From the WSJ:
Forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi put down protests in Tripoli and fought deadly battles for control of rebel territory, as opposition forces sought to advance toward the capital in their efforts to take down the Libyan leader.
In the western rebel-held city of al-Zawiya, a large force from a brigade led by one of Col. Gadhafi’s sons led an attack on rebel forces, the Associated Press reported. The AP reported nearly 37 people killed in Libya Friday…
Here we have the results of a US policy to consult with the international community and proclaim, in advance, that we don’t want to intervene militarily. It means that Gadhafi knows no one will stop him if the Libyan people – leaderless and disorganized – don’t. It could still work out that the rebels win, numbers and spirit are on their side…but history is replete with stories of large, disorganizes masses of rebels being disposed of by small, tightly organized forces of repression. If one had to bet, the best bet right now is that Gadhafi hangs on.
This the time to use American power. Strictly speaking, the time was two or three days ago when Gadhafi was only in partial control of Tripoli – but now is the very last moment. If we intervene right away and provide leadership and a bit of extra force to the rebels, they will swiftly prevail as those forces willing to stand up for Gadhafi will be unwilling to do so when faced with rebels backed by American power. If we don’t intervene, then we’ll probably get a bad result. Even worse, it could turn in to a drawn out civil war, with its continual impetus to more disruption and consequent rise in death and destruction…and an increasingly bad effect on the global economy.
Courageous leadership is called for – and we simply do not have it.
UPDATE: Charting the impact of oil price hikes. It isn’t a pretty picture.