President Obama’s decision to launch air strikes in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone has gripped news headlines all weekend. Although the president has stressed that American forces would only target Libyan air defenses before deferring back to the international coalition to maintain the no-fly zone, many people remain uncertain that the U.S. will maintain a limited role in the country.
Last week, Need to Know contributor Joshua Foust assessed the potential outcomes of intervention. “Choosing not to intervene carries unforeseen consequences; in many ways, the international community’s refusal to intervene in Rwanda in 1994 contributed to the Congo’s horrifying decade of conflict,” he wrote. “But intervening also carries extreme costs, and burdens all who participate with dependencies and responsibilities few have discussed openly.”
Many of our readers have echoed Foust’s tone of trepidation over whether to intervene. Before the U.N. passed a resolution to create the no-fly zone over Libya last week, Facebook commenter Ruth expressed ambivalence over the international community’s involvement in Libya:
Europe gets just about every drop of oil that comes from Libya, and all they did was wring their hands. I’m glad that President Obama didn’t get us involved in this, but … if the U.S. is not going to be the world’s policeman then there damn sure won’t be one, because no other country will do it.
After the U.N. passed the resolution, Facebook commenter Robert advocated for an international coalition to spearhead the campaign, rather than the U.S. itself:
We shouldn’t lead this one. It would be reasonable to lend a hand and provide strategic advice, but the Arab League should lead this operation, and no country should be lending the overwhelming majority of military support. This should be through and through an international effort.
Steven echoed this opinion:
The U.S. should support only to the extent of helping the Europeans and Arab League with strategic planning. We should not use our military.
And on our website, Kinmak expressed skepticism over the U.S.’s motives:
Not saying Gadhafi should not be moved, nor saying a dictatorship should not be removed, but this move is really is another “oil” based intrusion and intervention of an independent state. Hypocrisy and self-interest were written on wall so clearly.
How do you feel about the U.S.’s involvement in Libya? Is it a welcome and necessary move to halt Gadhafi’s violent campaign or a rash decision whose consequences have not been fully considered? To what extent should the U.S. stay involved? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.