Douthat grows ever-weary in the face of increased US entrenchment:
[T]he best case scenario for the United States might be (and perhaps has always been) not an outright rebel victory but a palace coup within Qaddafi’s regime — which could lead in turn to a negotiated cease-fire, amnesty for the rebels, and a “new Libya” in which the dictator slips into exile but some of his lieutenants remain in charge, stage-managing a transition to quasi-democracy.
I’m not sure whether yesterday’s high-profile defections make a soft coup much more likely (if they persuade the remaining leadership that the writing is on the wall) or much less so (if they strip the Tripoli government of all but the hardest-core Qaddafi loyalists). But either way, it seems like a better scenario than the only obvious alternative, which is to funnel American armaments and money into a fluid, chaotic situation …
In other defection news, several more officials within Qaddafi's inner circle ditched the dictator yesterday, including his newly chosen ambassador to the UN.