TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads
Good morning everyone and welcome to another mega-crisis packed edition of your Sunday Morning Liveblog. My name is Jason, and guess what! We add this weekend another sort of/kind of war to our lives/debt/childrens' responsibilities after we've all died/lives this weekend. It's getting to be a St. Patrick's Day tradition, I guess. No we are helping to enforce a no fly zone over Libya, which is a pretty nice thing to be doing for these rebels, who only a few years ago were joining up with the insurgency in Iraq to enforce a "y'all die zone." But this time I bet we're going to become fast friends. (Like we've become with Bahrain, also known as "take all those proud feelings about the United States standing up for freedom and human rights in Libya and turn them inside out, and vomit into them" Bahrain.
It's all terribly complicated and depressing! So why not compound it today by watching these terrible shows? Just to demonstrate the escalating nature of crisis, I'd note that just before we started Tomahawk missiling Libya, Steven Chu was going to be doing the Full Ginsnurg today, probably to tell us all that the nuclear radiation plumes coming from Japan were not going to kill us (that's what the undersea Cloverfield monsters are going to do). Instead we have Admiral Mike Mullen doing all the shows today, because we're bombing the crudites out of Libya, now.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY
Battle of Libya! Nuclear crisis in Japan! Remember when this liveblog was a drinking game? NOW IT IS A DRINKING BUSINESS.
Apparently, overnight airstrikes have decimated Libya's air force and the military command center in Tripoli. Gaddafi has called the attacks "terrorism" and "Hitlerism" and "promises a very long war."
Let's check Mike Mullen's style out, for the first of three times today. He says we've "had a pretty significant impact" in the past twenty-four hours -- and the strikes include an air-to-ground engagement with Gaddafi's forces in Benghazi. "There are French airplanes over Benghazi right now," just as Nostradamus predicted there would be!
Have those forces pulled back from Benghazi? Mullen says that they haven't pulled back or moved in, but they intend to take out their artillery on the ground. The mission, as stated, will "protect civilians" and "provide corridors of humanitarian relief." (All without establishing a ground presence, I guess? This is starting to taste a lot like Kosovo.)
Russia apparently wants us to stop "non-selective use of force." What does that mean? Don't know! But we "press on with the operation," and the Danes and Italians and Spaniards will be joining in. That doesn't really explain what the Russians mean by that or if anyone should be worried. Mullen doesn't seem to give a crap. He also says that Arab nations will be "joining the fight in a day or two."
"This is not about going after Gaddafi himself," Mullen says, "it's about achieving these narrow and relatively limited objectives, so that he stops killing his people and allows humanitarian aid." Mullen says that "we've worked very hard at minimizing" the civilian casualties that we cause.
But are we going to depose Gaddafi or not? IF ONLY BECAUSE I'VE SPELLED HIS NAME FIFTEEN DIFFERENT TIMES ALREADY? Mullen says that this is not part of the mission. Hopefully Gaddafi doesn't "get crazy!"
"He's a very dangerous guy, very unpredictable," says Mullen, on Gaddafi's ability to straight up kill innocent people whenever he's felt like it.
The U.S. will basically provide intelligence support, "jamming capabilities," and enforcement of the no fly zone from now into perpetuity. "I don't have a date in mind...where U.S. military participation would end," Mullen says.
Did the President side with Hillary and Samantha Power and Susan Rice over the Pentagon in deciding to go through with this attack? If so, then it's a bad day to be a military mansplainer! But Mullen won't say anything other than his job is to carry out orders, not discuss how those orders came about.
Wallace asks about the military being stretched too thin. "How can you take on a third operation?" I wish Mullen would say, "Because we are the very magical contorters of reality that your idiot pal Bill Kristol believes us to be!" Mullen says that "we are within our capability and capacity to execute this mission." BUT THAT'S IT, NO ONE ELSE IS ALLOWED TO GET MAD AT US.
