On Libya, ‘reality behind the words’ must be understood

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this third warfront in the Islamic world.

Here we are again with a president explaining why we are beginning military hostilities, not how they are going to end.

The definition here is of a “no fly” zone aimed at protecting “civilians.” That’s the sanitary language - very United Nations, very dainty.

Then, there’s the reality behind the words. They need to be fully understood now, before the escalation starts.

Why? Because if we are taking steps now that we assume will lead to further steps by Gadhafi, then further steps by us in response, let’s decide on where we’re headed with this now, figure out on whose authority both here and in the region we’re headed that way.

Do we escalate this conflict on the basis of what Gadhafi “refuses” to do? Do we increase the firepower against him and the means of delivering it depending on his continued hostility against the rebels? Are we counting on this in order continue on our own desired policy of getting him gone? Are we anticipating that Gadhafi will act in a way that allows us to take the U-N mandate and take it all the way to reaching our goal: getting rid of a despot we don’t like?

We have to wonder here about a number of questions. Why does the United States, why does Europe assume a certain right over the Middle East? Would we do what we’re doing this weekend in South America? In sub-Sahara Africa? In Asia? Where but in the Middle East would we presume to challenge a despot for his conduct against his own people?

Is it the people of the Mideast who give us this special dispensation to enforce our will in the region? Has there been a demonstration to this effect, a mass uprising in the Arab street demanding that we step in, that we act to overthrow Gadhafi, one of their own?

So is it the people we care about? Or is it the Mideast? And with what special constitutional authority does the president act here, with what authority from the people of the region or the people of our own country?

Those are good questions to ask. Why are we not hearing them asked? 

On Libya, 'reality behind the words' must be understood

Updated