Courtesy Reuters

When considering how the United States should deal with persistent foreign policy problems, history can be instructive. Distorted or misremembered history, however, is dangerous. Unfortunately, in the recent debate over U.S. intervention in Libya, journalists and analysts have propagated an array of falsehoods and mischaracterizations about the United States' uses of military force since the end of the Cold War. Believing in these myths -- particularly in their supposedly successful outcomes -- leads to a misunderstanding of contemporary problems and to a more interventionist U.S. foreign policy.

The first myth is that the combination of NATO airpower and

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