Oh, God, Lindsey Graham is here! I wish we could weaponize his whining. That would drive Gaddafi out. (SERIOUSLY, HOW MANY DIFFERENT SPELLINGS HAVE I USED, I AM NOT PAYING ATTENTION.)
Also, Jack Reed is here, so he'll probably be asked a million times if he'll be our new Secretary of Defense.
What sort of feelings does Jowly Dave Foley -- who I think got his highlights did for the occasion, because WAR IS ON (guessing he got his Prince Albert polished also, but that's for FOX News Sunday's Green Room Level Club Access guests) -- have about the WAR? He's glad that finally someone is doing something, and he's glad that the ladies in the Obama administration wanted to get their bomb on...but now he's worried that the United States is "in the backseat rather than in a leadership role." Dude, did you every think that the only way we'd have been able to get anything going at all was to very explicitly NOT take a leadership role?
Anyway, Jowly Dave wants us to commit to something open-ended, and he wants Eric Holder to "investigate" Gaddafi? "Isolate, strangle, and replace," Graham says. WE MUST DISPOSE OF THIS REGIME, AUTO-EROTICALLY, and it should LAST FOREVER.
Wallace asks, "Is your problem the definition of the mission, or that we're letting the British and the French take the lead." "We used to relish leading the free world, now it's like leading the free world is an inconvenience." Jowly Dave needs for a neo-con version of Arcade Fire to start touring, or something.
Anyway, he's mad at all the things that always make him mad: he doesn't do much leading, but he wants everyone else to do everything else in precisely the secret way he wants it, and when you don't fulfill that, he starts whining.
Reed points out that without the international support, we might have been "pulled into this" on our own, and specifically cites TEH DEFICITZ as a reason to not take the lead in this mission. He says a "quick handoff" would allow the world to know that this is not about America plying it's own interests in the region.
But does Gaddafi remaining in power serve the interests of anyone? Reed says that "we've taken the first step," and there's a "possibility of expanding this operation" to include deposing Gaddafi, but it will have to be other forces from other countries doing that. Nevertheless, we will "protect the citizens of Libya." (Is the hope here maybe that the Libyan opposition does the whole "deposing of Gaddafi" thing?)
Graham wants Gaddafi knocked off teevee and investigated for old terrorism and basically pantsed in front of the whole world. He's so angry at Gaddafi! (Graham is going to be so pissed at the efforts made by American lobbyists to make rehabilitate Gaddafi's reputation, I'm sure!)
Basically, Graham wants Gaddafi deposed as a personal request for his feelings. He will, on the behalf of all his colleagues, be very quick to abdicate Congress' Constitutional role in authorizing military force. Reed will too! Why even have checks and balances anymore?
Graham says that we would "have better leverage" in Bahrain and Yemen because "they learned it would be okay to shoot their own people because we let Gaddafi go nuts." Okay, but we're only going to punish the one guy for shooting his own people. For our "allies" the standard is, "Just don't use live ammunition in putting down the demonstrators who want democracy." (Just a minute ago, Graham was talking about how Russia and China are not supporters of "the Freedom Agenda," so I guess in his comments on Bahrain and Yemen, Graham is just acting in his capacity as an envoy for the Russians/Chinese.)
Reed says that we're in "constant communication" with the leadership in Bahrain and Yemen, which is really, really, really helping so far, right? (I'm sure that maybe in that "constant communication" it's come up that we aren't about to lead or participate in international military strikes against their countries, so I don't know if they're actually going to derive a lesson from this Libya intervention.)
In Japan, Greg Palkot says the news is mixed. They are working hard to get the reactors cooled down and have apparently restored electric power to two of the troubled reactors, but food and drinking water is showing signs of radioactive contamination (the extent to which this is serious is not something I can deduce from the report).
So, Steven Chu is here, and he thinks that today the reactor might be cooled by their typical pumps. "Step by step, they're making progress."
Wallace asks if the media is overstating the danger of radiation? Chu says that the people in the United States are not in any danger, but some threat remains to the Japanese.
Did Tepco put lives at risk by delaying the flooding of the reactors with seawater? Chu says that the chronology of events doesn't bear out an intentional delay.
