Sunday, March 27, 2011

Counterfactual Justification for Libyan Military Strikes

Making the rounds today on the Sunday talk shows, Secretary Clinton deployed a counterfactual justification for the military action in Libya.  Said Clinton:

“Imagine we were sitting here and Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled.... And we were sitting here, the cries would be, why did the United States not do anything?” (1)

The importance of this counterfactual in justifying the strikes against Libya is furthered by Secretary Gates’ assertion that the situation in Libya “was not a vital national interest to the United States.” (2)

Therefore, on the available evidence, the threat of a massacre in Benghazi--and perhaps elsewhere--by Qaddhafi was of overriding importance to the Administration in planning their military action in Libya.

(1) This Week with Christiane Amanpour.  ABC. March 27, 2010
(2) Ibid.

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