Since 9/11 there have been three policy initiatives that have driven America’s decisions to go to war: 1) Direct attack by an enemy;2) harboring those who attack America and 3) the Bush Doctrine of pre emptive strikes. When we bring these policy initiatives to the Libyan
situation, the only one that can be applied is the terrorist strike many years ago on the Lockerbie flight that was downed by Qadaffi’s orders. If the case is made that this terrorist act was already addressed by previous U.S. actions, then a fourth policy initiative for going to war must be invented to justify the current strike against the Libyan dictator. This fourth reason can only be that whenever a brutal dictator massacres his own people during a popular uprising to dethrone him, that America is justified in going to war in support of those who are part of the popular uprising. The only missing element in this possible new policy, is what the U.S. objective will be if America goes to war. Is the objective to stop the attacks by the dictator, or is the objective to eliminate the dictator and his regime? In the present Libyan engagement America’s objectives must be clarified.