Why aren't we shutting down our reactors, like they are in Germany? Chu responds by saying, essentially, that Germany is an entirely different country. "I can't speak directly to what the Germans are doing," he says, when asked to assess whether the Germans were over-reacting or if we were under-reacting.
Is Chu confident in our reactors? Has the moratorium on new reactors prevented us from having safer ones? Chu says that there have been upgrades and improvements to out existing reactors, and that the Japan crisis will prompt a "thorough review."
The Indian Point reactor is 34 miles from New York City, and Andrew Cuomo wants to shut it down. Chu says that they'll review the evacuation plan to make sure everything is up to snuff. Probably the review will conclude, "Do not under any circumstances take the C Train," and New Yorkers will respond, "Okay, so it's like always, then?"
Chu semi-back tracks, though, and suggests that keeping the Indian Point reactor open is somewhat in doubt, but he insists it's safe. Would he build a reactor close to population centers after Japan? Chu says that it's probably not likely now.
Does the spike in gasoline prices help the efforts to move Americans off petroleum? Chu says that he's focused on taking away the "pain of high gas prices," and says that there's been a few technological leaps of late, to the extent that cost-reducing fuel cell batteries could become available in the next four years. As far as whether the spike in prices helps those efforts, Chu allows that it serves to remind the public that the price of gas will continue going up.
Panel time with the standard Hume-Liasson-Kristol-Williams line up, woo!
Hume can't say whether Obama waffled his way into the Libya action or skillfully stayed on the sidelines to help it come together, but he thinks it's essentially "followership," and that time will tell if we should have jumped in and started bombing Gaddafi right away, as if we were just made of money and could pluck troops right off trees.
Liasson says that the United States is actually taking a lot of leadership, but that Obama and Clinton are purposefully downplaying it.
Kristol says that we "cannot and will not" let Gaddafi stay in power. And that basically...START YOUR POOL FOR THE DAY GROUND TROOPS ENTER LIBYA. (Like they did in Kosovo, Kristol says! Recall we weren't at war in Afghanistan then!)
Hume complains that Obama sees U.S. intervention in international affairs as a stigma. I wonder how it came to be a bad thing? Again, I'll point out that for many years, each side of this ideological debate has insisted on the fact that some heavy-handed varietal of foreign policy is the only way to do business, and the light-touch approach Obama takes just confuses people. "American forces are the most capable in the world, even as stretched as we are," Hume says. So keep stretching them! Keep spending our money.
Liasson says that the White House thinks it's "Okay for someone else to wave the flag as we do all the substantive work." Also: "This is complicated."
Is Obama history's greatest monster for doing an NCAA bracket? Kristol says that he would have advised Obama to not do that (Kristol and Wallace cop to having brackets of their own), but at the "end of the day if the policy was right, the policy was right," and that Obama couldn't do much about Japan (in fact, the whole point of his televised appearance on ESPN this year was to encourage Americans to give relief to the Japanese and inform them how they could help) and that Obama was "too slow" on Libya (read: did not start bombing them instantly), and that if everything works out for the best, no one will remember or care about his bracket picks.
Interesting question, though! When the day finally comes and there's a Republican president, should I be a big* douchebag and needle him for participating in American sports traditions?
OH WOW! This Week is all EMO today with a big "TARGET: LIBYA" graphic and everything. And also "DISASTER IN THE PACIFIC!" But first, "TARGET: LIBYA!" We start right now! Oh no! I guess that means I won't be getting my dream This Week Roundtable today!
@jaketapper My THIS WEEK dream roundtable: George, Donna, Reihan, Paul, Tyler The Creator.
This is what things would be like if I ran produced these shows. (They would still be quite terrible.)
What do we think of "Operation: Odyssey Dawn," by the way? I typically let these things go, but I can't help but worry that we're coming perilously close to the border between the names of military operations and the names of A Tribe Called Quest albums.
