Prior to these analyses, I would like to offer a brief analysis of President Obama's on Libya, which can be read in its entirety in the link above. The President's justification of military action in Libya begins by framing the use of military action in the terminology of Just War, which proposes that, given a just cause,
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;To this end, President Obama states that "this is not an outcome that the United States or any of our partners sought" and that "the international community offered Muammar Qaddafi the opportunity to pursue an immediate cease fire," hoping that this demonstrates that other means of addressing the civil unrest have failed. Unfortunately, a simple offer that Qaddafi declare a cease fire does not present a viable attempt to resolve the conflict. Instead it proposes that Qaddafi placate the international community by toning down his violations of human rights, in order that they do not side with the opposition in an internal civil war. What distinguishes this civil war from the conflicts in Yemen or in other areas of the Middle East and around the world?
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. the power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition. (Catechism of the Catholic 2309: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P81.HTM)
Following his discussion of why military intervention is necessary, President Obama presents his main argument for war: "Actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced." This sentence reveals the vapid doctrine underlying the military intervention. "Actions have consequences." We could divine as much from Newton's Third Law. "The writ of the international community must be enforced." When did the holy "writ" of the UN become a motivation that must be enforced throughout the world?
To conclude these prefatory remarks, I would like to comment on the premise that we are not deploying US ground troops in this conflict. This does not present a significant departure in the military doctrine of the United States, which is already moving away from ground engagements (see Robert Gate's recent address to U.S. Military Academy cadets) nor does it limit any liabilities. In fact, I would propose that it could escalate problems within the conflict and lead to greater risks for civilians in Libya.