It really is about regime change in Libya

Ignore the president's hysterical critics. Obama's aim is to topple Gadhafi — and he knows the stakes are high

Robert Shrum

The commentary on the president’s course in Libya has been instinctively adversarial. Much of the press may be compensating for its cheerleading or supine acquiescence in the fraud of the Iraq War. So reporters chase administration officials around briefing rooms and TV studios, pressing questions that can’t be answered at all (about operational details), or can’t be answered candidly — for example, about the targeting of Moammar Gadhafi. On both sides, partisans join in — some Democrats apparently against any conflict anywhere — and Republicans who never questioned Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld, but somehow would scorn Obama even if he got Iran to surrender its nuclear weapons.

Having forged a genuine multilateralism on Libya and pulled off the miracle of no Chinese or Russian veto in the Security Council, the administration now has to speak diplomatically while wielding big missiles. But through the white noise of the media and political scrum, some truths ought to be clear even if Obama and company can’t clearly say them.

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