Anyway, Gaddafi! He promises a "long war." We promise to shoot cruise missiles. Gaddafi says that he and the Libyans will fight "crusaders." (Also, are the people tasked with translating Gaddafi's harangues into English TRYING to be hilarious? Or is there just no other way of doing that?)
Here's Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who at one point was going to lead the way in reforming Libya but has decided instead to become one of the faces of international villainy instead. He says that he is in Tripoli, and is "surprised" that the Americans and the British and the French were suddenly bombing them. You know! For no reason! And he's surprised at Obama, who was supposedly a friend of the Arab world. (That's the same Arab world, by the way, that said, "Meh, go ahead and bomb Tripoli, why not?"
But Gaddafi ignored the cease-fire, dude! Why did he continue attacking Benghazi? Saif says that there are terrorists and armed militias that the people of Benghazi needed to be liberated from, ha ha! Gaddafi won't step down, Saif says, because the "whole country supports the effort against the militia and the terrorists."
Will Libya be blowing up commercial planes for fun, during this time, because it's all a part of how Gaddafi "gets crazy?" Saif says no, and complains that the people of Benghazi are living "a nightmare, a nightmare, a nightmare," and the only way to wake them up is to drop sweet, sweet bombs on them and shoot them with guns, and so why is the United States opposed to this?"
Saif says: "One day you will wake up and realize you made a big mistake with supporting these people. It's like the WMD in Iraq."
Oh, you silly goose! We don't EVER intend to admit we were wrong to go into Iraq!
Alexander Marquardt is in eastern Libya and reports that since the "no fly zone" was imposed, "morale is sky high." "They now feel there is a level playing field," he says, and the rebels plans to go westward and oust Gaddafi are apparently back on.
Allan Little of the BBC is in Tripoli, and he reports that Gaddafi's "fighting talk" is being "echoed by the diehard devotees." The "passion" amid that population is "intense," he says, but it's not necessarily representative of the entire nation. The sentiments that exists, he says, in the "silence of their own heads, is impossible to gauge."
Jake Tapper is at the White House, and he reports that the "endgame" is the most difficult part of the puzzle. The White House position is that regime change must happen, but the military goals in this operation do not include that deposition. Tapper surmises that there will be a greater effort made to arm the rebels and that the White House will be working to maintain the internationality of the anti-Gaddafi coalition. "Obama wants to make it look like it's the world against Gaddafi."
Tapper also says that it's unlikely that the U.S. would arm the rebels on its own.
Martha Raddatz reports that United States generals are currently in charge of the operation and the tactical response, but the hope is that these responsibilities get handed over to a coalition partner in the next phase of the operation. Of course, maybe we should have given the military operation a less American sounding name, like "Operation Mash Bangers" or "Operation Never Mind The Buzzcocks" or "L'operation de le Renégat ou un esprit confus" or "L'operation de Bande à part" or "Operation Imagine Us Dry Humping Gaddafi's Leg Whilst Shouting SWAG SWAG SWAG SWAG Forever and Ever."
Okay, so Mike Mullen is here, too. He says that the United States is "taking the lead" in terms "of the coalition" but will hand over that role and take on a "supporting role" with our "unique capabilities." Like jamming. WE WILL BE JAMMING.
Will it be a long war? Mullen says that we are focused on the limited military objectives, which are stopping the killing of Libyans by Gaddafi and "maintaining corridors of support."
Amanpour says that theoretically, that means an Iraq-like situation with a long-term no fly zone and "a strongman still in place." Mullen says that circumstances on the ground will play out differently.
So why not protect other citizens of other nations from being killed. Mullen says that the Arab League makes it different, and out alliance with Bahrain makes it different. "The approach there needs to be different."
Can Gaddafi still attack civilian aircraft and the like? Mullen says that he almost certainly retain some ground-to-air capability, and more importantly, still can attack his own people.
Now we will hear from Ali Suleiman Aujali, Libya's former Ambassador to the United States that has no turned against Gaddafi, to give us some insight into Gaddafi. I've given up trying to keep track of how many h's and f's and d's are in his name, okay, AP style guide freaks?
