Here's a thought: France took the lead. Why? Perhaps president Sarkosy thought of Mitterrand's arming of Rwanda, which facilitated the genocide there. The US was 'late' to join the 'coalition of the willing', after the nod from the Arab League. Why? Perhaps Hillary Clinton thought of the slow response of her husband to the slaughter in Rwanda. Whatever the reason, had the UN Security Council and the Arab League not given the green light, on the world's television screen, we would be sorry witnesses to spare no civilian opponenets of Colonel Qadhafi to the wrath of his troops and mercenaries.
World opinion, however,is divided on the merits of intervention. 'No boots on the ground' is the mantra, and generally it will be observed. Nonetheless the allied bombings have stopped Qadhafi's troops and encouraged the 'rebels' to take heart and continue the fight.
Foes of the air cover are not without history to back up their opposition. Some think that the moment for action is past, and so good luck to the Libyans fighting the better armed Qadhafi soldiers and African mercenaries. Others, especially in the US, sees before their eyes the horrors of the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and shudder at sending 'our boys' to the 'shores of Tripoli' once more, fearing that they won't pull out rapidly once the mission is done.Still others eye the nefarious hand of US or European imperialist or neo colonialists aching to get hands of theirs on high quality Libyan oil. And if any underlying conditions have been overlooked, what about the CIA's attempt to 'take out' Qadhafi, in spite of the west's kissing and making up with him after he agreed to pay the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing, thereby throwing the door open to infusions of western capital into Libya. And then the sly old colonel renounced his infant nuclear programme. And so the rationalisation go on and on and on.
The last consideration for these people is the welfare of the tens of thousands who will fall to Qadhafi's wrath and sword of vengeance. For them, the stakes are not high enough nor the principles firm enough.
Happily for the Libyans these people are not in a position of power to stand by and do nothing but wring hands of 'me oh my....' and watch the spectator sport of mass slaughter, as they've done many times before in recent history.
What about regime change? The UN resolution does not specifically call for chasing Qadhafi from power. Look at it this way: by allowing the Libyan people, thanks to the air cover over Libya, are now more or less on an even playing field, and if they prevail, guess what? Qadhafi will either flee with his seven sons or they will be judged by the Libyan people. So...what's the problem?