An Eye For An Eye

On April 14 the United I States finally "did something" about terrorism by unleashing a massive bombing raid against Libya. It was certainly the popular thing to do--at least initially. Polls showed as much as 77 percent of the U.S. public approving the attack, and the applause was universal from the mass media. In the early hours after the raid, network news anchors even downplayed and undercut reports by their own correspondents who happened, inconveniently, to actually be in Tripoli and actually see U.S.-inflicted civilian damage and casualties.

Everybody wanted to feel good about this one. But one of the very few prominent voices of dissent, Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.), rose the next day on the floor of the Senate and said, "Take another look at those bleeding children before you delight over the precision of the rockets, my colleagues. Tell them you're not sure the policy will work, but it sure did feel good."

Strangely enough, the rest of the world didn't see things America's way. Of all the world's governments, only Britain, Canada, and Israel approved of the attack. And across Europe, including in Britain, the peace movement took to the streets for several days of massive protest demonstrations. European politicians noted that U.S. attacks against Qaddafi would only shore up his popularity and lead to more violence. And their constituents in the streets made the point that an assault by a superpower against a tiny Third World country was a violation of international law, a dangerous provocation of the Soviet Union, and simply a moral outrage. Foreigners seemed more able to notice the inevitable "collateral damage" to homes and families in Tripoli and Benghazi.

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