To The Shores Of Tripoli

From Egypt to Tunisia to Bahrain and Yemen. All across the Middle East, people are rising up and are demanding democracy and freedom for themselves and for future generations. Like dominoes falling along the floor, countries in the Middle East are beginning to see the power of democracy. And now another nation is on the verge of claiming democracy for itself but they are in need of help. On Friday, after much debate, the United Nations voted to assist the rebels fighting for freedom in Libya. A no fly zone has been established, air strips are being bombed, tanks and artillery destroyed piece by piece, and Libyan planes are being shot out of the sky. After much thought about the fact that the United States is participating in yet another conflict, I have reached some surprising conclusions of why this time, its ok.

First, going into Libya and taking out Khaddafy is, unlike the war in Iraq, a legal war that has the support of the international community. We have our allies behind us this time and after George Bush screwed over our reputation, waiting for a UN decision improves our reputation among those nations that lost some respect for us. We are not alone in this fight.

Another reason to be content with the UN decision is that President Obama took his time and thought about this decision. He didn’t throw us in another illegal war and he didn’t make snap decisions about something that would have consequences for us. While I do not root for war, I’m happy to have a President in the White House that takes the time to consider all of his options and actually thinks about the lives of US soldiers that he would be sending into harms way.

The last reason to approve of this war is that the people of Libya have asked for help. Unlike the people of Iraq, the people in Libya have been begging for aid and intervention from the international community. For President Obama to ignore the cries for help would be a major error. And also unlike Iraq, the people fighting against Khaddafy actually want democracy and freedom. No matter what branch of our military is sent in to take part in this action, they can actually serve proudly because they are fighting for democracy and freedom this time and not fighting a war based on a lie.

The history of all this is fascinating too. If you look back, the United States has fought in Libya since the founding era.
Between 1801 to 1805 the American navy and marines fought against the Barbary Pirates who were based in Tripoli and other parts of North Africa. The war began because of constant attacks on American merchant ships by the pirates, and the capturing of American sailors. A group of American frigates went to the North African coast and that’s when the schooner USS Enterprise defeated the 14 gun Tripoli. Ironically, the carrier USS Enterprise is providing support this time as well. Talk about coming full circle. Our newly built navy ruled the waves and maintained a blockade for years until a US, Greek, and Arab force marched across the desert to capture the city of Derne. The leader in Tripoli at that time, fearing that the march would continue until Tripoli was captured and himself ousted, signed a peace treaty with the United States. The First Barbary War showed that America could execute a war far from home, and that American forces had the cohesion to fight together as Americans rather than separately as Virginians or New Yorkers. The United States Navy and Marines became a permanent part of the American government and American history and the war against Tripoli became enshrined in the Marine Hymn.

The United States would once again attack Libya in the 1980’s, but Ronald Reagan like many Republicans that wage war, failed. Khaddafy remained in power and is still in power today. President Obama has a chance to finish Khaddafy once and for all and whether by air strike or with ground forces, we must ensure that freedom takes hold in Libya and that the Libyan people are able to decide their own destiny and govern themselves. Also, Libya, just like during the founding era, is having a profound effect upon our economy. As oil skyrockets because of the bloodshed in Libya, we should be even more motivated to end Khaddafy’s rule so that gas prices decrease. We should pressure President Obama to see this through to the end. The Middle East is undergoing a transformation that could see more democracy take hold and democracy has always been helpful to us around the world. If we let Khaddafy win now, Libya may not get another chance. We must bring down Khaddafy. Democracy in the Middle East, and our safety, depends on it. We have a responsibility to make to sure that people who want democracy and freedom, get democracy and freedom. Plus, I believe the founding fathers would approve. So, let’s move onward, to the shores of Tripoli.

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