The Debate Over a No-Fly Zone Isn’t a Debate Over a No-Fly Zone
Qaddafi has proven much more resilient than I expected. But I’m still a skeptic of the no-fly zone, which suffers now from the same basic defect as before — it’s not terribly relevant to events on the ground. Qaddafi has been deploying his air force against the rebels, but it doesn’t seem that it’s the decisive factor. Indeed, the only thing worse than what’s happened over the last week or so on the ground is if the very same thing had happened while we were flying overhead patrolling a mostly irrelevant no-fly zone. This would have been an intolerable humiliation and we inevitably would have ended up bombing on behalf of the rebels. We’re looking at the same choice now. Are we really just going to fly overhead to watch from above as Qaddafi continues to prosecute his dismayingly effective counter-offensive? The debate over the no-fly zone should be understood as merely a proxy for the debate over whether we are going to intervene militarily to topple Qaddafi or not.