Also Gerard Araud, France's Ambassador to the U.N. is here. And that's today's edition of "NAMES THAT CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR MAKES ME GOOGLE IN ORDER TO SPELL CORRECTLY."
Aujali says that Gadaffi will never give up and that the rebels will have to march east and take on the regime change project directly. Araud says that France led the way in this fight by recognizing the rebellion because it was impossible to hear Gadaffi's intentions and not act, and that geographically, this is all happening very close to France.
Aujali understands the current coalition mission as one that explicitly ends in Gadaffi's ouster. Araud nuances that a teensy bit by saying the intention is for the will of the Libyan people to be realized, and that means "Gadaffi has to go."
Aujali says that as soon as the ministers have a chance to defect from Gadaffi, they will.
Panel time, with George Will, Jane Harman, Paul Wolfowitz (good grief), and Robin Wright.
Will says that we have made a mistake by taking a side in a tribal civil war, and we've no guarantee that the vacuum will be filled by something that's even worse than Gadaffi.
Naturally Paul Wolfowitz disagrees, and that only by preventing a bloodbath in Benghazi would have preserved our reputation in the Arab World (Wolfowitz has personally seen to it that out reputation is destroyed).
Why Libya and not Bahrain? Harman says that "in a broader context" there needs to be a "strategic narrative" and remember the lessons of Rwanda and Srebrenica and that means, I guess that Bahrainis have to be shot in the streets? Yes: because "going into Libya has a moral objective," but we need the Bahraini and Yemeni regime to really, really like us.
It's an awful inconvenience to the Freedom Agenda that everybody picked this moment to want some freedom.
Anyway, I feel pretty harangued by Harman, so we switch to Wright you says that Gadaffi is someone who can prolong the conflict. But the good news is that this mission "may not be as complicated" as the war in Iraq.
Wolfy is basically asked if there's a double standard at work with Bahrain and Yemen and says, yes, there is. I mean, he did that, say-so-without-saying-so thing? Will thunders back, "There is no limiting principle to what we've done...we are not only logically committing ourselves to helping [the Bahrainis] we are inciting them to rise through our actions...the mission creep began before the mission."
Wright says that "Bahrain and Yemen" are the same thing...but...but....there here thoughts sort of run aground. We don't have a consistent message, yet, I guess, is the problem. And Harman jumps in and says that "we don't have a security narrative!"
Harman says that Congress needs to act! They need to be called back into session to...rubber stamp the mission. (In that case, there's not actually any reason for Congress to do anything.)
Now we'll talk about nuke policy, with Michael Chertoff (who likes to blast people with radiation at airports with full body pornscanners), and Bill Richardson (for some reason?).
First they talk about Libya, though. Chertoff says that it's "wise to assume that Gadaffi will do something to retaliate" and that includes terrorism, but his capability is vastly diminished and a lot of advance work has been done in preparing for Libya to act in that way.
Bill Richardson is concerned about mustard gas and Lockerbie and that Gaddafi is a "wild man!" And we should be careful flying around the world. Great! It looks like I've picked a great time to travel to London.
Anyway, nuclear reactor FUBARS. What will happen? Chertoff says the way to minimize the problem is to give people in affected area the knowledge and training and tools to get out of harm's way. Richardson says that the big message of the Japanese crisis is that we need to examine the safety and the cost of our domestic energy production and make policy changes.
Richardson wants the Federal government to lead on disaster response because the state governments aren't ready. Chertoff says it's simply necessary for prepareness to start at home and be community-based.
Richardson wants us to have a "time out, not a moratorium" on nuclear reactors -- but I think we are already in a very long time out?
MEET THE PRESS
Okay, this liveblog is taking forever so we're going to try to get through this without pausing. (Too much, anyway.)
Richard Engel reports that the rebels have taken back to the streets no that the No Fly Zone has been imposed. "A sense of optimism," has returned. But is it "too little too late?" This is something that the rebels are apparently asking. Engel says that Gadaffi is "laying the ground for an insurgency," which is an odd way of putting it, technically, isn't he running a "counter-insurgency" right now? Meanwhile, he has many supporters volunteering to serve as "human shields." So, great.
