Just reading through this New York Times article, I found validation for pretty much every concern I expressed about getting involved in Libya. But one thing leapt out at me.
The French government, which has led the international charge against Colonel Qaddafi, has placed mounting pressure on the United States to provide greater assistance to the rebels. The question of how best to support the opposition dominated an international conference about Libya on Tuesday in London.
This is not the way to go. What the French should do is disregard the restrictions placed on them by the UN resolutions and go roust Gaddafi out of Tripoli. It really shouldn’t be that hard, and it will certainly have many benefits when compared to the prospect of arming the rebels. Not only do the rebels have ties to extremist groups like al-Qaeda, but they would need trainers for any equipment they’re given, which would, in itself, violate the prohibition on ground troops of any kind. Most of all, however, a prolonged civil war will do tremendous damage to Libya’s infrastructure and economy, lead to hard-to-resolve bad feelings, and cause a major loss of life and many injuries. Is it really worth all that just to pretend that foreign powers haven’t put any boots on the ground?
It will much easier for Libya to move forward if they can avoid a civil war that rips their country apart and leaves it awash with weapons and thousands of battle-weary young veterans trained in little but killing their fellow countrymen.
I said as emphatically as I could that it was a bad idea to get involved in Libya, but I believe the best outcome now that a commitment has been made is to get Gaddafi out of there as soon as possible. In won’t be with American troops, nor should it be, but someone ought to do it because it is actually the humanitarian thing to do at this point.