CNN/Time pundit Fareed Zakaria is considered one of the smartest guys in elite policy/media circles.Speaking with CNN host Anderson Cooper on Friday(3/4/11), he advocated CIA intervention in Libya. Deriding a no-fly zone as something less than a "magic solution," he explained:
ZAKARIA: There's a lot of covert stuff we can do. We can effectively fund the Contra war against Gadhafi the way we did in Afghanistan.
COOPER: So you think the opposition should be armed?
ZAKARIA: I think the opposition–I think that the CIA should start looking into covert actions that can fund the rebels, that can provide food, logistics, weaponry. And if Khadafy Gadhafi realizes this– and believe me, we don't need to advertise it — he would realize, he will see, the people around him will see he can't win.
Zakaria's historical references are a little bizarre. The U.S.-backed Contras in Nicaraguawerea disaster–a murderous group trained and armed in an attempt to overthrow a left-wing government that had overthrown a U.S.-backed dictatorship. The Contras directed much of their violence against Nicaraguan civilians. When direct funding of the group was blocked by Congress, the Reagan administration hatched a plan to sell arms to Iran and funnel the profits to the Contras–what became known as the Iran/Contra scandal. In other words, not exactly the kind of plan one would cite as a model.
Zakaria refers to Afghanistan as well–presumably meaning U.S. support for mujaheddin fighters battling the Soviet Union. Some of those fighters would eventually regroup under the banner ofAl-Qaeda. Again, not really the kind of project you'd want to replicate.