No one who is even slightly familiar with the brutality of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi toward his own citizens would begrudge the attempt by the Libyan people to overthrow him.
But vicious as Gadhafi is, he simply does not pose a serious threat to the United States nor to U.S. interests around the world. Therefore, it was extremely unwise for President Barack Obama to have the U.S. military join several other nations in air strikes against Libya. And it was unconstitutional that he did so on the basis of a U.N. resolution, rather than getting the mandatory congressional declaration of war.
Sadly, the multinational airstrikes have had mixed results, at best. The rebels in Libya are barely holding their ground.
Now they have demanded that the United States and other nations provide them billions of dollars for supplies and to pay their fighters' salaries. They also say they want lots more weaponry to fight Gadhafi's forces.
Most distressingly, there has been talk among American military leaders about the possibility of putting U.S. troops on the ground in Libya - in the middle of what is really a civil war.
That would be a terrible idea. There are atrocities all around the world, including some that are worse than those taking place in Libya. We lament those tragedies, but we have no business intervening in them militarily when no clear U.S. interest is at stake.
In addition, we have no certainty that the rebels who seek to overthrow Gadhafi are committed to basic principles of liberty and representative government. How can we be sure we are not replacing one tyranny with another?
Unfortunately, there is little indication that the Obama administration will be pulling back from Libya anytime soon. The administration is calling for "patience" in the intervention in Libya - suggesting that the United States may be in for a long stay there.
But this unconstitutional venture has already cost us too much, and it is not clear that it has helped the Libyan people.
Further U.S. entanglement in Libya should be avoided - and assuredly no U.S. ground troops should be put into the middle of that country's civil war.