes south … America. Sorry).

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Milbank writes about our attack on Libya in words that could apply to most major progressive issues, “Obama left a vacuum, and his opponents filled it.” (see “Relax, climate hawks, it’s not about the science. The White House is just lousy at messaging in general”)

But a commenter says Libya is an oil issue:

Joe: You haven’t had much to say about Libya. While I support Obama’s decision it is worth pointing out that this is basically another oil war. It was the oil that bought Gadhafi his weapons & without the oil we would not be nearly as likely to intervene.

Well, oil got him rich, but I don’t think oil is why we intervened. Everyone knows this isn’t going to lower oil prices (or have much effect either way in the medium term). Personally, I think this is a no-win for Obama. On the one hand, it is hard to see exactly what the objectives are, it is far from a sure thing the Gadhafi will be thrown out, it is even less of a sure thing that the result will be anything approaching democracy, and so there’s no clear or even semi-clear exit strategy. On the other hand, how would he justify stay out of this under the circumstances?

What do you think?