NYT suddenly worried about damage to U.S. credibility by ending wars too quickly

House Republicans are gearing up to vote, likely Friday, on whether to authorize continued United States support for NATO-led military operations over Libya. There are two main proposals — and a clear choice to be made. We fear they are leaning in a wrongheaded and dangerous direction.

One measure, sponsored by Representative Thomas Rooney and apparently backed by the House leadership, would allow financing only for American surveillance, search-and-rescue missions, planning and aerial refueling. Republicans say that if it passes, the Pentagon would have to halt drone strikes and attacks on Libyan air defenses.

They claimed it would do minimal damage to the alliance and its campaign because the United States would still be providing some support. But the damage to this country’s credibility, and its leadership of NATO, would be enormous. Any sign that the United States is bailing out could lead others to follow.