What are we doing in Libya?

Are we protecting civilians? Are we protecting the “rebels” from Qaddafi’s forces? Are we protecting civilians who support Qaddafi from the “rebel” forces? Does Qaddafi have to go? Or merely cease and desist? Are we seeking to depose Qaddafi? What is the mission?
Who are the “rebels”? Are we seeking regime change? Are we promoting a democratic government to replace Qaddafi’s thugocracy? What is the applicable principle justifying our intervention? Is it a humanitarianism sanctioned by the (non-existent) “international community”? Does the principle apply to any other current situation? To any other situation more dire than the one in Libya? Does anybody know?
Caroline Glick discerns American strategic dementia. In the absence of an authoritative presidential pronouncement clearing up the ambiguities, her charge at the least raises a good question. Mona Charen also draws out the ambiguities.
Stanley Kurtz notes Obama’s reticence and sees the hidden hand of the odious Samantha Power and her doctrine of the “responsibility to protect.” I think that is a fair assessment supported by some evidence, but a lot of relevant evidence isn’t in. One could go further and say that Kurtz’s theory accounts for just about all the evidence.
If Obama has cited the American national interest to support of our action against Qadaffi, I have missed it. It certainly is not a substantial component of any of his statements. On the contrary, the lack of any cited American interest appears to be a leading factor supporting the mission, whatever it is. Obama’s action has the imprimatur of the United Nations Security Council, but not the United States Congress.
I don’t have the answers, but I think I can say that something doesn’t compute.

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