As of today the U.S. State Department recognized Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (TNC) as a legitimate government.

From Reuters: U.S. recognizes Libya rebels with eye on funds

So now we are in the business of not just enforcing the U.N. resolution protecting civilians from Gaddafi’s attempts to hold on to power but of actually defending the new legitimate government of Libya. A state to state mission which opens up whole new avenues, contingencies, and context for escalation of U.S. forces in the Mediterranean upon Africa’s largest oil reserves and, of course, democracy.

Gaddafi’s as barmy as Hussein of Iraq. And was also on good terms with the U.S. till Mubarak fell (no thanks to Clinton/Obama’s non commital to the good folks on Tahrir Square). Sound familiar? It should because this has been the 20/20 hindsight rewrite the Neocons/NeoLiberals have been applying to all such endeavors/projects to situate policy on the right side of “History” (a word packed with an awful lot and awful “history” with the great late 20th Century Neconservative project started by former apparatchik lefties of the 1960’s). Yes situate after the fact. Rewrite our commitment or arrangements we had with the “History” of 10 minutes ago.

Not that we shouldn’t be doing this. The strategic oil reserves that Europe depends upon are at stake after all.
And how the heck could a madman and his tribe survive once we put our collective wills together for regime change. History has proven that “History” is unassailable in these cases (Iraq, Afghanistan and god knows the litany of short term occupations, regime supports, CIA coups to count no matter how they undermine our long term interests. That oil must flow.)

But lets not pretend about “legitimacy” and transistional democratic councils and resolutions or War Powers Acts.
We’ve been down this road many times in the past 15 years and this follows the exact patterning laid down by Neocons on how to pursue “History” well after it caught that train left that station.