Democracy. Or more appropriately, democratic republic, a variation of democracy.
It is the foundation of our government and the basis for American success for well over 200 years. It allows Americans to live, work, and play in the productive society that is notably better off than the larger part of the world. We tout the wonders of our government’s structure and defend it to the end, and yet when another nation cries out for aid in developing what we have, it is to our inconvenience. Libya is crying out for a change in the direction of democracy, and we have a moral obligation to help them. Who are we to deny their attempts?
Before launching into what will undoubtedly look like a “pro-war” argument from a preliminary reading, I’d like to emphasize the importance of alternatives to any sort of military conflict. We live in an age desensitized to the median, where all mistakenly must fall at the extreme pro or anti-war and nowhere in between. This is entirely not the case. While military conflict is never desirable, it is sometimes necessary (when all other options have been exhausted) in order to preserve liberty, life, and defend nations. All military conflict must be carefully weighed and considered and should not be an emotional or rash decision. Those who recognize the importance of alternatives to militia conflict but also understand the realities of life and the sometimes dire need to partake fall into that too-forgotten median.
Libya is one of the aforementioned delicate situations where America must find the balance between peace and military conflict. Although putting boots on the ground is not currently in the agenda, it is a consideration that must be taken into account.
Libya is not a nation where citizens are free. It’s not even a nation where citizens can determine the future of their own government to make themselves free. By rising up against Muammar Gadhafi’s regime, Libyans demonstrate their contempt for their government and their desire for change. Libyans are risking their lives to fight for their freedom each and every day, and are finding themselves unsuccessful due to Gadhafi’s oppression.
It seems clear that they are calling for democracy, and calling loudly. By ignoring their pleas for help America is disregarding all for which it stands: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. By ignoring their pleas for help America is ignoring Libya’s desire for a similar model in which it will be able to thrive. If Gadhafi continues to resist Libya’s efforts for freedom, America is obligated to intervene on their behalf.
Considering military action in Libya is not simple, by any means. It would be a great economic burden to Americans and surely would cost lives. It would stretch soldiers even thinner, as our reach in the Middle East on two fronts would be spread even further. Taking on the job of helping Libya would be no small task. But nonetheless, the consideration must be made. America must decide if it is truly unable to protect the people of Libya desperately attempting to gain control of their government or if it is merely an inconvenience that we are unwilling to deal with.
America cannot stand by and watch Libya continue to deteriorate into an even more oppressive nation while it has the ability to intervene. America should advocate and work toward peaceful resolutions and modification at all costs. However, if the conflict escalates, America must remain on the side of the citizens. We cannot turn a blind eye because of the difficulty of the task, but must rise to the occasion to defend that which allows us to call our home the “land of the free.”
Allie Bedell can be contacted at