The United States has today entered into a new war in Libya. President Obama’s decision to implement a no-fly zone in Libya entails cruise missile strikes and bombing to dismantle surface-to-air missile emplacements and Libyan ground forces close to Benghazi. The New York Times and other news organizations now confirm that United States and French forces have begun bombardments in Libya.
The President has clearly sided with the Libyan opposition coalition, intervening in a widening civil conflict. This military intervention will involve providing significant political support and committing the prestige of the United States to protect the opposition coalition’s integrity for an indeterminate period of time. This is a very risky political and military strategy that will clearly require significant financial costs and increased stress on the already strained United States military system.
Numerous policy analysts have questioned the wisdom of a no-fly zone strategy in Libya, including Michael Lind, a fellow with the New America Foundation who wrote this piece in Salon. Steve Clemmons, another fellow at the New America Foundation, critiqued the no-fly zone strategy in the BBC. Meanwhile, The Economist has offered its own assessment of the risks of a no-fly zone in Libya.
Can the United States effectively enter into a Libyan War while simultaneously waging ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?