Should the United States use its military to intervene in Libya?

In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi is using aircraft against his own people. Voices in the U.S. Senate and elsewhere are calling for a no-fly zone over Libya to stop him. Today’s Question: Should the United States use its military to intervene in Libya?

  • Tony

    When there is blatant displays of genocidal behavior coming from a leader against their own people on this scale, then yes. I believe that under these circumstances (the scale and scope of the revolution by the people), that since we “can” help, then we must.

  • Duane

    I would expect that most of the posters to this question will be opposed to intervention, as well they should be, since no one like to go to war. But this decision should only be made by our Commander in Chief and his military advisiors. The conditions in this part of the world are in constant change and our Comander in Chief needs to be able to make a decision without overwhelming influence of pubilc opinion which may lack fhe full mesure of the situation. If our Commander in Chief chooses to intervene, I will support him.

  • Dianne

    No, as MPR reported this morning, the anti-Gadhafi group have asked the world to stop sending arms to Gadhafi, and to send humanitarian aid.

  • Rich

    This is an internal civil revolution not a cause for U.S. involvement in the near future. If the people themselves started this uprising and Khadafi is a brutal leader who has been vicious in his ruling for the past 40 years, then let the people unite and do as they see fit. Maybe they will remove him, maybe not. I feel like we’re stretched pretty thin these days…money and people-wise. Libya seems like the perfect opportunity for serious mission-creep and frankly, I’ve had enough adventures in that part of the world to last a lifetime. Someone enlighten me, please.

  • Steve the Cynic

    With trepidation, yes. It would be easier to make decisions like this (and in the case of Rwanda in the ’90s) if we hadn’t misused the military as we did in Vietnam in the ’60s and Iraq in the ’00s.

  • Sue de Nim

    Let’s be careful about throwing around that word, genocide. Not every act of mass murder perpetrated by a ruthless despot is genocide. Genocide is the attempted extermination of an ethnic group, like what happened under the Nazis, or in Darfur. What dictators like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc., did was just as evil, but it wasn’t genocide; those were political purges. If you’re killing your own people, like Qadhafi is, that’s not genocide.

  • Alan

    No, we already have two lingering occupations abroad and can’t afford or extract ourselves from those, much less starting a third.

  • steve

    with reservation model the intervention like vietnam with advisors then move along in stages increasing role.

  • Completely agree with Rich, above. The revolution has to come from within, or it is not real. It’s great that the people of the MiddleEast are ready to throw off their dictators, but freedom is not free, and for the giant gorilla in the world to stomp in and impose our version of things is not in the long run legitimate. We should have long ago learned that. There must be ways to be supportive without taking over the fight and running it as our own.

  • David

    Of course we should! Libya is an oil producing country. It’s not like it’s a non-oil producing country like Somalia, Uganda, Darfur, Liberia, Palestine, Algeria, Chad….

  • John P.

    No. It will be Iraq all over again, and we can not afford that.

  • John P.

    No. It will be Iraq all over again, and we can not afford that.

  • Mick

    Maybe I’ve played too many video games or watched too many movies, but isn’t this kind of situation that special ops are for? Why not go in with a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer and remove Ghaddafi and his key supporters without a large scale military operation?

  • Dennis Johnson

    I believe the US needs to respect the government of Libya.

  • Johannes Frazier

    YES! Let’s support them by air only. We have the resources in the middle east and Europe already and we could easily have aircraft carriers offshore. Once the murdering madman is captured and is gone we can let them decide their own political course. This won’t be another Iraq or Afghanistan or Vietnam but rather more like Bosnia. Very different situation. Let’s keep a slaughter from happening, especially if Mo.Kad. is allowed to keep power and get his revenge on the rebels.

  • Steve

    No. The U.S. Military industrial complex should stop intervening in other foreign countries internal affairs.

  • John Robertson

    Sure – maybe soon we will learn what sovereignty is. Oh, I forgot this is the US who’s understanding of sovereignty is formed by the past and present destruction of their indigenous peoples, “for their own good.” What if someone wanted to intervene, in the name of democracy in the war for independence in Puerto Rico. Um, we don’t talk about that do we.

  • dick holt

    Absolutely not. The most compelling reason in my judgment is we simply cannot afford to become more involved. Our country is in terrible shape with no reasonable solution in sight. We simply can’t expend more of our limited resources on foreign conflicts.

