General denounces president’s Libyan intervention, says White House must be asked to clearly state the political goal
- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at email@example.com.
“Colonel Khaddafi is a madman. There is no way of predicting his behavior. What is the political goal …To provoke him into something?…
“Now, I’m not saying we should back away from doing something when resolute action is called for. I am saying that, between the generals and the politicians — and the generals need to be the foremost spokesmen for this — when the president or secdef says, ‘Let’s send a force to do this, that, and the other thing,’ some general needs to ask, ‘What is your political goal?’ In my opinion, the belligerent posturing of this administration has created turmoil in parts of the world where there need not be turmoil today. Eventually, if they keep it up, it’s going to get us in trouble.”
–Army Gen. (Ret.) Donn Starry, February 1986, on President Reagan’s intervention in Libya. (P. 1097, oral history interview, in Press On! Selected Works of General Donn A. Starry, Vol. 2, Lewis Sorley, ed.)
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |