Yes, Libyan rebels are coming under fierce ground attacks by Gadhafi's mercenaries and are being forced to regroup. But make no mistake, Gadhafi's end is near. His foreign minister, the poetically named Moussa Koussa, along with other high-ranking officials, have defected. Morale is low in Tripoli and the tyrant has stopped appearing in public.
President Obama has authorized covert operations in Libya. Americans are meeting with rebels to assess their needs and train them in the use of modern weapons. They are also collecting intelligence to pinpoint the locations of the mercenaries. Time will tell, but the president has articulated a vision of American foreign policy in his address to the nation on Libya that future historians will probably cite more often than anything else he has said so far.
It is true," Obama said, "that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what's right. In this particular country - Libya -, at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence ... To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and - more profoundly - our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."
Libyan immigrants from around the world are rushing to their homeland to fight against Gadhafi's forces. As Jon Lee Anderson reports in The New Yorker, "Ibrahim is fifty-seven. He lives in Chicago, and turned over his auto-body shop and car wash to a friend so he could come and fight. He has made his life in the United States, but it was his duty as a Libyan to help get rid of Gadhafi, the monster." Despite all the finger pointing and internal squabbling, the allied forces - NATO, U.S., France, Britain, Qatar - are uniting under a common goal: Use all available and practical means to oust Gadhafi. The sooner this blot on civilization is gone, the better off the Libyans, and the world, will be.