Gaddafi Actions in Libya Require Military Intervention

Alex Posa

The time has come for the African Union or the UN to enter Libya. If we can’t use our weight to coerce international organizations to stop the brutality, we must enter with support from our allies. With thousands already dead and Gaddafi showing no signs of giving up power, the world can’t use condemnation and sanctions to force this brutal dictator out.

A military intervention solely comprised of the AU would be the best outcome. While individual African leaders are eager to see Gaddafi go, the AU seems to lack the will to oust Gaddafi. The organization’s hesitation is understandable. The AU evolved out of Gaddafi’s desire to create an organization more effective than the Organization of African Unity, and he continues to be a major financial backer. And as long as Russia and China have veto power in the Security Council, a UN-backed invasion seems unlikely.

Unlike much of our past international meddling, this is a situation where international action is appropriate. The majority of the Libyan people have shown support for anti-Gaddafi forces; Gaddafi has lost control of much of the country, including Libya’s second- and third-largest cities, Benghazi and Misurata. And old troops are defecting. Forces won’t have to come in and wait for support from rebels, like in Iraq and Afghanistan. The support is there, and they are armed. Simply training rebels and providing them with better weaponry will hurt our interests in the long run, as it has many times before. In fact, there is already a National Transitional Council set up in Benghazi. Yet the revolution has slowed, and Gaddafi may even be able to stay in power without outside intervention. He is still this side of 70, and his sons seem happy to take over after his death. We cannot allow this to be an excuse for Gaddafi to clamp down even harder on the already abused Libyan people. He has shown his willingness to do this before: In 1996, he killed 1,200 Benghazi civilians after a failed rebellion.

The world community owes it to 6.5 million Libyan citizens to remove Gaddafi as quickly as possible. We have let him off the hook for too long. Libyans have endured unimaginable cruelty and suppression under Gaddafi.

Libya ranks in the bottom 10 of many freedom and democracy indexes. The Freedom House began quantifying the degree of democracy and political freedom in the world. Countries are ranked one to seven in both areas; one being the most free and democratized. Libya has been at a seven for both areas since 1990 and has never been better than two sixes, a feat only bested by North Korea. The images of torture victims are nauseating. According to Al Jazeera, the preferred method of torture is to hang prisoners upside down and beat their feet until they can no longer walk. Without intervention from a well-trained military force, it’s difficult to predict what the rebels will do to Gaddafi if they capture him. If they were to kill him without a trial, it would be difficult to blame them.

Gaddafi needs to be captured and brought to The Hague so that he can face justice in the International Criminal Court. Besides the brutality brought against his own people, he is directly responsible for the Pan Am 103 and Berlin Discotheque bombings. He needs to be read his charges and be compelled to tell families of victims of his regime what happened to their loved ones.