On today's Op-Ed page of the New York Times, there are two articles concerning what is going in Libya right now. Hisham Matar tells a good story about some relatives of his which were released a little bit ago by Qaddafi to calm down the protestors. They were political prisoners and have been in prison since 1990. Now, they have joined the rebels and are fighting with hunting rifles and sticks against the Libyan Army. Matar is calling on the international community to help deliver aide to the rebels in the form of food, baby formula, etc... These supplies are starting to run short due to the interruption of supply lines. He ends by saying the international community has a moral responsibility to help the rebels since they have helped Qaddafi fortify his dictatorship these past decades.
The second article is by Nicholas Kristof who had a conversation with former Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak. Gen. McPeak is for a no-fly zone and says it will be a very easy thing to put in place. This is true, but that does mean actually dropping bombs on Libya to take out certain air defense measures (surface-to-air missile sites, etc...). SECDEF Gates at least recognizes this operation would be "a big operation in a big country." Any military move we make regarding aiding the rebels in Libya or not will have unforeseen consequences. If we help them then how long, to what extent, and do we help the next country's rebels who ask? If we do not help them then do we really just stand by and watch the Libyan Air Force bomb civilians and murder innocent women and children?
This situation in Libya has no easy answer. A no-fly zone would most likely keep the Libyan Air Force grounded, but what is the end-state? It looks like the Libyan military has the upper hand at the moment and is little by little taking back some territory. This could easily change in the next hour, but it will be quite interesting to see if U.S. foreign policy moves any further than United Nations communiques.