Then Again
To counter my own point, it does seem unlikely that we'll be able to defend the opposition in Libya indefinitely without ousting Gaddafi. There are three possible scenarios if there is no escalation against Gaddafi by the US, NATO, and the international community.
  • The rebels could oust Gaddafi with the help of the no-fly zone, an arms embargo, and a freeze on Gaddafi's money. That would be the best scenario for the United States, but it seems highly unlikely.
  • Gaddafi could crush the rebellion. In that case Gaddafi could either carry out his promise of a genocide or hold back in fear of international reprisal. Given his track record the former seems more likely, but the latter is not impossible. The thing I most think that will hold back the latter is Gaddafi's ego. He has run this country for four decades. Little economic activity goes on without his blessing according to the great podcast Planet Money. I wouldn't discount it altogether though. I seriously doubted we would attack Gaddafi and I'm sure he wouldn't have threatened and started to act on a genocide if he thought three permanent members of the UN Security Council were going to bomb his forces.
  • The in-between case would be that Gaddafi calls a truce and sticks to it in the short term. In this case you have a rump state ruled by the rebels with Gaddafi ruling the rest of Libya. There would have to be an indefinite no-fly zone or a UN peace keeping mission. Given the UN and Arab support of the war, the latter is not impossible. Hindering it would be the willingness of other nations to enter a Muslim country ruled by a leader with terrorist connections. Though Arab governments and maybe the Muslims across the region would support it, extremists would not care that it was to protect innocent Muslims. They would probably only see the West's involvement.
So if it's unlikely that we can escape a broader involvement, do I support the war anyway? If a genocide was about to be perpetrated, which I've said it is likely it would have, then yes, I do.
Have you been watching the Daily Show lately? In my opinion, it has the most nuanced and insightful analysis of the humanitarian claims to this Libyan intervention. This is my favorite bit:

Posted at 3/31/2011 1:48:39 PM by Rachel

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