Because of the reflexive “everything Obama does is wrong” strategy for Republican control of government, you have a spectacle where the President intervened in a foreign country and led to an apparent change in regime, and according to Lindsey Graham and John McCain the real problem was that we didn’t commit more resources into Libya back in February and March:

This achievement was made possible first and foremost by the struggle and sacrifice of countless Libyans, whose courage and perseverance we applaud. We also commend our British, French, and other allies, as well as our Arab partners, especially Qatar and the UAE, for their leadership in this conflict. Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat Qaddafi, but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower.

This isn’t even the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics, it’s the Superman theory, where the neocons re-spin the Earth and pitch the scenario that leads to the most death and destruction.

I should note that Republicans have jumped back and forth on the hawk and dove sides of this. First they wanted the President to go through Congress. Then they wanted the mission limited. Then they decided it wasn’t working and we needed to decapitate Gadhafi. And now you have this after-the-fact grumbling from McCain and Graham. Two Senators who, by the way, visited Gadhafi and shook his hand back when he was an exemplar of George W. Bush’s foreign policy efforts.

What we know is that the logistical support (surveillance drones in particular) appeared much more determinative to the outcome than the air support, which led to NATO literally running out of targets. This is just sour grapes from a couple of armchair video game players who wanted more things blown up. You don’t have to support the mission in Libya – I’m mostly in line with John Cole here and think the “ends justifies the means” approach to the conflict is pernicious – to know that the neocons are acting absurdly.

I will say that at least McCain and Graham’s statement has some (barely) nominal relevance, unlike Mitt Romney, who demanded the extradition of the Lockerbie bomber by a transitional government that doesn’t exist yet.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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