  • jimmy

    No , We are in the whole world helping and we are BROKE, we simply have to settlr dowwn and pay our bills and stop printing money. T \he price of oil is the value of our dollar–DOWN. Oil at 65 dollars yesterday is the same today at 105 dollars{ the fed has our dollar now at 40 cents}. We have our own oil and don,t need to kill any of our boys for any more [two wars at a time is enough].We need to have FREE trade-dollar for dollar,good gas millage cars,lots of alternate energy-stop buying foreign oil and keep our money home and then we can spend it on JOBS.We have the largest and smartest pool of knowledge in history in our retired people,give them good jobs and tell them to help.Send anybody that is not a citizen home and enforce the lqaws of this land and help ourselves.We need to pull together and help U.S. instead of Libya or Iraq etc. WE ARE BROKE! WE need the fix U.S. so we can have health care and pensions and JOBS>

  • D Underdahl

    No, the United States should not get involved. We have too many irons in the fire the way it is and with the state of our economy we should be concentrating on getting it going again. I am not against helping the less fortunate, but it’s time to take care of this country.

  • David C

    We should give them surveillance info (Unmanned surveillance aircraft, AWACS, satellite)

    Maybe broadcast onto their TV the Libya air trafic.

  • Philip

    Nope – been there, done that and got the T-shirt and left unscathed. I don’t ever want to go back. Besides, it’s too hot and it stinks like curry, incense, BO and poo. Honestly, I can’t for the life of me understand why we actually fight over this part of the world, even for the oil. What it all boils down to is what we really consider to be important.

  • Lawrence

    According to conservatives, we can’t afford to spend any more taxpayer money. And a military commitment would do just that, spend a lot of money. Moreover, we haven’t completely finished the two entanglements we’re already in, Iraq and Afghanistan. And we’re still spending money on these two endeavors when most of our allies have pulled out of both theaters. Libya, like a lot of the Arab World, has leaders the United States and England placed into power after helping these nuts plan successful coups during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Is it any wonder why we’re hated in this part of the world, or why the people in this area, want to end the careers of the tyrants we put and support in power there?

  • Matthew Torgerson

    No we should not use our military power to intervene in what is now a civil war in Libya. According to the Weinberger (now Powell) Doctrine, neither stabalizing oil prices nor ousting a harmless and largely ineffective dictator are valid justifications for war.

  • Dennis

    No ! We need to respect Libyan sovereignty. This is an internal affair. We are not the World’s Policeman.

    If private groups want to help out the rebels in this civil war, let them send ‘stinger missiles’.

  • No!!!

    We should not be the world’s policeman or referee. Besides we are broke.

    We have wasted enough young Americans and dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Marcus

    I find it very intreasting that our wealthy overloards will attempt to spread “democracy” in nearly all cases except when the peasents of that country actually want it.

  • Patrick

    Isolate, then financially starve these thugs out of power while providing humanitarian aid to the people. This is now a civil war.

    America has enough spoiled bratty corrupt demanding nations to parent.

    On the other hand, this country would already be militarily involved if our addiction to oil was threatened; and if the bloodied bodies were of European descent.

  • JMM

    no- as much as I am sympathetic to the Libyan people and their cause against their leader- have we not learned our lessons from Asia and the Middle East in the past 50 years?!

  • Jamie

    Absolutely not.

  • Jamie

    “America has enough spoiled bratty corrupt demanding nations to parent.”

    I thought you were going to say “America has enough spoiled bratty corrupt demanding – bankers and CEOs to deal with.” Or something.

  • Kevin VC

    General Gates had it right, “No Mean No!”


    Seriously, we had been out of Libyia since really forever. The oil there affect the European countries, and any businessman there is there out of greed and stupidity.

    as far as whats going on we simply can not afford it. Also military action there will only accelerate the Oil usage.

    Doing some number crunching and realizing the Military uses more oil then the US population. No wonder why a lot of conservatives love making the US go to wars we can not afford. “CHA CHING” Money in the bank…

    In terms of helping those in revolt and the humanitarian side… Well helping where we can when we can.

    Until a plan to get in and get out is done to help, we can do very little. We just are no longer the super power of the world anymore….

    9th world wide in education. 50th down on healthcare and dropping unless universal care comes. And our own economy in shambles for those at the bottom, but BOOMING for the top 1-2 percent (The Oil Barons and Wallstreet).

    Sorry, we know a game is at play, but mommy wants us to stay indoors today due to a cold…

  • Shane

    No! You know if we set up a no-fly zone we will end up being directly involved in one way or another for a very long time. It’s time we start letting other countries be responsible for their own future. When it comes down to it people get the government they deserve.

