On Libya, Multilateralism, and Impeachment

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I hear Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wants to impeach Obama. Without looking at what he has to say, I can guarantee it is about Libya, it makes as little sense as his attempts to impeach Bush, and it will carry no weight in the public discourse.

In justification for the attack on Libya, Obama and his administration and other Democrats have been saying that this was a multilateral effort, apparently trying to contrast it to the attack on Iraq. Now, apart from the lies over the past many years about how the attack on Iraq wasn't multilateral, I've never understood why it even mattered.

Obama would certainly agree, as almost all of us would, that attacking another country should only be done as a last resort, when you have no other reasonable options, only when it is necessary to do so.

If it's necessary, then you should do it even if no one else is coming along with you, even if it is entirely unilateral. Necessary means necessary.

If it isn't necessary, then you shouldn't be doing it at all, whether or not you have the rest of the world on your side. Only when necessary means only when necessary.

So logically, whether or not an action is unilateral or multilateral has nothing to do with whether a military attack on another action is justified, unless you believe we should militarily attack other nations when it is not necessary, or that we should not necessarily militarily attack other nations even when it is necessary.

The bottom line is that I don't think attacking Libya was necessary, and as such, I think we shouldn't have done it. But if Obama thinks it was necessary, he should say that without reference to how many other nations are on our side: make the case that this was right for us to do, regardless of what anyone else says or does. And frankly, I don't think he's done that.

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