A justifiable interventionA leader’s misdeeds and misjudgment has eventually invited a massive foreign military intervention. A multinational force that consists of the U.S., U.K., French, Italian and Canadian forces have launched Operation Odyssey Dawn against the Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi yesterday following the United Nations’ Resolution 1973. Qaddafi invited the intervention by ignoring the UN resolution until the last minute and by continuing ruthless attacks against rebel forces.
Under the circumstances, the only choice left for Qaddafi is to immediately stop his barbaric use of force against his own people and step down. Regrettably, however, he is engrossed in a desperate fight by resorting to a human shield, comprising innocent children and women, around his military facilities that will most likely come under attack. That can never be justified for whatever reasons.
Qaddafi has long dismissed his own people’s growing voice for democracy by mercilessly killing unarmed civilian protesters by mobilizing mercenaries and jet fighters. With the protesters organizing militias, the Libyan crisis turned into a civil war. But considering the relatively limited firepower of the civilian fighters, the international community has finally decided to intervene. The world should hold him responsible for all inhumane atrocities he committed against his own people.
With the new development in Libya, the Arab Spring faces a new turning point. Although civil revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt prompted a demand for democracy in other parts of North Africa and the Middle East, no noticeable results have occurred. As the world watched the crisis in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain have conducted a massive clampdown on protests. Both governments should listen to what their citizens are saying and stop the cruel suppression if they really don’t want a Libyan-style crisis unfolding.
If the allied military intervention is prolonged, a simmering animosity against the West may sweep across the Middle East as it marks the West’s third armed intervention since 9/11. U.S. President Barack Obama’s emphasis on a limited intervention short of sending ground troops may come from such a concern. Yet, the latest military intervention is an unavoidable and justifiable choice for the U.S. government.
It’s a bitter irony of war that a campaign to protect civilian lives may end up costing more lives. This time, multinational forces should minimize civilian casualties through swift operations.