The U.S. and other countries will be hammering Libya from the air. There are two possibilities ahead:
First, the less-disastrous scenario: the bombings stop the progression of the Libyan army, and bottled-up contradictions within the Qaddafi regime lead to implosion and revolt from within. Peacekeeping troops are employed while a new governing process including elections is implemented.
Second, the more-disastrous scenario: the bombing fails, as bombing often does, and the U.S. and other foreign powers are pulled into a quagmire or civil war without an exit strategy.
Politically, peace advocates may well be divided about the military intervention, influenced by the specter of Libyan troops massacring the rebels in Benghazi. If the peace movement, such as it is, appears to advocate “doing nothing”, that position will be difficult to explain in the short run. Instead, I think the peace movement should warn against this new intervention turning into a quagmire/civil war with no exit strategy. That position leaves room for those who oppose the bombing, those who think it must be limited, and those who simply don’t know. And it positions us for the debate the country needs to have, a debate on the Long War becoming a Long Quagmire.
America’s partners in the “war on terror”, including Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya are in collapse, raising profound questions about the strategy. America’s economy is in deep recession, raising profound questions about the wisdom of spending trillions of dollars on foreign quagmires. America’s politics are in a crisis of democratic legitimacy, with the administration and Congress ignoring the fact that two-thirds of the American people want out of Afghanistan. Finally, we are in a crisis of vision, in which the Long War is pursued mindlessly to keep controlling resources, while coal mining disasters, off shore drilling disasters, and now nuclear disasters are threatening planetary equilibrium. The alternative must be to end these wars and tranfer resources into clean energy alternatives and domestic priorities.