US in Libya: “Stop preaching empty words”

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

2 thoughts on “US in Libya: “Stop preaching empty words”

  • March 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm
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    Very nice article, but if the US army gives arms to Libyan rebels it’s going to be Afghanistan all over again aka Taliban with heavy arms

  • March 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm
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    I agree with Holden that taking action to prevent the slaughter of opponents of that insane dictator was the correct thing to do. But is this the start of a new policy of the US, the Obama Doctrine, where we and our friends intervene whenever an undemocratic government attacks its own people? A part of me really hopes so, but I see two problems with this. The first is to know when the policy should be applied–in China when the Tibetans rise up, which they have every right to do, and the Chinese government crushes them? Unlikely given China’s military might and position on the UN Security Council, but justified by the policy. The other problem is financial. The US is the only country with the defense budget that can launch effective attacks to deter aggressors like those of Gaddafi. Until others have the arsenal to share in the deterrence, it’s always going to be our money–and troops–on the line.

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