It didn't take until Monday for the Monday morning quarterbacks to start criticizing President Barack Obama's decision to join U.S. allies in a campaign to stop Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from killing his own people.
Born-again doves such as George Will, Donald Rumsfeld and Newt Gingrich ganged up on the president for the bombing Saturday of Gadhafi's air defenses and implementation of a no-fly zone over Libya.
Will compared the intervention to Kennedy's 1961 Bay of Pigs debacle in Cuba. Rumsfeld claimed it was hurting military morale. Gingrich says that, if he were president, he "would not have intervened," even though on March 7 he criticized the president for his restraint on Gadhafi. "This is a moment to get rid of him," Gingrich said then. "Do it. Get it over with."
It is reasonable to question whether the president and U.S. allies waited too long before aiding the anti-Gadhafi insurgents. As we asked on March 17, "Will the clock run out on the Libyan rebels before the world acts?"
Had Obama and U.S. allies acted earlier, allied forces wouldn't have needed to carry out such a large-scale campaign to knock back Gadhafi's forces from eastern Libya and towns on the path to Benghazi.
All that said, Obama did act, and part of the delay involved assembling an international coalition to carry out the mission. And what is the mission? At least part of it – the major part – is to prevent Gadhafi from engaging in a further bloodbath. The allies have been largely successful in that goal, a fact that detractors such as Will, Rumsfeld and Gingrich should at least acknowledge.
Americans should also recognize that, unlike the intervention that Rumsfeld helped orchestrate in Iraq, this one wasn't grounded in false pretenses of "weapons of mass destruction," etc.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.