Opinion Brief

Should Europe send troops to Libya?

As civilian deaths mount in rebel-held territory, European leaders consider a military mission to help deliver humanitarian aid

The European Union has drawn up a plan to deploy up to 1,000 soldiers to protect deliveries of humanitarian aid in the besieged rebel-held city of Misrata — a move that would sink the West deeper into Libya's civil war. The United Nations would still need to sign off before any troops ship out. But will it take European ground forces to fulfill the U.N.'s goal of protecting civilians from Moammar Gadhafi's army?

This is the only way to prevent a massacre: Misrata is "the last rebel stronghold" in western Libya, says David Dayen at Firedoglake, and Gadhafi will continue pounding the city with rockets and mortars until it falls. Civilian casualties are mounting. If the coalition leaders in Britain, France, and the United States want to prevent a "massacre," it's "unavoidable" that they send ground troops sooner or later."Besieged Misrata residents seek NATO ground troops for Libya"

The coalition is likely to regret this: Escalating the West's "muddled" humanitarian war in Libya might only make "matters worse," says J. Robert Smith at The American Thinker. Like the no-fly zone, it's just another "half-measure" that might get a few relief supplies through, but won't put us any closer to what really needs to be done — getting rid of Gadhafi. Without "clear-cut aims and a definitive end game," we'll just be wading deeper into the "killing fields.""Do Americans really want humanitarian wars?"

But that's a risk we must take: It won't break the stalemate between Gadhafi and the rebels, says Robert Fox at The First Post, but without foreign soldiers to protect routes for relief supplies, we're about to witness the very "scenes of human disaster" we sought to prevent in the first place. Still, nobody appears willing to do what it would take to get rid of Gadhafi. So maybe lowering our sights — say, by setting up the rebel-held east as a U.N. protectorate — is the only way to prevent more needless bloodshed."Eastern Libya solution: Set up a U.N. protectorate"

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