An Excellent Reason to Intervene in Libya

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/03/an-excellent-reason-to-intervene-in-libya/72979/