The quagmire of good intentions and the logic of intervention
In 1956, after years of our nation's leaders telling Eastern Europeans to throw off the yoke of Soviet Russian Communism, Hungarians stood up to their local Communist leaders who had been the puppets of the Soviet Empire. And we did nothing but watch as the Soviet tanks rolled in and mowed down the people of Hungary, captured and killed their rebel leaders and instituted an even harsher dictatorship.
In 1991, after pushing Saddam Hussein back across Kuwait's border back into Iraq, we had said Saddam was a tyrant who must be overthrown. Iraqis and Kurds in northern Iraq rose up against Saddam. We did not nothing but watch him mow down tens of thousands of people, and displace over a million people.
Libyan rebels have now stood up to Gaddafi (so many ways to spell someone's name), and initially we did nothing. Now we've acted and now there is the question of whether it is too much--or too little, too late. Or if we are just making it worse if we're not going to put in ground troops. And if we put in ground troops, don't we become an invader?
I have been mixed on this because I believe that we should not as a rule intervene pretty much anywhere. However, let's be clear about something: We as a nation have sold the world on the propaganda that we are a just nation who cares about supporting world peace and world freedom, whether those two are in tandem or contradictory. And too often we have sided with fascism, with oppression and have acted the imperialist.
So when the UN Security Council members said we need to act to protect the rebels fighting Gaddafi, and the majority of nation states said the UN is right to act, we finally took part in creating a no-flight zone and with some strategic air strikes (bombs), we hit Gaddafi and his supporters, and as always--and let's remember that it is always "always"--civilians were killed too. Still, sending in ground troops is a mistake, and maybe we've done enough already, which is to give the rebels a chance. But maybe (and I think this is happening) we need to tell Gaddafi we'll set him up in Ha'waii at Ferdinand Marco's place, with DirecTv and ten years' supply of beer.
At the NY Review of Books blog, foreign correspondent Anne-Marie Slaughter has a better and more scholarly but practical explanation of our domestic-laden foreign policy in taking action--or not taking action--with respect to Libya.
Notwithstanding this, I hate being on the other side of Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader....