Abu Muqawama: Fallout From Libya Precedent Felt in Syria Debate

Abu Muqawama: Fallout From Libya Precedent Felt in Syria Debate

When the United States led an international coalition in a military intervention against the regime of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi last year, I was among those who argued the campaign was not in the vital interests of the United States.

Libya, a country of just 6 million people and around 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, was simply not important enough to risk the lives of U.S. servicemen -- or any more treasure, given what the United States had already spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. My own experiences in both of those countries as a soldier have made me wary of military interventions, and it was again in part due to my own experiences in those conflicts that I cautioned that a military intervention in Libya would likely develop into a bloody stalemate.

Happily, I have a lot yet to learn about wars and warfare, and regarding that last point, I could not have been more wrong. Although the campaign was not without blemishes and indeed highlighted many real weaknesses in the NATO alliance, most of what could have gone well went well, and most of what could have gone poorly did not.

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