According to President Obama’s speech tonight, the one overwhelming reason for the Libyan intervention is that he “refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves”. Normally, this should be an unfalsifiable argument, and that’s probably what the President aimed for when he made it the rhetorical centerpiece of his speech. It’s not that different from his support for the notorious “stimulus” policies, when again an impending, invisible “catastrophe” was supposedly avoided by heavy-handed intervention.
Unfortunately for Obama, he has left a glaring hole in his sophistry this time. I submit to you the curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark in the night-time or, by its Libyan name, Ajdabiya.
As far as Libyan cities go, Ajdabiya is a pretty big one at almost 100,000 population. Situated in East Libya, it was one of the first cities to revolt from Qaddafi in mid-February. A month later, it was captured by loyalist forces, and held by them for more than a week. This was the time when Qaddafi’s offensive seemed sure to succeed. Benghazi was on the verge of falling, and surely Qaddafi’s actions in Adjabiya were a dreadful foretaste of the impending genocidal massacres, which our heroic President stopped from occuring in Benghazi and beyond.
So what did the loyalists do in Adjabiya, during those heady days when it seemed like the rebels’ defeat was at hand? What are the horrors that the rebels discovered nine days later, when they retook the city, with a plethora of unrestricted foreign journalists on their heels? Judging by the heated rhetoric that our President just served us, I’d have expected to read some horrific stories of “slaughter and mass graves” in the recent news.
But instead the silence is deafening. The dog did not bark in the night; the mass graves are (thankfully) missing; and our President has just served us yet another bald, prime-time lie. (And no, I don’t expect him to actually intervene against the regime that perpetrated “the single deadliest act by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East”, either.)