Argument: Libyans cannot oust Gaddafi on their own

Issue Report: No-fly zone over Libya


D.B. Grady. “Why a Libyan No-Fly Zone Is Worth the Risks.” The Atlantic. March 9th, 2011: “Obama said of the ongoing Arab protests, “We did not see anti-American sentiment arising out of that movement in Egypt precisely because they felt that we hadn’t tried to engineer or impose a particular outcome, but rather they owned it.” However, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak never ordered his planes to bomb civilians. Libya is very quickly spiraling into a situation where the masses may not realistically be able to “own” the movement. If Qaddafi holds power, it would be extremely unlikely for him to take an attitude of “water under the bridge” toward those who had fought against him. There will likely be retribution of the worst kind. Tyrants know the intimacies of violence. It’s generally how they achieve power, and invariably how they maintain it.

Even accepting the White House argument that revolutionary movements don’t want U.S. involvement, a position echoed by many Libyan rebels, it is inevitable that they will require U.S. support, if not the day before an autocrat falls, then the day after. Timing is crucial if America’s supposedly odious, imperious hand is to engage unmoored states and fledgling democracies. Ill-conceived elections need only happen once — for example, in Iran in 1979 — and then never again. The fear, therefore, should be organized extremists finding opportunity in chaos.”