Gilbert Achcar gives cogent arguments in favor of the no-fly zone. This should be read as a counter-weight to the arguments I presented in my earlier post criticizing the UN Security Council invasion.
His reasoning is clear and persuasive:
1) we should support a no-fly zone b/c there was a very substantial uprising that had already proved itself and that requested such support from the UN and that stood a very substantial risk of being massacred by Qaddafi’s far better armed military forces;
2) we should not be using the “it’s all about oil” arguments b/c Qaddafi has already and long ago sold out to the West in this regard (and in many others, in fact);
3) while there are substantial reservations and suspicions to sustain regarding the no-fly zone and way it was implemented, we should nonetheless have unqualified support for the revolutionaries currently struggling with their blood and their bodies to overthrow one of the most cruel dictatorships on the planet – hence, despite our reservations, we should fully support this action, insofar as it a) obeys its own mandate not to set foot in Libya; b) does actually protect civilians and the rebel forces from being massacred (which it so far has accomplished quite well) (This is similar to the positions taken, to the chagrin of many radical leftists, by Juan Cole).