With the U.S. military action in Libya, the U.S. is now engaged in active combat operations on at least three fronts in the Muslim world, four if you count Pakistan as a separate front. Is this what the Obama voters thought they were voting for in 2008?

Sure, the administration says we have plans to withdraw eventually from Iraq and Afghanistan. But John McCain could have said that. George W. Bush could have said that.

How much combat and supply capacity do you think we have in reserve to respond proportionately to additional challenges from North Korea or Iran or from some unexpected quarter, from enemies tempted by our multiple military engagements?

Now unless we succeed in killing Gaddafi and his family and his network of loyalists, we have triggered a promise of retaliation against Americans from an enemy who in the past has succeeded in assassinations, terrorist bombings, and downing civilian aircraft all over the world. And even if Gaddafi is removed entirely from power, no one can predict the process for establishing his replacement, or how long that process will take.

This truth has become self-evident: Wars are easy to begin, but hard to end. If war in Libya was deemed to be necessary, we can only hope there has been contingency planning for a long war there, and a quick end to our military commitment on other fronts.