Kerry Supports Libyan No-Fly Zone
John Kerry's Washington Post op-ed supports U. S. leadership in establishing a no-fly zone in Libya.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has an op-ed in the Washington Post in support of the U. S. taking a leading role to implement a no-fly zone in Libya:
So far, Gaddafi’s forces have relied on airpower selectively. But Gaddafi is shrewd. My fear is that he is either choosing to bleed the opposition to death, rather than invite global action with a broad massacre, or waiting for the world to prove itself unwilling to act. Then he may well begin killing civilians in large numbers.
We cannot wait for that to happen. We need to take concrete steps now so that we are prepared to implement a no-fly zone immediately if Gaddafi starts using his airpower to kill large numbers of civilians. Diplomacy is urgently needed to build broad support for a no-fly zone.
In the op-ed he points to the examples of Bosnia, Rwanda, and Iraq.
The implication of the op-ed is that Sen. Kerry is proposing a bombing campaign to reduce Libya’s air defenses followed by regular air patrols to prevent the use of helicopters or jet aircraft by the Libyan military. That’s what several U. S. military authorities have noted would be required to prevent Col. Qaddafi’s using helicopters against the rebels while providing a reasonable level of safety for the flyers imposing the no-fly zone.
The op-ed leaves a number of questions unanswered. At this point the Security Council has not produced a resolution ordering the no-fly zone that the Gulf Cooperation Council has called for. Should the U. S. or NATO implement such a no-fly zone without UN sanction? Would venue shopping for international sanction increase or reduce the legitimacy of the action?
Don’t stakeholders (like France and Italy) have a greater interest than does the United States in Libya? Shouldn’t Turkey’s assistance be cultivated? Not only is Turkey a Muslim country but IIRC Turkey has one of the largest air forces in the world. Will the U. S. taking a leadership role encourage or discourage these other countries from active participation?
Where would the no-fly zone be established? How long would it be maintained? What if Qaddafi prevails?
If the reason for the U. S. taking a leadership role is that we have the excess military capacity to do so, why aren’t countries that are calling for us to use it footing part of the bill for that excess capacity?