Senator Mark Udall, he of the great opposition to the Iraq war, has changed his tune for the US offensive in Libya. It is as if Mr. Udall's foreign policy worldview is entirely dependent on whether it is a Republican or Democrat who is Commander-in-Chief.
Unless, that is, the yearning of the Libyans to be free is more important than the same impulses of Iraqis. Or, in the same vein, whether Mr. Udall views Sadamm Hussein's murderous brutalization of his people as less objectionable than the same by Qadhafi.
We believe it is politics, plain and simple. Or at least we hope Udall is not trying to signal that he believes the suffering of one people is less offensive than the brutalization of another.
Then-Congressman Udall's objections to the Iraq war lay in heavy part on the fact that the US would dominate the coalition and that there wasn't a clear plan on rebuilding a post-war Iraq.
Funny, because that is exactly what is happening in Libya right now.
And to make matters worse the Obama administration started firing missiles without an iota of Congressional approval. We have the sneaking suspicion that Udall would be up in arms if President Bush had pursued a military strategy in Libya without seeking the approval of Congress.
Yesterday, 124 Tomahawk missiles were fired at Libyan targets, of which 122 were fired by US forces. (At a cost of over $150 million just for the missiles). We'd say that is a US dominated coalition.
Bombs are being dropped, including on Qadhafi's compound in Tripoli, yet not one Administration representative can clearly articulate how this military offensive ends, let alone how Libya is supposed to look after it's all over.
A market analyst emailed Politico's daily morning briefing "Playbook" explaining the fears of observers of the end-game in Libya:
“Libya is a big deal and not helpful to the world economy. At a minimum: Oil supplies disrupted, oil price increase is a drag on growth, war expenditures rip another unbudgeted hole in the budget … Worst case: All of the above, plus: Qaddafi survives and Libya is split between east and west (Benghazi and Tripoli). Egypt exerts dominance over the Benghazi half. Qadaffi teams up with Al Qaeda and unleashes a wave of terror in Western Europe in revenge for U.K., Italy and French participation in the coalition, Russia rearms Qadaffi, China gets the oil and Europe is driven closer to Russia (energy dependence now with no nuclear coming online and no Libyan oil). Over time, this starts to look like Iraq from 1991-2003, with a no-fly zone and ineffective oil-for-food sanctions and Saddam (now Qadaffi) still in power and a permanent thorn in our side. … Markets hate uncertainty and this situation has nothing but.”
That sounds like a pretty risky situation, something that Udall railed against extensively in the run-up to the Iraq War. But we guess Presidents, err times, have changed and Udall is now a foreign policy hawk.
Or as a former Presidential candidate might have put it, Udall was against military intervention against dictators before he was for it.