  • Jo Belvedere

    NO! Absolutely not! We are not the world’s policeman!

  • Kirk

    I think it is immoral to sit by and do nothing (not to mention hypocritical given our rhetoric -which is all that it is if we do nothing)….

    BUT! I would prefer to see a much ‘softer’ approach, such as jamming the communication frequencies used by the military, etc..

  • James G Ahler

    A “no fly zone” is needed, but only with the concurence of some international body, preferably, though not limited to, the UN. However, we’d better hurry, since Ghadafi’s control of the skies allows him to perform genocide with impunity.

  • cathie

    No. We should be backing the UN to send in peaceful negotiators only. the area needs to be stabilized for the world economy, but we should not go in with force.

  • Garyf

    Blood for oil?

    Saddam Hussein had blatant displays of genocidal behaviour to his people too.

  • Stephanie

    No! Why is it that we feel we need to babysit the whole world? Let’s just let them take care of themselves.

    As it is, we don’t have money to take care of our own here. Let’s rebuild our bridges, streets, take care of the gas pipes underground that are about ready to disinigrate and blow up our neighborhoods. It’s like we think we’re the playground monitor. We need to stop!

  • jack goldman

    No. Let people kill each other. Did Libya create a no fly zone over America when the FBI was murdering American mothers at Ruby Ridge and shooting 15 year old kids in the back to kill them? Did Libya intervene when America was killing it’s own people in Waco, Texas? Americans are hypocrites?

    Killing his own people? What a joke. His own people are trying to revolt. Americans were killing their own government employees during the revolutionary war. America is a nation that murdered British government employees during revolution.

    Americans murdered their own people during the “Civil” war. Why can’t nations work out their own problems? Let them kill each other. Maybe Israel can intervene for us since the US has given the Zionist losers in Israel 1.6 Trillion dollars to keep their 60 year old forever war alive. Let’s get something back from Israel for our wasted 1.6 Trillion dollars.

    By the way. Where is America when Israel is “killing it’s own people”. The hypocrisy is legendary.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Violence never produces anything good. The best possible outcome of any act of violence (including military action) is the prevention of something worse. A NATO-enforce no-fly zone would probably be less bad than letting Gadhafi succeed in putting down this rebelion.

  • Steve the Cynic

    And the conservative talking hot-heads have no credibility on this question (or any other question for that matter). They were cheerleaders for Bush when he lied us into Iraq, and now they seem to be saying we can’t afford to help the people of Libya. No matter what Obama does about Libya, they’ll find something to criticize. They have no moral compass. They treat politics as if it’s a win/lose battle, rather than a process of rational deliberation and compromise to enhance the common good.

  • Daviod

    If our “allies” think it’s necessary to enforce a no-fly zone, more power to them. It’s time for some other countries to start picking up the slack.

  • DNA



    Send aid.

    Grow hemp.

  • Dee

    No, please, no. The military budget uses money that is needed desperately for other budget items. The current two wars have also cost the lives of more US soldiers than we should be expected to sacrifice for someone elses war. And, to what end? Because we believe in democracy? After all the time and money invested in Iraq, the military is still killing its own people for demonstrating.

    While we hope that Libyan citizens will emerge from the fighting with some hope of a voice in their government, it is not immoral or hypocritical to tend our own fires and try to redirect our investment toward the education of the students in pre-school, primary, secondary and post-secondary schools. We have lost much ground in this arena compared to our standing not so long ago.

    The standard of living for our own citizens has deteriorated also and an investment in job creation is urgently needed.

    Please do not commit our dwindling resources to another country or people when our own country has been neglected in the service of others.

  • Neil

    Good, sarcastic point by ‘Dave’. I also like what ‘Rich’ said.

    My answer is no. At least not now. This is not an American issue, it is an international issue, if that. Enforcing a ‘no-fly’ zone is an act of war. Although these situations are always debatable, any intervention should be in adherence with international law, i.e. the UN.

    It is not a humanitarian issue for the UN to get involved in because, as defined by the charter, there has been no cross border incursions or fundamental violations of human rights. If we feel it is worthy of some form of military intervention it should be only with an UN/international consensus. For those who see it as a humanitarian or moral issue, remember that if the goal is to save lives of rebel soldiers then we would be doing so at the expense of other soldiers.

    I also find the question to be intentionally provocative. Using the phrase “against his own people” recalls the oft-repeated report that Saddam Hussein used gas against his own people. I don’t see these situations as being that similar.