What Intervention Looks Like

How the West Can Aid the Libyan Rebels

Courtesy Reuters

With Muammar al-Qaddafi now closing in on a final campaign to defeat the rebels opposing his regime, the world's attention has centered on what the United States and others should do -- or even can do -- to aid those who are trying to bring down the Qaddafi government. Some observers caution that any sort of intervention would be unwise, if not dangerous. They warn that arming the Libyan rebels today could empower the next Osama bin Laden, who could one day use Western-supplied arms and training against his benefactors. Others cite the disastrous U.S.-led intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s and the ongoing difficulties of fostering civil society in Afghanistan. Even imposing a no-fly zone over Libya could require, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has cautioned, destroying Qaddafi's air defenses, an act of military aggression against a sovereign state that is not at

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