March 10, 2011 | National Review Online

What Should We Do About Libya?

The Obama administration should end its erratic course with pro-democracy movements in the Muslim world. Libyan opponents of Qaddafi’s lethal repression are showing a bottomless level of courage and deserve concrete assistance from the U.S. and the EU. “Obama: Are you with us or against us?” asked Iranian democrats during the 2009 protests against the fraudulent presidential election. He left those brave Iranian democrats out in the cold. Obama is — one could argue — confronted with the same question in Libya.

The highly repressive and closed society of Libya is a kind of mirror image of the Mullah regime in Tehran. If 41 years of Qaddafi-style totalitarianism can be dislodged, then 32 years of high-intensity revolutionary Iranian-style fascism could face the same fate.

President Obama and his NATO and EU allies ought to swiftly introduce a no-fly zone over Libya, including a strict ban against low-altitude helicopter flights. Violations of the no-fly zone should entail military strikes against transgressors. Anti-aircraft weaponry should be rapidly delivered to anti-Qaddafi forces.

The WikiLeaks cables showed American diplomats at their finest: They were terribly concerned about the lack of democracy and human rights. Obama has an amazing opportunity to end his zigzagging in the region and show that America’s democracy language is not merely empty rhetoric.

— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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