The United States and its allies were right to intervene in the Libyan crisis given the risk that Moammar Gadhafi would continue to massacre civilians in the rebel city of Benghazi.
The Obama administration was careful to become involved only after receiving considerable support from allies such as Britain and France, as well as from the United Nations and the Arab League — although the league has fecklessly backed away from its earlier stance.
Given the history of the last few years and Arab sensitivities in the region, the United States could not be perceived as once again being eager to intervene there without allowing other powers to take the lead in building diplomatic support.
While that gives the endeavor solid international legitimacy, the cost was lost time. A week or so ago, with some of Gadhafi’s military units and diplomats defecting to the rebel side, imposition of a no-fly zone might well have turned the tide against Gadhafi.
Now the prospect of a stalemate exists and the operation’s goals remain murky. President Barack Obama has said Gadhafi “must leave.” Yet top military officials say allied forces aren’t specifically targeting the dictator, nor does the U.N. resolution authorize his removal.
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