Are you willing to go to war for Libya? 

My friend John Tabin wants a "no-fly zone" in Libya. John's motives are good: he doesn't want the dictatorship killing more liberty-minded protestors. But what does a "no-fly zone" mean?

It means our fighter jets (probably acting through NATO along with other NATO countries) threaten to shoot down Libyan fighter jets that are flying in Libyan air space. In other words, it's one step short of war. What happens if we shoot down their jets? More to point, as my friend Dan McCarthy puts it at the American Conservative: "If a single NATO jet goes down, pressure to invade North Africa will be nigh irresistible."

McCarthy predicts that "the cries for intervention [will] grow very loud very quickly."

We're already seeing them. Besides Tabin, Dan Foster at National Review writes "Gaddafi’s bombers must be grounded." Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard wants "to put the United States, in both speech and deed, strongly and unequivocally on the side of decency and freedom." The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page wants our government to "tell the Libyan armed forces that the West will bomb their airfields if they continue to slaughter their people. Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy has suggested "the declaration and enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, presumably by NATO."

We're at war in Afghanistan, still. We're at war in Iraq, still.

Are you ready to go to war in Libya?

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Timothy P. Carney

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