As a WikiLeaks document illustrated in February, when the hacking collective Anonymous obtained private intelligence firm Stratfor's email communications, America was unofficially all over Libya while Obama bragged that the U.S. never officially had any boots on the ground. Right -- not in uniform, at least.
In one email, Stratfor asked: "You guys lending the opposition a hand?" A contractor on government assignment inside Libya responded: "Certainly are. They need it. At the request of a (U.S. government) committee and the (rebels). Been there since no-fly."
Fast-forward to Syria. WikiLeaks published an email from December 2011 in which an American private security firm representative is described by Stratfor as "intend(ing) to offer his services to help protect the opposition members, like he had underway in Libya," further stating that other private Western entities would "engage Syrian opposition in Turkey," and "the true mission is how they can help in regime change."
So there you have it: The interventionist efforts have begun and may even be wrapped up by the time anyone gets around to doing anything about it in any official capacity. We seem to have entered a new era of warfare in which a problem can regularly be resolved through unofficial military -- or, as it's known euphemistically, "security" -- intervention, all while people are busy whining about the lack thereof, just like a kid at the doctor's office crying about the needle going into his arm when the blood has already been drawn.
Maybe Americans are getting the kind of wars they deserve -- covert ones that circumvent the kind of moaning that military intervention has triggered in the recent past. The downside is that the responsibility for the outcome, and the rights to any spoils of victory, are obscured. Who's going to be responsible for cleaning up after the inevitable post-revolution tribal clashes? Certainly not the private contractors, who'll be off to the next gig. And who gets to lay claim to any economic benefits that might open up in a newly destabilized market? Not the nations who pretend they weren't even there.