Obama's strategy in Libya amounted to staying resolutely behind the scenes throughout the five-month NATO air operation. To wit: Don't say the United States is openly engaged in ousting Muammar el-Qaddafi. Don't even concede the United States is going to war. Take cover behind a political imprimatur for action from the Arab League and United Nations, and let Europe lead the strike forces. Then modestly take credit--albeit only with a restrained statement from Martha's Vineyard, where Obama has been vacationing.
Obama has maintained that the U.S. was not at war in Libya because the American role was confined to a defensive posture of "suppressing" enemy air defenses, to intelligence-gathering, and to surveillance and reconnaissance capability--but NATO says U.S. involvement in recent weeks has verged into clearly offensive attacks using armed Predator drones on selected targets, especially as a desperate Qaddafi sought to quietly shift his troops to civilian hideouts in the final stages.
If and when Qaddafi falls, does Obama's strategy of a low-profile, stealthy U.S. role of "leading from behind" deserve any credit? Will he get it? Should this provide a model for future military operations? Or, do you agree with critics who say Qaddafi might have been toppled faster and fewer people would have been killed if America had led the mission militarily from the start?
Once Qaddafi goes, do you believe the U.S. should participate in a peacekeeping mission if the rebels--or the U.N.--deem it necessary? What about American military boots on the ground?