Mission Creep in Libya

There's always been something a little odd about American involvement in Libya. President Obama explained that he was trying to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and that Col. Qaddafi must go. But Qaddafi has put up a much stiffer fight than Obama and his allies David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy ever anticipated. The rebels, meanwhile, are a motley crew, one that even Secretary of Hillary Clinton has trouble defining. No one really seems to know who they are, except that they probably include a goodly number of Islamic radicals in their ranks.

Those Unsatisfying Terrorism Warning Systems

There is an unreal, artificial aspect of systems to warn the public about terrorist threats, the latest U.S. version of which the Department of Homeland Security announced this week. But American attitudes toward terrorism make some such system a political necessity. The public expects the government to be on top of terrorist threats, and a warning system is one way to look like it is. The public also wants to feel it is being kept informed rather than being kept in the dark.

Is Germany Drifting Again?

Germany seems to be doing remarkably well. Unemployment is down. So is spending. Its economy is the envy of its neighbors. But Roger Cohen in a stimulating op-ed in the New York Times drubs what he calls "Merkel in Miniature"—chancellor Angela Merkel, who is decidedy on the defensive after her Christian Democratic party has lost successive state elections. Cohen sees what amounts to a new version of Deutschland uber alles—putting Germany first and neglecting the idea of a united Europe.

Generals as Salesmen

Lieutenant General David M. Rodriguez, who has been directing day-to-day military operations in Afghanistan under the top U.S. commander, General David H. Petraeus, will not be moving up to replace his boss when Petraeus rotates out this summer.