U.S. enters Libya, leaves Iraq
October 25th, 2011
11:12 AM ET

U.S. enters Libya, leaves Iraq

by Michael V. Hayden, CNN Contributor

Editor's note: Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009, is a principal with the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm, and a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University. He formerly was director of the National Security Agency and held senior staff positions at the Pentagon.

U.S. security policy showed the effects of two substantial pivots this past week: ramping down our role in regime transformation in one Arab country even while ramping up our responsibility in another.

First to Libya, where the death of Moammar Gadhafi has finally ended the first act of what promises to be a long drama. As Iraq and Afghanistan have amply proven, collapsing the old regime is the easy part; building a functioning civil society is the real challenge.

Gadhafi's apparent execution after he was captured, on top of the still unexplained murder of the anti-Gadhafi forces' commander Abdel Fattah Younis three months ago, highlights the chaos and infighting that still exist in Libya and the need to help the Libyans build a viable state.

There is more than altruistic international good citizenship involved here. If Libya is left to its own devices, it is not difficult to conceive of it becoming Somalia on the Mediterranean, an ungoverned space threatening the heart of Europe as well as critical international lines of communication. We have already begun to fret over the loss of control of thousands of man-portable surface-to-air missiles. These are reasons enough to stay engaged.

Read General Hayden's full post here.


Filed under: EXCLUSIVE • Gadhafi • Libya • Libya • NTC