Here is an important and TIMELY read: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/03/201138143448786661.html I just emailed my US Senators and my US Representative asking them to please do all they can to oppose using US military forces in Libya, including for setting up a no-fly zone. I know from experience that at least staffers do read these (at least sometimes). I also know that snail-mail takes a long, long, time because mail gets routed to some initial location to be scanned for dangerous stuff in them.
There are for sure compelling financial reasons to oppose getting involved militarily in Libya. They are legitimate but too often they are the only reasons given for abstaining from using military force. This --and, "can we win?"-- seem to be the ONLY type of criterion which countries that do not adhere to the principle of the rule of law at home or abroad consider before using military force.
I was raised to believe that America takes other things into consideration, including moral values and a profound respect for the principle of the rule of law. Please read the whole article, but if you don't have time, here are some excerpts:
"The core legal obligation of the UN Charter requires member states to refrain from any use of force unless it can be justified as self-defence after a cross-border armed attack or mandated by a decision of the UN Security Council.
Neither of these conditions authorising a legal use of force is remotely present, and yet the discussion proceeds in the media and Washington circles as if the only questions worth discussing pertain to feasibility, costs, risks, and a possible backlash in the Arab world.
....There are also serious credibility concerns. As has been widely noted in recent weeks, the US has had no second thoughts about supporting oppressive regimes throughout the region for decades, and is widely resented for this role by the various anti-regime movements.
....The absence of any learning from Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq is startling,...
....Among the most ardent advocates of intervention in Libya are the last republican presidential candidate, John McCain, the supposedly independent Joe Lieberman, and the Obama democrat John Kerry.
It seems that many of the republicans focused on the deficit although cutting public expenditures punishes the poor at a time of widespread unemployment and home foreclosures would not mind ponying up countless billions to finance acts of war in Libya."