Humanitarian war-making (an oxymoron, indeed) is on full display in Libya. Reports persist that the Libya intervention, as it's commonly referred to, is bogged down. Is anyone really surprised?
There's been talk of the U.S. sending in ground troops as part of an international force to aid Libyan rebels, among whom are, undoubtedly, jihadists. Jihadists, as in enemies of the United States and the entire Western world. But if the U.S. doesn't pony-up troops, NATO may. Never mind that a humanitarian war was supposed to protect innocents, not support rebels. Doesn't taking sides violate a tenet of humanitarian war? Or will the U.N. sanctioned coalition overtly help the rebels in the name of humanitarianism?
Who knows? Who knows about humanitarian war's tenets? Liberals, being good relativists, are situational; aims are always malleable. But we do know this: winning at war -- or articulating victory as the goal of war -- is to be dismissed. Have President Obama and those mealy-mouthed functionaries at the State Department claimed victory as a war aim? Winning -- as in defeating an enemy -- defines traditional war, which liberals disdain. Traditional war is about protecting or advancing vital national interests, but national interests are narrow, squalid concerns.
So Libyan rebels shouldn't be cheered by the possible deployment of coalition ground troops; such may prove highly conditional and subject to change, particularly if the fighting gets tough and proves inconclusive. And if the coalition's constituencies back home begin to weary of the burden, goodbye troops, which is distinctly possible among Europeans.
The opening shock and awe phase of the Libyan fight was supposed to either kill Moammar Gaddafi (despite Orwellian pronouncements to the contrary) or send him packing, tail tucked between his legs. Instead, Gaddafi is proving wily and tenacious -- to a point. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is warning not to underestimate Gaddafi. Of course, neither should anyone overestimate the who are running this war.