The long shadow of Iraq

Posted on Wed 16 March 2011 in general

Colonel Gaddafi must think he's the luckiest dictator in the world. While operating under the imperfect spotlight of the worlds media last week he's now busy crushing the rebellion in Libya while the worlds attention is divided by events the other side of the world. Meanwhile the legacy of the Iraq war has made most of the Western world hesitant about bold action. So while it's right to try and gather international support at the UN I fear the fighting will be over and the leaders strung up on lamp posts before any action is taken. Obama is certainly an improvement on the last incumbent in the White House but he's not exactly offering leadership in this situation.

Of course it's open for debate if a No Fly zone would help the rebels, but I'm struggling to think what else the west can do? What would those opposed to the Iraq war suggest is the correct response to this situation? Is the lesson the Arab people are to take from this that we are sorry we intervened militarily before, all we can do is offer vocal support while well armed states put down dissent?

The shadow of Iraq is long indeed.