Libya and Syria: Apples and Oranges?
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels February 8, 2013 - 11:51am
Yesterday in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta and Joint Chief Martin Dempsey said that the Pentagon had favored a plan put forth by David Petraeus and Hillary Clinton to arm parts of the Syrian opposition. The White House declined to go along with the plan and Petraeus and Clinton were sidelined by other events. The Times story reports the vehemence of Senator John McCain on the U.S. refusal to arm the rebels. The number of deaths in Syria as a result of the conflict certainly outstrips anything that happened in Libyia where Europe and the U.S. did intervene on the grounds of "the duty to protect." No major power is making that argument now. Why? There are good reasons, of course, but are they sound? Story Here.What is behind the Administration's decision? One of the major ones is said to be weapons dispersal, a topic covered in another Times story about Libyan weapons flowing into Mali and other North African hot spots. C. J. Chivers, who seems to be the Times's weapons expert, has that story.
About the Author
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.