The U.S. controls the most powerful military force in the history of Earth. Its military dominates the globe and has troops operating in over 150 different nations. And the scope of this strength is not lost upon our civilian leaders.
As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madaleine Albright once said to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell, “What's the use of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?” This appears to be the U.S. approach to the situation in Libya. The U.S. is the one with the big guns, so let's go out there and use them. But rather than ask if the U.S. should engage Libya, why not ask if the rest of the world will?
Already, other nations are moving ahead with plans of their own. Both France and Britain are in the process of drafting a no-fly resolution for the U.N. Britain also has placed special forces on the ground in Libya and made preparations to stage additional air forces at Cyprus in case they decide to proceed with further operations. Either one of these nations could intervene in Libya by themselves.
Libya's military capabilities are limited to the point where they're having trouble dealing with untrained protesters forced who arm themselves by looting armories.
Arab states have come out in support of a no-fly zone, but few have offered support beyond words, volunteering neither money or manpower. Turkey, a regional power that could conceivably lend troops, has actually come out against intervention.
Is it really the sole place of the U.S. to engage in military endeavors?
If the rest of the world is willing and able, why not let them take the lead, rather than get dragged into another potentially long and drawn out conflict in the Middle East? If these nations are so conivinced that intervention is necessary, let them put up more than words asking for someone else to do the dirty work.
Just because we have the means, that does not mean we should necessarily be the ones to sacrifice both our money and, potentially, our soldiers' lives.