A no-fly zone has been declared over Libya. To kick off the festivities, the United States has launched at least 161 Tomahawk missiles, as of March 25, to decimate Gadhafi’s air defenses. However, an America tired of constant conflict in the Middle East is now considering what more intervention would bring them. The only thing Tea Partiers and Democrats can agree on, it seems, is that only Congress has the power to declare war, and so, military action should cease. I think they’re all wrong. As humans just like us, Libyans want to live free from the oppressive rule of an extreme dictator.
After the first missiles flew, an American F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jet took off to help disable Gadhafi’s air and anti-air capabilities. The jet would later crash land in the desert due to a mechanical failure. When the pilots ejected from their falling plane and arrived in Libyan fields, they were thanked for their help. Rebel officials even brought one of the pilots flowers. For once, American forces are actually being greeted as friends and allies. Though perhaps not as liberators; I imagine the Libyans consider themselves their own liberators.
The cost of any military operation is huge. Each Tomahawk missile costs $1.41 million. The cost of an F-15 is $43 million. Fortunately, both pilots safely ejected, or I would be in the awkward position of trying to ascribe some value to a human life. The U.S. military should be proud that they are able to destroy things with such ruthless efficiency and such consistent success. However, it’s a hefty price tag, and some wonder what the U.S. can gain from it.
People forget that America would very likely not be here without generous contributions from the French during the Revolutionary War. In 1776, we were the rebels, we needed help and we accepted it when it was offered. Since Gadhafi took control over 40 years ago, Libya has lived through worse hardships than Colonial America ever did. We should not be so quick to ignore those so similar to us.
Really, this is what it boils down to: the people of Libya are still people, humans just like us. Just because we may never meet them ourselves doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. President Bill Clinton has admitted that one of his greatest regrets in his presidency was not intervening in
Rwanda Sudan to prevent the genocide in Darfur. Now we are given a chance to do the right thing, to prevent another humanitarian disaster; and we are taking it.
Even better, America won’t be leading this offensive. Assuming the transition goes well, leadership of the operation will be transferred to other coalition nations, leaving the bulk of our work done. Unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, this isn’t a long, drawn-out conflict carried out for dubious purposes; this is an intervention for all the right reasons. You can’t put a price tag on that.
Think of it like this: Libya is being reborn, and America just gave it a birthday present.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Reporter.