The UN resolution 1973 is purportedly imposed to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, the killing of "thousands of civilians" - as claimed by the insurgent side. Is there any independent confirmation of such a humanitarian catastrophe, of the death of masses of innocent civilians? Or do those casualties occur in the course of armed struggle between government forces and insurgents? No one can say for sure, because the evidence, what there is of it, comes from the warring sides and should by rights be dismissed as acts of information warfare.
As far as this anti-government side is concerned, a lack of any reliable information about it is particularly conspicuous. Just who are these people? Who are their leaders? Western media now calls them "freedom fighters" but are they? What are their plans - apart from getting rid of Qaddafi? If they want "freedom and democracy" - what are their democratic credentials, excepting verbiage? Freedom for what, Sharia Law? Col. Qaddafi, for one, calls them al-Qaeda stooges. He may be saying this just to scare his Western opponents - but supposing there is a grain of truth in this?
We just do not know, and that's a fact.
The "international community" is obviously giving the rebels the benefit of the doubt - or, more realistically, hoping to install, once that unpleasant character, Col. Qaddafi, is got rid of through military intervention, a more acceptable regime like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such a scenario is not impossible and even probable. Whether it will be the best for the Libyan people and for that matter for the West is another matter. What we see in Iraq and Afghanistan - a terrorist war of attrition, the presence of foreign military forces on their soil, and a virtual disintegration of what used to be a single nation - are far from encouraging prospects. And Col. Qaddafi - currently supported, we might remember, by the majority of the Libyan people and establishment structures - promises a "long war."
However, even this is not the worst that may happen. If we go deeper into history - to, say, the 1980s in Afghanistan - we might discover there a lesson that obviously deserves to be remembered in the present crisis but is clearly forgotten. There is talk now of Libyan anti-government forces being inadequately armed and trained, and of the need to supply both weapons and instructors for them. It should be recalled that in the past the West, and particularly the US, financed, armed (including with the highly effective anti-aircraft weapons, the Stingers), and trained mujahedin, of whom bin Laden was one. All of which helped to spawn a most vicious worldwide terrorist network that turned on its godfathers. The same Afghans who received all kinds of US aid became America's worst enemies, providing bases for the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Now, is there any semblance of guarantee that exactly the same will not happen in Libya? There is not. On the contrary, there is already a clear evidence of a link-up between Hezbollah and what they call the "revolutionists" in Libya.
Thus the coalition has found a very strange bedfellow indeed. This sort of alliance augurs but very poorly for all concerned - Qaddafi, the insurgents, the Libyan people as a whole, and last but not least, for the coalition troops that will have found yet another theater of war in which to die, and go on dying.
American military doctrine states that the country can handle only two simultaneous wars at a time. Now we have three wars plus close to 15 trillion dollars national debt. God, save America.
Edward Lozansky is president of American University in Moscow.