Is The Air Strike On Libya The Right Move For The U.S.?
This weekend, after intolerable acts of violence against protesters by Muammar Qaddafi and his regime, the U.S. joined coalition forces (including France and the U.K.) in bombing military strongholds in Libya in an effort to enforce the recently-imposed no fly zone and to end the suffering of Libyan people.
The UN Security Council insists that Gadhafi himself must not be a target of these attacks, and that they should be implemented merely to ending the humanitarian threat that his regime has caused.
Of course, with significant troop levels still on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, the move to go on the offensive against Gadhafi’s regime has raised quite a few eyebrows stateside and led to much criticism of President Barack Obama.
First of all, many are wondering just what the end to the air strikes will be. How can we truly end the humanitarian threat without removing the ruthless dictator from office? What is our mission, exactly? The president has said on multiple occasions that it is U.S. policy that Qaddafi should be removed. However, this is not U.N. policy and the coalition’s actions are being made on behalf of the U.N. security council. Thus, it is possible the violence (and resources with which such violence can be done) could be brought to an end without removing the source of the carnage witnessed in Libya.
Secondly, others are most upset by the fact that this seems to be a spur-of-the-moment move on behalf of the Obama administration as he did not take the time to have a full consultation with Congress or address the nation before making the decision. President Obama did hold a meeting in the White House situation room to discuss plans to begin the air strike; however, many had already left Washington and had to participate via conference call. Obama also publicly addressed concerns about the air strike at a press conference during his (somewhat criticized) trip to Santiago, Chile.
Finally, we all want to know how much time, money, and—God forbid—casualties this mission will cost the nation. The Prez insists the U.S. has already begun reducing its role in the strikes and will continue to do so, giving leadership of the effort over to NATO allies.
Once again, the president as well as this nation, find ourselves in a peculiar predicament. We could not stand idly by and continue to allow the mass murders occurring in Libya since protests began. However, at the same time, we face a mountain of debt, our military is still split (although to a lesser extent than before) between Iraq and Afghanistan, and our economy is only slowly showing signs of life.
Unfortunately, we are in what I like to refer to as the Obama conundrum: Often, having great intentions and doing the right thing comes at a price.