For the past few months, insurrections have been popping up across the Middle East. What began as a protest against government corruption and poor living conditions in Tunisia has spread to Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, and, to a lesser degree, Iran.
A few months ago, the protest spread to Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi has ruled as a dictator for over 41 years. Unlike Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Gaddafi apparently used force against the rebels, and repeatedly promised to stay in power despite the insurrection. As civil war threatened the country, the U.S. had a plethora of choices, ranging from no involvement in the conflict to a military invasion. As a nation that champions democracy, we had an innate desire to help the rebels overthrow Gaddafi. That is why I believe that we were correct in assisting the attack on pro-Gaddafi forces.
For too long, we have allowed Middle Easterners to suffer under dictators, many of whom we support financially and militarily. In our preoccupation with our own economic stability and fight against terrorism, we ignore the fact that the dictators we support repress their countrymen. With Libya, we had an opportunity to right a wrong, and, as we should have, we took it eagerly.
The rebels were struggling badly and needed a no-fly zone over all of Libya, but we provided them with much more. Instead of wondering and debating about what action to take, the U.S. government helped attack pro-Gaddafi forces, and I applaud them for it. After all, it’s time to prove that our claim of being the defenders of democracy is not just a façade. We have done much more to perpetuate repressive regimes than we have to promote democracy. For example, we give financial aid Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, and, until about a month ago, Egypt. All of these countries are ruled by autocracies, but we support them because they help further our own interests.
I approve of the attack on Libya because it’s high time that we make our political and ideological goals consistent with each other. It’s time that we stop preaching the benefits of democracy while keeping Middle Eastern dictators in power. If we do, then we might even improve relations with other Middle Eastern nations and their people. It’s time that we stop preaching empty word