Gary Johnson on Libya: "We Are Once Again Just Playing Cop to the World"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 22 2011 3:36 PM

Gary Johnson on Libya: "We Are Once Again Just Playing Cop to the World"

Right after I wrap up the bow on a piece about the relative lack of conservative Libya-skepticism, here it comes. Here's former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, filling the libertarian role in the GOP presidential primary until (and after, he hopes) Ron Paul arrives.

At the end of the day, what is happening in Libya is a civil war against a clearly bad leader. The world is full of clearly bad and evil leaders, and millions of people being victimized by them. What makes Libya special? Simply enforcing a no-fly zone will  cost American taxpayers as much as $300 million a week, and that doesn’t include all those Tomahawk missiles and B-2 round trips. More importantly, those are American crews risking their lives.  If there is some compelling reason to be doing what we are doing, tell us what it is. If, on the other hand, we are once again just playing cop to the world, we can’t afford it.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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In with an assist is Pat Buchanan , who's really taken too long to come out swinging here.

Gadhafi did not attack the West. He faced an uprising to dethrone him and rallied his troops to crush it, as any ruthless ruler would have done. We have no vital interest in who wins his civil war.

Indeed, Gadhafi has asked of Obama, "If you found them taking over American cities by force of arms, what would you do?"

Well, when the South fired on Fort Sumter, killing no one, Abraham Lincoln blockaded every Southern port, sent Gen. Sherman to burn Atlanta and pillage Georgia and South Carolina, and Gen. Sheridan to ravage the Shenandoah. He locked up editors and shut down legislatures and fought a four-year war of reconquest that killed 620,000 Americans — a few more than have died in Gadhafi's four-week war.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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