Better late than never, the Obama administration has finally recognized the National Transitional Council as the rightful government of Libya. Note that since March 17, the U.S.and our allies have employed military force against the government of Muammar Qaddafi, which means de facto, we were intervening on the side of the rebels. Yet it has taken the U.S. this long–nearly four months–to do something roughly two dozen nations had already done: namely to extend diplomatic recognition to the rebels.
It would be fascinating to hear from the administration why it decided to wait so long and why it finally decided to take this step now which could and should have been taken months ago. From the outside, it appears to be of a piece with the bungling and mismanagement which has characterized this war effort. As a result, Qaddafi is still hanging onto power, and our NATO allies are running short of munitions.
Now there is talk of somehow negotiating Qaddafi’s removal–though why he would voluntarily step down when he is wanted by the International Criminal Court, remains something of a mystery. It is said Qaddafi might remain in Libya, which raises a different point: why would he trust any assurances issued by the rebels when in Egypt members of the former regime are now being lined up for trial?
This would not be an issue if President Obama were willing to recognize that, War Powers Act or not, we really are at war. This requires decisive action to achieve our war aims–which by this point have clearly expanded beyond humanitarian considerations to regime change.