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Why Libya and not Syria?

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Here is what I see on the New York Times website today:

Syrians Report Shelling of City and Mass Arrests

By ANTHONY SHADID 55 minutes ago

At least 10,000 protesters have been detained in the past several days, and a residential neighborhood in Homs was shelled again on Wednesday, activists said.

Libyan Rebels Close to Seizing Control of Misurata’s Airport

By C.J. CHIVERS 17 minutes ago

Taking control of the airport in Libya’s third-largest city would be one of the most significant rebel victories in the conflict.

One of these situations features military aggression against civilians taking part (and not) in a popular uprising. The other, from what we can tell, is a civil war pitting two unsavory groups against each other.

A new Rasmussen poll finds that just nine percent of likely voters think the United States “should get more directly involved in the Syrian crisis.” I agree. But there is little doubt that the Syrian crisis is more significant and poses a more serious humanitarian crisis than anything going on in Libya. Asking the administration to explain the logic of its foreign policy is a waste of time. But why does the public tepidly support one intervention, but adamantly oppose the other?

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