The race is on to see which American politicians can argue most forcefully for the use of our military power to assist rebels fighting deranged Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. Conservatives were early to the argument, eager to help people brave enough to fight for their freedom and understandably frustrated by President Obama's broad encomia lacking any practical assistance to emergent democratic movements in Tunisia and Egypt. Senator John Kerry joined the fray over the weekend, showing the liberals' colors and trying to look worthy of being Secretary of Defense.
The Obama administration conveys its usual contradictory messages, most discouragingly explaining that the threat of force should deter Qaddafi as they backpedal from suggesting any actual use of that force. It is a mystery why the administration would believe an experienced manipulator like Qaddafi wouldn't make us prove it.
The administration compounded their errors by publicly tying any U.S. action to multilateral support they cannot realistically attain, and showing we could be blackmailed into inaction if U.S. diplomats were in country.