Posted on March 24, 2011
I hate bullies.
Muammar Gaddafi is a bully.
He has bullied his own people for years, he has bullied all who try to do business in Libya, and he has bullied his neighbors.
America likes to stand up to bullies.
We have a long tradition in the United States that we fight the bullies.
Whether the bully is King George the Third or Slobodan Milošević, we don’t let bullies win.
It usually takes us a while, though, to figure out who is a bully that threatens our interests and who is a bully that we can do business with.
We didn’t declare war on Hitler for example until the Japanese attacked us.
George Bush the first allowed Saddam Hussein to stay in power after the first Persian Gulf War, and it wasn’t until Al-Qaeda attacked us on September 11th, that George Bush the second finished the job.
The problem with going after every bully is that there are a lot of bullies out there.
North Korea is run by a bully. So is Russia. As is Zimbabwe. And the list goes on.
We can’t stop all the bullies everywhere.
Which leads me back to Mr. Gaddafi. Yes, he is a bad guy, and yes, he was more than willing to put down a rebellion in his own country using violent means.
But is it in our vital national interests to take him out? Do we know if he will be replaced by another bully?
I hate bullies as much as the next guy. But it seems to me that the President has to answer these questions for the American people before we blunder into another long and expensive war in a region that is full of bullies.