Is it time for intervention in Libya?
The hand-wringing in Western capitals about whether or not to impose a no-fly zone over Libya is in sharp contrast to the resolve in Gulf capitals that this is the right thing to do and the very least the outside world can come up with to prevent Col Muammar Gaddafi from using aerial bombardment to cling to power.
I know that the Libyan air force is not inflicting most of the damage. Col Gaddafi has plenty of tanks at his disposal to roll across the desert. A no-fly zone may have a limited impact. But it would send the right message to the people of the region hoping their gains won't be forgotten, and to any rulers weighing up the Gaddafi approach to crowd control. It would weaken the resolve of those parts of the Libyan military that are still loyal to the colonel and it would ensure that Washington is - at the very least - practising what it preaches.
If Col Gaddafi's forces continue to hammer the rebels and prevail while Washington stands by and watches, this president will never be able to deliver another Cairo speech without becoming a laughing stock. Some revolutions are homegrown, domestic affairs. Others need a little help from outside. Nicholas Kristof, an opponent of the Iraq War, has an interesting article in the New York Times calling for greater intervention.
The casualties in Libya may still be relatively small compared to Rwanda or Bosnia. But I covered the Yugoslav wars and watched as Western dithering, justified by lessons from the boggy history of the Balkans, led to 200,000 or more unnecessary deaths. Let's hope that history does not repeat itself.