There are plenty of good arguments for imposing a no-fly zone in Libya. Without Libyan-government air strikes, the rebels might have a better chance of carving out permanent zones of resistance. Qaddafi has a long record of supporting anti-American terrorism, whether in the form of killing Americans in Europe during the Reagan administration or masterminding the Lockerbie bombing that took down a Pan Am 747 jumbo jet, killing 270 in the air and on the ground. In humanitarian terms, Libyans have been living an ungodly nightmare since Qaddafi’s coup in 1969, and it would be a fine and noble thing to lend them a hand to end their four-decade-long misery. The world would be a better and safer place without Qaddafi and his odious clan in power.
Unlike our military action under Ronald Reagan in 1986 (I visited the country on the 20th anniversary of that strike, only to happen upon an unexpected Lionel Richie commemorative concert), intervention now would find the proverbial “people” on our side. Many of our European allies would also favor some sort of military action. So supposedly would the majority of Libya’s neighbors. Even the Arab League is on record as supporting a no-fly zone imposed from the outside. Ostensibly, Arab countries would be supporting our efforts rather than undermining them, as they so often did in Iraq.