One of the dividends that the world reaped from World War II was a strong, militarily capable United States. Wars and skirmishes and assorted uprisings that occurred after World War II notwithstanding, the strength of the United States has saved more humans from the ravages of war than any force in history.
Thus my first instinct is to support the recent action in Libya. But this time I’m not so sure. Since World War II, we have not again won a truly decisive military victory. Each time we engage in a supposed hurry in, hurry out military excursion, we wind up in an expensive stalemate and we deplete some of the strength that has kept the world safe.
In the case of the current action in Libya, the pudding has no theme and that bothers me. Each time we fail to truly finish the job, we encourage the next bad actor. We can no longer afford military engagements that end in a draw. We can no longer afford to play “Whack-A-Mole.” A decisive, overwhelming victory in the greater Middle East would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and many thousands of lives.
It would likely be worth it.
But until we are willing to count the true cost and pay it, I’m beginning to believe we’re better served to just stay out until such time as going truly all in is the only remaining option.