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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/2/11

Libyan War Recalls Afghan Pitfalls

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That uncertainty explains why the Obama administration has rushed CIA officers into rebel-controlled areas of eastern Libya to assess the identities and ideological tendencies of the anti-Gaddafi forces. Clearly, many Libyan rebels are simply motivated by their frustration with Gaddafi's autocratic rule, but there have been intelligence reports that some radical jihadists are mixed in with the ragtag rebels.

Still, many hardliners in Washington, especially the neoconservatives, have chosen to ignore the lessons of Afghanistan as they press their demands for a broader U.S. participation in "regime change" in Libya and for Gaddafi's murder. [See's "Neocons Regroup on Libyan War."]

However, it seems Gates may have finally learned some lessons from his prior service in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He is suggesting that muscular triumphalism is not always the best strategy; sometimes, compromise makes sense.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

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