Here's Mike Mullen. Are we at war with Libya, Gregory asks? Mullen asserts that we are in a limited engagement and it is going terrifically, thanks for asking. Gregory asks again, and Mullen demurs again. You know, setting up a no fly zone is a lot like setting up your cable internet, just more people get killed. (Unless you are using Comcast, and then it's basically a push.)
We are targeting Libya's air capability and running a 24/7 combat air patrol over Benghazi, and as time goes on (and the rebels push west) the CAPing strategy will expand.
Mullen hasn't "seen any reports about civilian casualties," not that he'd be on MEET THE PRESS reporting it if he had.
There's not yet any indication that Gadaffi plans to start using chemical weapons. The expectation is that he will "stay down" and "not fly aircraft" and "not attack his own people" and allow for the secure flow of humanitarian aid.
What about deposing Gadaffi altogether? Mullen says that we will transition our control to international partners, and at homes point after we are not in charge, Gadaffi might consider deposing himself? Or getting deposed by rebels?
David Gregory in suggesting that we've been "trying to get Gadaffi for decades" has apparently missed the long period of time where we were actually not trying to get him at all, and in fact trying to whitewash his international reputation.
Mullen says that the mission could "be accomplished" and yet Gadaffi remains in power is a "potential outcome of the operation."
But double standard? Mullen says that "this mission is focused on Libya," but we're watching events in Bahrain, where we've had a "great friendship" and a "naval base" so YES THERE IS A DOUBLE STANDARD.
Mullen acknowledges that the "Bahraini people are asking for change as well." "Here," replies the Bahraini regime, "Have some bullets, shot at you at high velocities!"
Are we prepared to see the rebels "put forth a leader" for Libya? Mullen says it would be left up to the Libyan people.
Is it too much to take on this third war? Mullen says "We're more than capable of meeting the needs of the limited mission" that they have named "ODYSSEY DAWN" -- because when you think of the word ODYSSEY, you think, "OH THIS WILL BE OVER VERY QUICKLY."
Now we're going to talk with Senators Carl Levin and John Kerry and Jeff Sessions. My question to Sessions would be, "As you know, Mr. Sessions, we are facing historic deficits. As an angry leprechaun yourself, WHERE IS YOUR POT OF GOLD? GIVE ME IT! GIVE ME YOUR SWEET, SWEET LEPRECHAUN GOLD, JEFF SESSIONS. STOP FIGHTING ME, JEFF SESSIONS! GET YOUR TINY LEPRECHAUN HAND OUT OF MY FACE. WE ARE TAKING YOUR GOLD! THERE! THERE! I HAVE YOU BY THE BACK OF YOUR BELT LOOP. WRIGGLE AROUND ALL YOU WANT, JEFF SESSIONS. DO YOU WANT ME TO TAKE YOU TO MARC THIESSEN, RIGHT NOW? HE THIRSTS FOR BLOOD, ANYBODY'S BLOOD, REALLY."
And that's again, what I would do with a Sunday show. Assault leprechauns and steal their gold. THEN I WOULD CLIMB INTO JOHN KERRY'S ARMS AND HE WOULD CARRY ME TO ISENGARD.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day, by the way! Before we go any further, please stand for the national anthem of Ireland:
Kerry says, contra what the other half of this debate is saying, this mission is not about deposing Gadaffi. He also briefly forgets that there is no such thing as the Soviet Union. (Also, I think that a few of the names he dropped were either people he made up or extras from the teevee series ENTOURAGE.)
Levin says this is a limited mission, taken with caution and care, that includes cruise missile. Sessions supports the current action, but thinks the no fly zone should have been done "weeks ago," and we could be in for a "prolonged stalemate" in Libya. He can't see where we're heading, he says, and he doesn't know where the endgame is, and this is troubling. At least in Libya! In Afghanistan, the same level of cluelessness and delay is a good thing!
