Conservatives said it wouldn't work; for months they've made "leading from behind" into a right side slogan to define all this wrong with the Obama Administration.
Liberals complained that we were opening a front in yet another mideast war, an obvious prelude to the day when our tropps would have to go in, yet again, against an Arab dictator.
Say what you want about the unraveling of Libya in the past 24 hours - and admittedly, the fall of Tripoli is in its early stages, still, with much yet to play out - but can we just step back, for a minute, and acknowledge that part of what we're seeing is actually another example of the President and his foreign policy teamn getting the right thing done in pretty much the right way?
There wer never a lot of good choices when looking at Libya, because of Qaddafi's level of control, the lay of the land, and the uneven power between his Army and a ragtag collection of rebels. As North Africa dissolved in uprisings (this is less an "Arab Spring" then a North African story, given that the real changes have happened in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya), it seemed impossible for the world to just stand by. But the question of how to get involved loomed large.
It helped, of course, that leaders in Tunisia and Egypt saw that trying to hold on to power, to kill large numbers of their own people, was madness. That was never going to happen with Qaddafi (nor, as we're seeing, is it likely to move Bashar al-Assad in Syria), and that left few good alternatives.
While the Obama Administration did a lousy job of explaining the role of the coalition it joined, the general idea of it made sense: use foreign forces to limit Qaddafi's army in a massacre of its own people, and allow rebel forces to keep fighting to overthrow the government. It was, most obviously now, a strategy for taking sides in a Civil War in the name of civilian defense. But the alternative of leaving Qaddafi in power was and is simply untenable. It was long past time for him to go.
And so, we now have yet another remarkable moment. Even as late as last week, it was hard to see how the rebel forces would ever move into Tripoli, challenging Qaddafi on his home turf. And then... they did. A war no one could see ending, is nearing its end. Without US or European troops on the ground.
None of this is to suggest that what happens next is easy, or even peaceful; as we're seeing in Egypt, simply eliminating one oligarch does not solve every problem. But the last 24 hours are a reminder that change can happen, that it can happen in the right ways, particularly when people work together. And, in terms of American policy and politics, we have yet another reminder that, for all their flaws, this Administration is part of the process of making progress. It's not that I think he's a great President... but on Libya, he got it right. And that, too, does matter.