Libyan Spider Hole


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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27 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    What lessons have we learned from Iraq and Afghanistan?
    That the choices

    1. Choosing a side and supporting it with an indefinitely prolonged occupation .
    2. Declaring victory and getting the hell out.

    are equally successful.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    What lessons have we learned? Maybe that Democrats are better at picking wars.

    Snark aside I don’t know we’ve learned much. Libya is kindof a special case. Small, wealthy and with a long time leader who’s made himself disliked by virtually everyone even his autocrat neighbors.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:


      Maybe the lesson is that Dems are hypocrites, since they condemned Bush but give Barry a pass for using the US military w/o any basis in federal law. Maybe the next president should claim that using force is a humanitarian mission to protect protestors and that will be enough to satisfy Dems.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Scott, there’s also the fact that Iraq cost a Trillion and Libya a Billion which is three, count em, three orders of magnitude smaller.

        Even the small government types have to be impressed.Report

        • Avatar wardsmith says:

          It would have helped if Iraq had started a nice local rebellion and attempted to topple their own dictator and we just had to wait a minute, that /did/ happen, unfortunately under Bush the 1st and soldiers (including McVeigh) had to watch while the locals were slaughtered. Whether that influenced Tim we’ll just never know but I have my opinion.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          yarly. Afghanistan worked until they went off Clarke’s plan, too.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        If we’re gonna stick with the snark then everything you say here simply amounts to “Dems are better at picking wars”. Now I’d really prefer we not involve ourselves at all but if we are stuck with both parties picking wars then I’d personally prefer the short cheap victorious ones the Dems select to the long expensive bloody and quagmire ones the GOP swandives into.Report

        • Avatar Scott says:


          You seem to have conveniently forgotten the quick Repub conflicts in Panama and Grenada and the Dem quagmire in Vietnam. I didn’t realize that obeying federal law on the use of US forces now meant so little to Dems.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      Democrats are also better at planning wars. Clinton/Clarke’s plan for Afghanistan worked out just as planned. Then Bush tried some stupid nationbuilding.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If you want to kill a dictator, it’s best to have a Peace Prize first.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Less snarkily, this is the type of “invasion” that I thought that Iraq ought to have been. Go in. Decapitate. Kill the dictator, kill his sons.

      Leave a note that says “don’t make us come back”.

      None of this midwifing the birth of a democracy. None of this trying to make this culture into that one. None of this school painting business. Go in, kill the worst dictators, let the country go on to sort itself out.

      As such, I’d say that Libya is the victory that Iraq ought to have been and well done.Report

  4. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Oh, so he was going to go Galt and kick out the ladder after all society did for him!

    Wait… oh! That says Libyan spider hole! Never mind!Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    It’s a big blow to the Authoritarian Fashion Industry; Kim Jong-Il simply doesn’t have the same pizazz.Report

  6. Avatar b-psycho says:

    What’s the best way to reach an endgame of a legitimate government providing the rule of law in Libya, with economic ties and a diplomatic alignment to the West?

    What if they don’t necessarily want alignment to the West?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      But we want them aligned to the West. That’s the endgame we want. Clearly we have to convince them somehow that looking north is better for them than looking east. How do we do that, what words do we say and what actions do we take?Report

      • Avatar b-psycho says:

        Who is this “we” you talk about? I personally don’t give a shit who they align with, as long as the people of Libya are free. They might align with us, they might not, it isn’t our call.

        That said, IMO realizing that it isn’t our call and acting accordingly would probably provide the best odds of such an alliance occurring, and vice versa. In other words, the best thing you could do for U.S./Libya relations would be to let Libya determine the extent of them. You throw around the typical imperialist vibes and they will justifiably turn hostile.Report

        • Avatar Will H. says:

          Generally speaking, it’s better to make friends than enemies.
          At any rate, it’s better not to make bloodthirsty enemies.
          Therefore, properly, we want them aligned with the West.
          Alternatively, we could just nuke ’em.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Maybe they don’t, but they want to sell their oil to Europe. The West helped extricate them from their former “Dear leader” and China meanwhile supported him or at the most stayed quiet. So it’s beyond me why the new Libyan polity would have any interest in looking eastward.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Because china is realist. If tomorrow, the government that formed imposed sharia law and hung all apostates, China can still be relied on to want to trade. China doesnt give a shit about your ideology, your human rights record or the labour laws you have. All it cares about is increasing trade volume. Europe and america cannot be relied upon to not care about the internal politics of Libya. America and Europe are therefore risky diplomatic partners. China and the non-aligned states are not.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        By “eastward” I didn’t mean as far as China. I was referring to leaders, cultures, attitudes, and most of all political alignments to be found within the Middle East. Particularly if Libya becomes an “Islamic nation,” and its leaders buy in to the idea that there is an unresolvable tension between Islam and the secular-to-Christian West.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Oh, one more lesson. Amazonian bodyguard cadres ain’t what they used to be.Report

  8. Avatar Scott says:

    So for the liberals out there, which dictator should Barry attack next in the name of protecting humanity and w/o any basis in federal law?Report