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Should the U.S. help Libya?


Muammer Gaddafi is not leaving the scene gracefully, using shocking violence against his own people. Naturally, the question in the U.S. is what role, if any, we should play in stopping the crackdown. The Wall Street Journal urges the U.S. to go all in:

We'd go further and tell the Libyan armed forces that the West will bomb their airfields if they continue to slaughter their people. Arming the demonstrators also cannot be ruled out. The Libyan government is already blaming the protests on foreign help, and the protesters are facing a life or death struggle. The worst policy would be to encourage the demonstrators without giving them the tools to prevailâ?¦.

Is this before or after we help overthrow the Mullahs in Iran?

The Obama administration urged Mubarak to the door, so it seems at a minimum it should be calling for the same in Libya. Sanctions, too, make sense. But the idea that we should arm demonstrators and bomb airfields seems rather reckless. The question, as always, is: and then what? Help Libyans rebuild their country? Sit on the sidelines as chaos engulfs the country? Elliott Abrams, no fan of Gaddafi, describes Libya as a "shattered land with no alternative government, no real political parties, and no experience with free elections, a free press, independent courts, or any of the building blocks of democracy."

The last thing a broke United States needs is another Middle Eastern basket case as its ward.

(AP Photo)