No sane person would regret the collapse of the regime of Quadafi. However, no sane person, having observed the events of the Second Iraq War, would view the collapse of a government as anything short of perilous.
I see no cognitive dissonance in being grateful for the apparent victory in Libya of the forces with which the U.S. and NATO were allied on the one hand, and maintaining that we were fighting an undeclared, ill-advised, and illegal war. It’s good that we won and hopefully we’re better off for having fought. But that doesn’t mean we should have fought that war in the first place.
It’s not quite over yet. As I write, Quadafi himself is not yet accounted for and the provisional government in Benghazi has not yet secured the entire country. Loyalist forces will melt back into the civilian population and could very well mount a resistance manipulating tribal tensions, should they perceive a reasonable chance of success, security, or even short-term advantage in doing so.
And while we seem confident that the new government in Libya will be both democratic and within the political and economic orbit of the west, whether it actually plays out that way remains to be seen. Remember, the problem with democracy is that sometimes people vote wrong — to what extent will religious fundamentalists acquire political power, particularly in a democratic system, and if they do, will we have any legitimate grounds to object?
But for now, let freedom ring.