How The Lessons of Iraq Paid Off in Libya

Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR FOR TIME

Rebel fighters remove a defaced portrait of Gaddafi from his compound in Tripoli

Generals fight the last war, and that's a mistake. The international intervention in Libya has been backward-looking--but in an entirely different sense. It has been prosecuted with the memory of the Iraq war firmly in mind. Only this time the approach has been to view the last war as a negative example. The international coalition--and even the Libyan opposition--is doing pretty much the opposite of what was done in Iraq. As rough-and-ready rules of the road go, this is not a bad one to follow.

In deciding whether to intervene, President Obama was clearly trying to avoid the mistakes of Iraq....

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