First lets be honest that what is happening in Libya is a civil war. Let's also be honest that our participation in it is also war and goes beyond a simple 'no fly zone.' (This is also unconstitutional without Congressional approval but a whole other blog post.) We are choosing a side and bombing targets and killing the people running them on the ground. We have bombed tanks, artillery units, military and air defense stations which to me, is well beyond just keeping Khadaffy's airplanes from flying in the air. At a time when our economy is still fragile, when overspending is and will continue to be a huge issue, and we are already still at war with two countries, do we really need a third war to go with that plate?
Libya 'No-Fly-zone' (2011)
Operation El Dorado Canyon (1986)
Egypt-Libya Campaign (1942)
Less than 30 years after our nation began, we were at war with Libya and from the list above have been off and on throughout the ensuing years. Yes the war in 1806 is probably what I would consider a 'just' war because we were rescuing our citizens kidnapped by pirates and the 1942 campaign could be considered a part of the overall scope of World War II. But like the current war, the one in 1986 is similar in that we don't have a dog in the fight. It was someone else's fight but because we felt Khadaffy had slighted us in the past, we ran with it to provide justification for our bombing the heck out of the country. Two years after our dalliance in Libya, our bombings were paid off by Khadaffy with the ordered hit and deaths of 189 US Citizens aboard Pan Am Flight 103. Unless Khadaffy is killed this time around, how do we think he will repay us for another romp in a Civil War that doesn't threaten our sovereignty in the slightest way?
Which brings me to the point of the end game. The reason I was so opposed to the Iraq war was that we had no end game and really we still don't. We have installed another corrupt regime that is friendly to us and our hoping that if and when we finally leave it will still remain friendly. With Libya, the Current Occupant has pledged that we will not use ground troops. We have proven twice with Iraq and once before with Libya that an air campaign does nothing but slow down the progression of what is happening. It still happens and the only way to stop that is boots on the ground and a loss of America's most precious treasure, blood. Now that we have chosen a side, that of the 'rebels', we have to see it through. If we don't kill Khadaffy as we say currently we aren't intending to do, the best case is a divided Libya which means a constant military presence, something we can't afford to do. If we kill Khadaffy, we will probably end up like Iraq with a huge vacuum and twenty people as corrupt and ruthless as the former dictator waiting to fill the void. Perhaps the 'rebels' will eek out a victory and Khadaffy scoots to where abouts unknown, we have now handed a victory to a group of people who didn't 'earn' it. Like anyone who is gifted something, you never really appreciate it until you've put in your sweat equity or in this case blood equity. We weren't given our independence as a nation, we earned it. Libya citizens need to earn their independence.
Finally and most importantly, we need to start only engaging foreign powers when our sovereignty is threatened. The reason is that we can't financially or with the blood or our soldiers, afford to keep paying the price of foreign wars. We simply can't afford to be the world's cop policing moral crimes. Where do we draw the line? Bahrain? Yemen? Syria? Saudi Arabia? Iran? The rest of the world needs to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps or eventually, our interaction on the losing side will cause them to pull us underwater by our bootstraps.