U.S. objective questioned as Libyan chaos escalates

Emily Brown, Copy Editor

As of this writing, Yemen’s regime is on the verge of collapse.

Syria shows signs of unrest.

Protests continue in Iran, Algeria, Jordan and Iraq.

In Bahrain, the symbolic Pearl Roundabout monument was smashed to the ground as the Sunni minority government desperately tried to keep control over the civilian Shiite majority. They were desperate enough to allow troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enter the country to help quell the protesters.

Despite all of these other revolutionary movements, Libya seems to be the only Middle Eastern country receiving international military aid.

This makes the newest U.N. General Assembly resolution even more fascinating.

The resolution, with strong French and British support, allowed the introduction of a no-fly zone in northern Libya.

The U.N. security council decided that if the Libyan government would not adhere to an immediate cease-fire, the council would take all necessary measures to protect civilian populated areas under the threat of attack from their own military and tyrannical leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

All necessary measures.

This is not an ordinary no-fly zone.

Operation Odyssey Dawn includes air strikes and Tomahawk cruise missiles targeting key elements of Gadhafi’s army and air defenses by the U.S.

Night skies in government-controlled Tripoli are bright with tracer fire and anti-aircraft machinery from Gadhafi’s forces fighting off coalition aircraft.

Though control of Libyan operations has recently been handed over to NATO, this is, without a doubt, a dramatic shift in diplomacy in Washington.

What kind of shift, you ask?

An illogical one.

I have been wanting the U.S. to provide aid to Libya since the rebellion started.



Medical aid.

The basic necessities to help the rebels — but mostly the innocent civilians — survive.

But the real problem is that we arrived too late without a real goal in mind.

Of all the Middle Eastern countries in turmoil, why Libya?

What are we going to do once we arrive there?

How much is this going to cost the American public?

Are we going to arm the rebels?

How long will we stay in Libya protecting a few cities on the verge of collapse?

How are we going to get Gadhafi out of there?

How long do we keep a country split?

Even if the rebel city, Benghazi, can fight off Gadhafi’s forces, it is doubtful Misrata can. The U.N. has only provided air support and the rebels are complaining they aren’t getting enough of it.

This creates a serious problem.

Without the accompanying ground troops, innocents in Misrata are being shot down by Gadhafi’s snipers and army.

No one is an exception. The injured are being attacked at Misrata’s main hospital, where Gadhafi’s army shelled and bombed the building.

While the opposition fights to keep its hold on its reclaimed cities, lost before the no-fly zone, Misrata is about to fall.

The civilians of Misrata are completely on their own. Is air support enough?

I doubt it. The rebels have outdated weaponry, and they are not trained in the art of war. They are up against the Libyan army and foreign mercenaries brought in by Gadhafi.

The Libyan people need help, and the help we are giving is ineffective and foggy.

But we entered this civil war, so we need to fight it as fiercely as we can.

And before this battle becomes more convoluted, the U.S. government needs to answer all of the above questions.