By Kaitlin McDonagh
When President Obama announced the U.S. was willing to take military action against Colonel Muammar al-Qadaffi of Libya, it was easy to jump to a conclusion: the country is getting involved in another war.
This idea, however, is not as inevitable as some may believe.
The United Nations Security Council voted on March 18 to authorize a no-flight zone over Libya and to “take all necessary measures” to protect the Libyan citizens.
The no-flight zone, according to the BBC, “establishes a ban on all flights in Libyan airspace to help protect civilians,” with exceptions for flights the U.N. states enforces the ban and humanitarian flights.
On March 19, France, Britain, and the U.S. began a series of air raids on Qadaffi’s forces to aid the Libyan rebels. Without this air raid, the rebels would have been overrun.
According to the New York Times, rebel forces were able to gain control of the city of Ajdabiya on March 27, a city in eastern Libya, a day after allied airstrikes against Qadaffi’s military in eastern Libya. Clearly, foreign aid has helped the African country.
Despite the success, opponents of U.S. involvement in foreign matters may criticize the Obama administration: Why should the U.S. get involved in crises that do not pertain to this country?
It doesn’t matter whether or not the U.S. has any stakes in Libya; the issue became international once Qadaffi began attacking his own people. It’s impossible to ignore the immorality of this act; hundreds of citizens were dying, often in peaceful protest, because a tyrant ordered his military to murder them.
If something as horrific as this were to occur in the United States, the government would have no qualms about sending in troops to resolve the situation.
At this point in the Libyan revolution, politics should take a backseat to protecting the lives and basic rights of human beings, regardless of the different nationalities.
For those who still believe the issue is a matter of diplomacy, not morality, consider this: the United States has relinquished control of the entire campaign to NATO. The Obama administration is already preparing to remove several U.S. warships from Libya. The situation won’t get out of control; the U.S. is not the only country involved in protecting the Libyan citizens, and the government is already preparing to lessen its presence.
According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. will be finished with the situation in Libya from anywhere between a few months to a little over a year. To protect the lives of innocent Libyan citizens and preserve their rights to life and liberty, this is a small price to pay.