Elsewhere on this page, you will find an excellent commentary — by Walter Mead — on America’s latest military adventure.
In it, Mead notes that Wilsonian wars have a tendency of ending badly, in large measure because Jacksonians — Americans who believe, like Andrew Jackson, that the only acceptable outcome of an American military venture is the enemy’s unconditional surrender — tend to withdraw their support the moment they sense that the US is not waging war to win.
For the moment, President Obama’s military venture in Libya enjoys Jacksonian support because Jacksonians have long memories. They remember Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Locherbie, Scotland in 1986. Col. Qaddafi was the author of that horror, which killed all 259 people on board, plus 11 people on the ground in Locherbie. A lot of Americans died on that plane.
Jacksonians think Col. Qaddafi deserves whatever US cruise missile has his name on it. And if we’re going to war with Libya, they expect their president to deliver that missile to settle the matter.
Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had this to say about that:
“Does the United States have the capacity, unilaterally, with military force, to produce regime change in Libya or another country? It probably does. We probably do. Is that a desirable action to take? … No. It’s best to pursue the policy the president has chosen to pursue.”
You could almost feel the Jacksonians fleeing the room as he spoke.
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