1) Because the moment we intervene, we’ll own what’s going on in Libya – just like we own Iraq. Neocons eager to acquire another Middle East colony are understandably eager to jump into the fray, but there’s less excuse for the centrist-to-leftish “humanitarian” interventionists, who argue in terms of our alleged moral obligation to prevent widespread bloodletting. I don’t hear these people calling for us to arm the rebels in Bahrain or Yemen, who are being murdered in large numbers as they protest peacefully.
2)Because we can’t afford it, either financially or militarily. The US government debt is currently at over $14 trillion, and we’re already in over our heads in Afghanistan and (still) Iraq. With military assets tied up in our other Middle Eastern colonies, where will we get the resources to police post-Gadhafi Libya? And don’t think we won’t have to: see above.
3) Because there are no half-measures in war. Those who protest they don’t want American boots on the ground don’t understand the logic of their own position. A “no fly” zone means an air war against Libyan military installations, and the provision of weaponry presupposes training the rebels to use those weapons effectively: US “advisors” are the next inevitable step.
4) Because we don’t know who we’re supporting. Everyone but the Latin American version of the Warsaw Pact and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) is against Gadhafi. Yet that doesn’t mean the rebels – or, rather, their leaders – are necessarily benign.
5) Because actions have unintended consequences, and actions taken by governments are almost guaranteed to boomerang. This is particularly true in the foreign policy realm, where the physical and cultural distance between the generals and the field is much greater than it is at home, serving to reinforce the myopia of know-it-all government officials and “analysts” who, in reality, are just making it up as they go along. The result, as they put it in CIA slang, is “blowback,” the title of an excellent book on the subject by the late great Chalmers Johnson.
The delusion that the US government can effectively “manage” and even “plan” the domestic economy – or, indeed, any aspect of American life – is projected, by our Washington elites, onto the world stage. Yet it is no less of a delusion: indeed, it is a far greater and more dangerous misperception, on account of its sheer grandiosity – and potential to unleash deadly havoc.