After weeks of inaction by the U.S. and our allies, Egypt has become the first government to actually begin supplying arms to Libyan rebels — including assault rifles and ammunition — to fight against the evil and brutality of Col. Gaddafi’s forces. Good for them.
In a rare development, the Arab League last week actually suspended Libya’s membership in the organization, recognized the rebel faction as the legitimate government, called on the non-Arab world to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and take military measures to protect innocent Libyans being slaughtered by the forces of Gaddafi. Aside from Egypt, the Arab nations don’t seem willing to take actual military action themselves. They want the non-Arab world to do it for them. But I give them credit for showing resolve they didn’t show against Saddam Hussein, and haven’t shown against the Iranian regime, at least on paper.
Now, with Gaddafi’s forces gaining the upper hand, and his threats against innocent men, women and children growing more vicious by the day, and the Libyan people crying out for real help and not just words, the U.N. is finally moving, too. “The United Nations authorised military action to curb Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday, hours after he threatened to storm the rebel bastion of Benghazi overnight, showing ‘no mercy, no pity,'” reports Reuters. “‘It’s over. The issue has been decided,’ Gaddafi said. ‘We are coming tonight…We will find you in your closets.'”
As I wrote on March 10, the U.S. and other free nations should be arming Libyans to protect themselves from slaughter and possible genocide and assisting them in a variety of other ways. Had Washington and NATO done this quickly and decisively, many lives may have been saved. Instead, the West has dithered in the face of evil, issuing statements and holding meetings and wringing its hands. A week ago, I was reluctant to support military strikes and a impose a no-fly zone because I didn’t want the U.S. military to get sucked into a war the White House wasn’t serious about waging or winning, and which isn’t central to our national interests in the Mideast. That said, I cautiously support military action now (but not a full invasion) because other measures weren’t taken at all, people are dying, and this evil must be stopped somehow or another. After all, should Gaddafi be allowed to get away with this evil bloodbath, he will gain strength, feel vindicated, and project even more evil and violence, as will other tyrants in the region, notably the Iranians.
Let’s be clear and consistent: the God of the Bible loves the people of Libya, He loves the Arab people and He has a prophetic plan for them, just as He loves Israel and the Jewish people and has a plan for them. We should love the Libyans and all Arabs, too. The Lord Jesus Christ came to die for all people everywhere — Jew and Gentile — to set us free from sin and death and to give us eternal life and abundant life. Christ told us to love Israel. He also told us to love Israel’s neighbors and her enemies. We should, therefore, care what happens to the people of Libya. We should pray for them to be free, spiritually and politically. The Church should mobilize to reach every Libyan with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to strengthen the persecuted believers in that Biblical country.
Worth noting is that traditional left-of-center allies of President Obama are growing appalled by his unwillingness to show any kind of leadership on Libya. A few examples:
- The New York Times editorialized: “The Obama administration is throwing out so many conflicting messages on Libya that they are blunting any potential pressure on the Libyan regime and weakening American credibility. It’s dangerous to make threats if you’re not prepared to follow through. All of the public hand-wringing has made it even worse.”
- The liberal New Republic magazine wrote: “Barack Obama’s policy toward the Libyan struggle for freedom is no longer a muddle. It is now a disgrace.”
- MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said of the President’s first public statement on Libya: “This statement could have been put out by the first President Bush. It has the aspect of an Arabist statement. I shouldn’t be too strong here, but it doesn’t have any dignity. I mean – Ronald Reagan – to his credit, said ‘evil empire’ before the fall of the wall.”
- The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson wrote: “President Obama pledged that ‘the entire world is watching’ the horror in Libya, but watching isn’t nearly enough. There is much more that world leaders – beginning with Obama – urgently must say and do….Unambiguous, muscular words and credible threats are the least we can do for the people of Libya. Even by that low standard, we are falling woefully short.”
- Slate’s Christopher Hitchens wrote: “The administration’s inadequate response to the crisis in Libya reveals a lack of courage and principle.”
- Foreign Policy magazine reported: European governments “completely puzzled” about U.S. position on Libya
- Fmr. State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter — who served for two years as Director of Policy Planning for Secretary of State Clinton — lambasted the Obama administration for “fiddling while Libya burns”
- Even former President Clinton urged the Obama administration to take more decisive action in Libya this week.
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Libya airstrikes could start ‘within hours of resolution’
- U.N. Security Council votes 10-0 for air strikes, with 3 abstentions — Russia, China and Germany
- Obama’s indecision on Libya has pushed Sec. Clinton over the edge; Clinton says she won’t serve in a second administration if there is one
- NYT: Specter of Rebel Rout Helps Shift U.S. Policy on Libya
- Libyan rebels fault inaction by United States: ‘Nice words can only go so far,’ anti-Gadhafi spokesman says
- NYT on March 4: Qaddafi brutalizes foes, armed or defenseless