What's the Real Mission In Libya?

Chris Mathews | Huffington Post | March 2011

Issues:Global militarisation, Marginalisation

What is the real mission in Libya? Not the no-fly zone-- that's a method. So what is the mission? How do we end this thing?

The president said in Santiago yesterday that the military mission isn't aimed at getting rid of Gaddafi. He said we have other means to do that-sanctions and money freezes and that stuff.

Well, excuse me for being skeptical, Mr. President, but we've done all that before and regimes have survived it for years-many years. I remember how many years we had white-ruled Rhodesia under sanctions. When I was over there in the Peace Corps, I went to that country, it meant watching old movies instead of ones currently available in other countries. No, it really didn't really work all that fast.

Americans don't like long wars. Are we going to be backing this military campaign in Libya for months or even years-with the French and the Brits and a token Arab force flying overhead while Gaddafi kills his people in alleys and basements below? Are we going to wait for --excuse me -- sanctions to work their will?

It doesn't ring true. We went in there to stop a killer from massacring his people. If he's set on doing it, he's got plenty of time now to find ways of doing it -- if all we're doing is running sanctions against him.

So, we need to know more. Perhaps there's a secret plan out there to overthrow Gaddafi. Are we offering him safe-conduct to Venezuela? Are we giving him a means to end this standoff?

Because if we're not doing any of this, it promises to be a long war, a standoff, where Gaddafi sacrifices more and more of his people to prolong his own rule, which he needs to prolong if he's going to prolong his own life.

I hope we have a plan here we're not talking about, because what we're seeing makes no sense. We say we want to overthrow Gaddafi again but give him no place to escape. If that's the nature of this contest, he will fight to the death --- as most people would -- and that will mean the deaths of countless people who would survive if we had a quicker, smarter plan that promised a quicker, smarter ending to this thing.

I don't like the looks of this campaign for the simple reason it looks like so many others. In an effort to reduce our footprint, we're making it a far longer, more bloody journey to where we're headed in the end.


Chris Mathews is a TV News anchor in the United States.

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post. 



What a joy to find such clear thinking. Thanks for psoitng!

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