Is the talk of the day really about attacking Libya?
It seems to be.
The thinking is that if the U.S. were to impose or lead a coalition to impose a no-fly zone in the country ruled with an iron hand by Moammar Gadhafi for decades, it must first be preceded by an air campaign to knock out command and control capability and the ability to retaliate against enforcers of the no-fly zone. To simply attempt to impose a no-fly zone without this preparatory step is to offer the Libyan Air Force a chance to engage in a more even fight.
Where did these no-fly zone requests come from?
Somewhat anonymous requests offered up by random, or perhaps more accurately by media hungry individuals among the rebels, seem to be generating action in our nation’s capital.
But to what extreme is the United States willing to respond?
To whom would we be responding?
Would we not be initiating an act of war that is not directly tied to a recent provocation? In the 1980’s I was aboard the USS Saipan as we joined other US warships to cross the line of death in the Gulf of Sidra and thumb our collective noses at Gadhafi in hopes of provoking him into attacking any part of the US Fleet just so we would have a good reason to wipe his administration off the map. But what are we responding to in 2011?
Granted, the world would probably be a better place without mush-for-brains Gadhafi in it. Yes, in another context, I would use a more descriptive term than mush, but do we once again put our troops in harm’s way to remove this idiot?
What is in our national interest? Today, that phrase is sometimes interchangeable with the word oil. The interesting thing is that many don’t even bat an eye anymore that we would spill American blood to stabilize the price at the pump.
For over sixty years, we have wrestled with the question: Are we the world’s policemen?
We have yet to develop a coherent policy to guide us through this recurring quagmire. When do we exert the military might of this once peaceful nation and when do we let things run their course?
If American armed forces are called, they will respond with professionalism and selflessness. Every U.S. commander is ready to lead his unit into battle but is also prayerful that those who issue the call to arms are judicious with our most precious military asset—our service men and women. We as the American Electorate need to be more vocal with our leaders as to when we are willing to spill the blood of these men and women.
This is a call for our land of the free and home of the brave to pause, pray, and listen to the Almighty before we jump in just because we can.
It may be the right thing to do. It may be the humanitarian thing to do. It may be best for our national interest, but let’s wrestle with that question before we commit to battle.