Next week the United States will mark the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq -- widely considered one of the worst foreign policy disasters in American history. Meanwhile, more than 100,000 U.S. troops remain mired in Afghanistan, nine years after the Taliban were toppled from power.
Both conflicts are daily reminders that the use of U.S. military force can have unforeseen and often unpredictable consequences. For that reason, force should be considered only in the most pressing of national security circumstances. Unfortunately, if the response to the uprising in Libya is any indication, it seems many members of the foreign policy community need a refresher course on this point.
There is a rising, bipartisan crescendo of calls for President Barack Obama to intervene in the Libyan crisis, including, potentially, through military means. Instead of a healthy sense of skepticism about what American arms can hope to achieve, there is a growing sense that the U.S. must "do something" to respond to the violence in Libya -- and that U.S. credibility is on the line if we fail to do so.