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War should always be the last resort

By Scott Tibbs, April 1, 2011

Last week, I sent a letter to President Obama questioning his authority to initiate military action against Libya and urging him to cease the conflict immediately.

There is a precedent for military intervention for the sake of humanitarian goals. My position on the military strikes against Libya is the same as it was for our military actions in Somalia and Bosnia. War is a terrible thing and should be avoided to the greatest extent possible. This means military force should only be used to protect national security and then should always be the last resort.

There is no question that the Somali warlords were completely evil. There is no question that the Milosevic regime in Serbia was completely evil. As terrible as the Somali warlords and the Serbian regime were, it was not our place to intervene militarily. We simply cannot be the world’s policeman, and these types of operations set a precedent for an incredibly interventionist foreign policy.

What President Clinton did in Haiti was worse. After a murderous dictator was forced from power (by people who admittedly were bad guys themselves) Clinton used American military power to reinstall that murderous dictator. Even if I supported military action for humanitarian reasons, there can be no moral justification for putting Jean-Bertrand Aristide back in power.

While I was opposed to the operation in Somalia, I believe our response to the war crimes committed in the Mogadishu Massacre was completely inadequate and foolish. We managed to show the world that the United States was weak. Osama bin Laden himself gloated about our weak response after the massacre.

I will never forget the images of those war criminals dragging the corpses of American soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu. We owed it to the families of those soldiers to respond aggressively and bring the guilty parties to the harshest justice possible. We must never encourage those who would harm us by showing weakness to terrorists and war criminals.

If we are intervening militarily in Libya to prevent war criminal Muammar Gaddafi from slaughtering his own people, why are we not intervening in the Darfur region of Sudan? What is going on there could easily be described as genocide. We know that Kim Jong Il is brutally repressing his own people in North Korea - and for that matter, Red China is not exactly treating Tibet in a gentle manner.

We are setting a bad precedent here.