At NETWORK, we have puzzled over an appropriate response to the U.S.-led attack on Libyan armed forces. On the one hand ,we know that violence only begets violence and does not solve problems. On the other hand, we know that standing by when people are slaughtered is wrong. We share both views, but feel very uncomfortable with creating a third war in a region where we neither know the culture nor the political factions.
As we discussed this military action a few factors came to light:
On the other side, we are horrified by the fact that military force is being used again in this region of the world. We remembered that following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Libya gave up its nuclear program. We thought that evidenced the possibility of dealing with the regime in a nonviolent way. Additionally we wondered if this event was “less than genocide” and therefore did not call for military intervention. We wondered how this differed from Bahrain getting the Saudi military to control its dissidents or the reaction of the Syrian or Jordanian military. There seem to be a lot of precedents for not intervening and few for military action. We also are very concerned that once military action is begun, it is difficult to stop. Where is the line that limits our involvement?
So we share the ambivalence of the American people. It appears that the goals in Libya are muddled and that there is no clear way forward. Stalemate seems a likely result and we wonder if this is beneficial. As a way forward we advocate for intensified diplomatic efforts to create change, as was done in Egypt. A peaceful transition is the desired outcome for all of the unrest in the region. We also encourage the administration and Congress to take the long-term view and protect the refugees and civilians that are caught in the crossfire. We urge the cessation of air strikes at the earliest possible date. And finally, we adamantly oppose ANY United States troop intervention on the ground.