We Should Learn from the Past
Aarif, age 15
The ongoing Libyan crisis has presented a dilemma for developed nations around the world, notably European nations in the U.N. Many have called for decisive action against Muammar Gadhafi, the autocratic leader of Libya for 40 years. In fact, the U.S. and U.N. have planned sanctions against Gadhafi, seeking to isolate him militarily and diplomatically. Others have supported a policy of minimal intervention toward Libya, pointing out that intervening in the revolution would fail to help either side.
Taking into account past events and effects of intervention, it is clear that the correct course of action for the U.N. and America is simple: let the Libyans fight it out.
Consider Iraq. We invaded the country seven years ago under the pretense of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and have since accomplished nothing but inspiring hostility in the Iraqi people and the deposal of Saddam Hussein. Military interference in Libya would simply be the same mistake. Under the excuse of removing Gadhafi from office, we would provoke all-out war with Gadhafi’s troops.
Furthermore, invasion of any foreign nation will provoke a negative response from nationalists, regardless of whether they support Gadhafi or not. Even those who are protesting the current Libyan regime may react negatively to a foreign force invading their country.
Most notably, but most often overlooked, intervention would mean full responsibility of the outcome of the resulting war. In other words, we would need an exit strategy (sound familiar?). If the U.N. provided support for protestors, the U.N. would be responsible for creating a new government of Libya. The U.N. would be responsible for supporting the new Libya and the U.N. would give the new government credibility, all actions that should be done by Libya’s citizens themselves, not foreign powers.
It is important to realize the situation in Libya right now. A large number of Libyans support Gadhafi’s regime, creating an atmosphere of civil war. In other words, the conflict is not simply people vs. Gadhafi. If it were, perhaps intervention may be slightly more justified. But, under current circumstances, it is not the prerogative of the U.N. to support either side in what is becoming a civil war.
Intervention would create a rather imposing precedent. If the U.N. decides it doesn’t like a ruler, then it would be able to invade using military force.
From an economic perspective, the U.N. and America are in no position to easily provide military strength to the protesters in Libya. America is broke and the U.N. has a lot of other things to worry about.
In any case, the U.N. has nothing to fear from a revolution in Libya. The protestors aren’t demanding a radical religious. regime; they are demanding freedom and lighter economic burdens. Unlike other revolutions, when hostile organizations threaten to take power, the Libyan crisis has no such threat.
Perhaps the U.N. is so concerned with Libya because of its vast oil reserves, just as it was overly concerned with Egypt because it has control of the Suez Canal. Last week, news of the Libyan crisis caused the stock market price of oil to jump 13 percent.
I am not opposed to aid in the form of refugee care, food distribution, or economic sanctions against Libya. Such actions will be absolutely necessary, but any kind of military action will be detrimental for all parties involved and it is in the best interest of our nation to stay out of this conflict.
U.S. Should Take Action in Libya
Tyler, age 17
We will continue to fight. We will defeat them. We will die here on Libyan soil.”
These words were spoken last Friday afternoon in Tripoli by Moammar al-Gadhafi, who has served as head of the Libyan government for more than four decades after performing a military coup d’état in 1959. For the past two weeks, Libyans have been staging a revolution against the militant leader in hopes of overthrowing him and stopping attacks on civilians and protestors.
Gadhafi made a crazed speech last week in which he attributed the animosity of the protestors towards the government to Osama Bin Laden’s smuggling hallucinogenic drugs into milk and Nescafe. He also compared himself to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. I don’t know why he thinks of himself as a queen, but it definitely wasn’t very dignified when he ordered troops to fire on civilians and protestors walking out of mosques from their Friday prayers.
The United Nations met in New York to discuss whether or not intervention is necessary. However, France and Britain drafted sanctions aimed at isolating the political and military leaders in an effort to stop the violence. The drafted sanctions proposed a travel ban and froze assets of 23 individuals including Gadhafi himself, his children and high-ranking military and government officials.
With all of the revolutions and fighting that is going on in the Middle East right now, it is ridiculous to try and defend our government from the suspicion that our primary motivation for rectifying these foreign issues stems from the dominating oil supply that the Middle Eastern countries control. While I’m definitely in support of the government intervening in these affairs, I think it should be with the purpose of preventing any more casualties.
Without foreign intervention, what’s to stop Gadhafi, the man who’s claiming that Osama Bin Laden spiked milk and canned coffee with hallucinogens (Drop the needle and step away from the cow, Bin Laden!), from just killing off the rest of the protestors? He is obviously unstable and has no conscience for thoughtless violence.
When is the right time to intervene? When the streets of Tripoli are soaked with the blood of the revolutionaries whose only hope is eerily similar to the hope displayed and shared by every person who took part in our own revolution 300 years ago – a chance for freedom?