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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Getting Involved In The Libyan Conflict

With all the turmoil in the Middle East and with Libyan leader Col. Qadaffi using extreme force on his own people, the international community has to ask itself if it is ready to step in. Numerous people have suggested that the United States Air Force and other governments set up a no-fly zone over Libya. They must understand, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said, this is not just a peaceful guarding of the skies but rather an air campaign against Libyan air defenses that involves American planes dropping munitions over Libya. It is essentially an air war, and only after the Libyan air defenses are destroyed can a no-fly zone be maintained.

While it may seem that it is our duty to help those who want democracy, we must remember what happened in Somalia when American troops were put on the ground to help starving civilians. That effort ended with the disastrous battle that inspired the movie “Black Hawk Down.”

There is perhaps another option, as Senator Lieberman and others have suggested: that we supply and train the Libyan opposition so that they can fight their own battle for freedom. I believe, however, that military action should not be undertaken unless all other options are exhausted.

If Col. Qadaffi starts bombing, gassing and massacring the population, or if the nation falls into a full-on civil war, then getting involved at least in the air would help mitigate some of the carnage. Some in the U.S. have even suggested denying Qadaffi’s troops ground movements, but this takes us even closer to being fully involved in yet another war.

For now, there are numerous American battleships, including amphibious vehicles and air craft carriers, in the region that are there to help distribute humanitarian aid and offer medical service. We can only hope that this situation gets resolved before more Libyans, or possibly Americans, are put into harms’ way.

 

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