Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 2, 2003
WAR: Don't Read This While Eating

Mark Steyn on Liberia; Steyn's unerring instinct for the telling detail is on display here; read the whole thing, since I'm afraid to even quote any of this column here.

As I've said before, we shouldn't send our troops to Liberia if we don't intend to take sides and commit to escalate our presence to protect our forces if things get hairy. The major point Steyn makes is that we really don't want to side with any of the rebels, and President Charles Taylor hasn't been shown to be quite bad enough to take the tack we did in Afghanistan of prioritizing destroying the current regime and then letting the chips fall where they may in the aftermath.

For many of the reasons that co-blogger The Mad Hibernian has set out in some detail, I still remain open to persuasion that we have a strategic interest in Liberia that could justify intervening, in terms of Taylor's possible Al Qaeda connections and in terms of the growing strategic importance (yes, including oil) of the region as a whole. James Robbins has also made a fairly persuasive argument for intervention in explicitly imperialist terms. But I haven't been sold on that case yet. I don't buy for an instant the idea that we should just go in on the blithe assumption that it will be easy enough that we won't have to kill anybody; if we go in, we should expect war, and be prepared to stay a very long time. The question -- one that Robbins faces up to directly -- is whether West Africa is a place we want to be for a very long time.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:14 AM | War 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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