An Excellent Reason to Intervene in Libya

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Nick Kristof:

I opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion because my reporting convinced me that most Iraqis hated Saddam Hussein but didn't want American forces intruding on their soil. This time my reporting persuades me that most Libyans welcome outside intervention.

"Opinion was unanimous," Michel Gabaudan, the president of Refugees International, told me on Wednesday after a visit to Libya. Mr. Gabaudan said that every Libyan he spoke to agreed that the military strikes had averted "a major humanitarian disaster."

"Men, women and children, they are ecstatic about the role of the coalition but worried that it may not continue," he said.

Just as a parenthetical, I doubt Nick Kristof was talking to the same Iraqis I was talking to before the 2003 invasion; the most oppressed Iraqis, the twenty percent of the country that is Kurdish, seemed fairly unanimous in their support for military intervention. You would have supported intervention, too, if your people had been the victims of a genocide. But never mind that for the moment; if it is true that Libyans almost-uniformly support Western intervention to stop their monstrous dictator from slaughtering innocent people, then the argument against humanitarian intervention grows much, much weaker.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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