Since our leaders evidently have no clue what to do in Libya, let’s give them a few ideas. The basic rules are easy: don’t do anything that is likely to make things worse, and you can forget about “negotiated settlements” once the bloodshed has reached the dimensions now engulfing Libya. Finally, forget the UN (see point 1).
The first thing to do is deprive Gaddafi of as many instruments of mass murder as possible. The most obvious of these is the Libyan Air Force, which is a small and outdated collection of aircraft, many of which belong in a museum. More specifically: some French F-1 fighters, some old Sukhoi’s, some old MIGs, and some helicopter gunships. (h/t Steve Bryen)
Destroy them. It’s easy. Our Air Force can probably wipe them out in less than half an hour. If we want to play “good ally” we can invite other NATO countries to join in. It seems the Brits are available (as they should be, after their disgusting liberation of the Lockerbie bomber), and I’ll bet you anything that the French and Italians, both of whom have decades of complicity with Gaddafi, will be happy to participate. And the French have the Foreign Legion in the area, if memory serves.
That won’t “solve” the problem, but it will ease the people’s pain, and it might lessen the dreadful impression we have created, especially during the Obama years, that we only talk or negotiate slow-acting sanctions; we don’t go in for decisive action (that is so Bush).