Nobody wants another war. I think that is a fairly universal sentiment. Yet we now find our armed forces active in Iraq and Afghanistan. And last week the United States, as part of an international coalition, began air bombardments in Libya. The action is as a result of a United Nations Resolution 1973, which was approved by a vote of 10 – 0, with 5 abstentions (including Russia and China).
I think the sentiment is right here. The idea is to use whatever means necessary to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya in order to protect innocent civilians from the wrath of Muammar Qaddafi. The people of Libya seem to be tired of the Qaddafi regime. There is a desire for freedom, democracy and jobs. Like in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, the people began protesting all around the country. Unlike in those other countries, Qaddafi decided to strike back at the people instead of stepping down from his 42 year reign of terror.
The problem I have with this action is that there does not seem to be a plan as to what comes next. We are determined not to commit ground troops. Yet Libya’s troops continue to attack rebels and civilians, even after the heavy coalition bombardments. We did something similar in Iraq. We expected a “video game war,” where we bombard from the air, wipe out any resistance and then overthrow Hussein. We did not think about what would come next. The result was a quick “victory” followed by years of sectarian violence. Will we ever learn?