Liberal Interventionists & Libya

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A no fly zone for Libya feels good, but is ineffective.

I was a strong opponent of the Iraq war, but this feels different. We would not have to send any ground troops to Libya, and a no-fly zone would be executed at the request of Libyan rebel forces and at the “demand” of six Arab countries in the gulf. The Arab League may endorse the no-fly zone as well, and, ideally, Egypt and Tunisia would contribute bases and planes or perhaps provide search-and-rescue capabilities. - Nicholas Kristof

With all due respect to Kristof, who has done some very courageous reporting in the region, this doesn't sound well reasoned at all. It "feels" different? Presumably the reason Kristof feels this way is that the atrocities being committed by Gaddafi loyalists are unfolding before our eyes, while the majority of Saddam Hussein's more heinous crimes were done years prior to the second Gulf War. Nevertheless, if your aim is to leverage American blood and treasure to assuage your own moral anguish, a no-fly zone is patently insufficient, for many of the reasons sketched out by Mark Leon Goldberg here.

Of course, if your aim is to simply "do something," however ineffective, then maybe a no-fly zone is called for.

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