Kerry says "we are not policing Libya," we are in a "humanitarian mission to protect" Libyans from slaughter. Which sounds like policing? Also we are "policing" the skies in a "no fly zone."
I love how everyone, Gregory included, is hot today to say, "Isn't this a double standard? What about Bahrain? What about Yemen?" Hey, media, by the way, y'all didn't give a tinned turd about what was happening in Bahrain and Yemen until this intervention in Libya gave you the gotcha question to wield at politicians. You could have been talking about the situation in Bahrain and Libya for a long time now. SO WHY THE DOUBLE STANDARD?
Levin thinks we need to be careful going forward on nuclear power but that it remains one of the big hopes in moving off fossil fuels. Kerry agrees. Sessions says that Obama needs to lead the way on a new energy policy.
Time now for a five-headed panel monster composed of General Michael Hayden, Richard Haass, Andrea Mitchell, Jim Miklaszewski, and Helene Cooper.
Gregory drives home the point that 25 years ago we were fighting Gadaffi, watching Chernobyl implode, and magazines were still a viable media model for news and information. Yes, the eighties almost killed us all.
Haass suggests that maybe the right way of looking at this is "too much too late," rather than "too little too late," and I wish he was clearer because he seems to be edging up to the case that this is bad on the bottom line for us economically, but he's too in love with his clever rhetorical flourish to make it more clear.
Five minutes or so pass with literally nothing worth typing about.
Hayden says that the people doing the military response are probably wondering what "being done in Libya" looks like. Mitchell says that regime change is the obvious endgame, and that her administration sources say this is the case, and then the question becomes who takes over going forward.
Haass doesn't buy the "humanitarian crisis" angle, saying it's a civil war, plain and simple, and we're stuck with owning the aftermath. "The policy itself is seriously flawed," he says. Know what's even more flawed? The fact that all counterarguments against, "LET'S ATTACK WHOEVER RIGHT NOW/AMERICA HAS TO LEAD/WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING/TOO LITTLE TOO LATE IS TERRIBLE" are categorically deemed unserious. You think Obama would have gotten away with saying, "We can't take sides in this Civil War?" Bill Kristol would be dancing around with a hurdy-gurdy screeching his fool head off, and then David Gregory wouldn't be asking the "Is this a double standard" question, he's be asking the "Isn't Bill Kristol right? Don't we look weak? Can we afford to not act?" That's the intense insanity that "view from nowhere" media coverage gives us.
Oh are we still talking, on this show? Haass says that this is going to become a prolonged civil war, and someone is going to have to put "boots on the ground."
Miklaszewski makes you feel like there's some mad potential for mission creep, am I right?
Miklaszewski: To tear down a couple of facades very quickly. One, that this is about a no fly zone. It's not. As a matter of fact, U.S. Air Force, F15's and F16's today, were over Libya with the express purpose of attacking Libyan ground forces, which they did. And yesterday Admiral Gortney said, you know, "This is all about protecting civilians and the opposition forces," which gets us into the middle of that civil war that Richard was just talking about.
Helene Cooper avers that she's found that at the end of the day, she's found that Obama is the big thinker in the administration, foreign policy-wise, and that this Libya intervention is the first big inconsistency.
Haass maintains that the Libya intervention is not necessary to our vital interests and it hits our economic bottom line in a bad way. Mitchell says that Obama's multilateral ambitions remain in tact and successful, and offers that Bahrain and Yemen are going to be more problematic than people think. Miklaszewski says that Obama is working to stay at a distance, publicly, from the "political surge" in Libya, but remains engaged behind the scenes.
Okay, then, that's that for another week. I don't have much of a parting shot today, just, have a good week if possible. You know, help me find Jeff Sessions' gold! Happy belated Saint Patrick's-slash-we're starting a war Day!
[The Sunday liveblog returns next Sunday, duh. In the meantime, here's something to read that won't immediately depress you: the most hilarious legal deposition of all time: photocopier division.]