Brzezinski: Libya Action Isn't War, But Necessary Intervention

Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 09:46 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski calls U.S. action in Libya something between war and military intervention, because America and its allies are not trying to conquer the country. But Libyan tyrant Moammar Gadhafi would the “top political leader in the Middle East” if nobody had stepped in — regardless of how the intervention is labeled, Brzezinski also said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Libya, photo, Morning Joe, iintervention, war
Zbigniew Brzezinski believes Libya would be worse if nobody had acted. (Getty Images Photo)
“Well, it really isn’t war,” Brzezinski said. “It’s something between war and military intervention, to stop something that is going on, but without really trying to conquer the country. But I have to tell you frankly . . . I cannot think of another instance in recent times in which I myself was so uncertain in thinking about the problem, about how we should act. Because there are so many downsides and so many uncertainties.

“But in the end, I concluded that, if we didn’t act it would be worse,” Brzezinski said, adding that he has some misgivings about the way it is being handled.

“Two things would be terrible: first, the mass slaughter of the people in Benghazi and the symbolic significance of that in the Middle East,” he continued. “And secondly, who would stand tall in the Middle East, astride the Middle East — Gadhafi. The person who blew up an American airliner, incidentally. He would be the top Arab political leader in the Middle East.

“What would be the consequences of that for the Middle East and for us?” Brzezinski said. “We are there to save lives, but the necessary component of that is that he has to go. Because if he stays, he’s going to be a source of conflict, a competitor to al-Qaida in his hostility to the West — specifically to us — it will be viewed as a massive defeat for the United States.”

Brzezinski said he believes it would be appropriate if continued Libyan military action ended up being European-led, but “the heavy punching needs to be done by us.”

“The objective has to be to prevail as quickly as possible, induce the Libyan armed leadership to rebel against Gadhafi, if we can . . . and in any case, in the process, asserting our domination.”

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