The legal issues – domestic and international – of a possible U.S. military intervention in Libya are pretty straightforward, and we shall discuss them in due course if an intervention comes to pass. Meanwhile, Tom Ricks offers six factors to consider when contemplating a no-fly zone:
1. Imposing a no-fly zone is an act of war. For example, it would require attacking Qaddafi’s air defense systems – not just anti-aircraft guns and missile batteries, but also radar and communications systems. We may also need some places out in the desert to base helicopters to pick up downed fliers. So, first question: Do we want to go to war with Qaddafi?
2. Hmmm, another American war in an Arab state -- what’s not to like?
3. How long are we willing to continue this state of war? What if we engage in an act of war, and he prevails against the rebels? Do we continue to fight him, escalate — or just slink away? And what do we do about aircrews taken prisoner?
(photo credit: Mike Bash)