people like Juan Cole, but there are no publicly stated official goals or benchmarks beyond addressing immediate humanitarian concerns.
That silence leaves me uncharacteristically cynical.1 That is, it was not at all long ago that Qaddafi was being fêted by the leaders [added: and would-be leaders] of nations that now want him ousted. He was a poster child for "victory in the war on terror", a rehabilitated character who was opening his country up to foreign investment. But really, he was the same old Qaddafi and everybody knew it (and he was happy to provide occasional reminders "just in case"). I heard a war crimes prosecutor explaining why Qaddafi hadn't been charged along with Charles Taylor for war crimes in Sierra Leone. Qaddafi's public rehabilitation was a leading factor. Qaddafi's mistake, perhaps understandable given how much he had been able to get away with since having been declared "reformed", was that the embarrassment brought about by his actions would again make him persona non grata and subject to removal by military force.
For the engineers of the intervention, what do I believe an unstated "acceptable outcome", perhaps even "preferred outcome" of this intervention to be? For somebody within Qaddafi's regime to oust him (whether by convincing him to go into exile or through "wet work"), and to promise to the west that Libya's new leadership will honor its contracts with western companies, tone down the embarrassing behavior, and add a few layers of velvet to its iron fisted domestic rule. If in six months the new leader has kept the first two promises, I expect the response to be a shrug, "Well, two out of three ain't bad."
1. Yes, I know, it's not uncharacteristic. Let's call that sentence an exercise in poetic licence.