The opposition to military action in Libya is fascinating. President Obama is taking incoming fire from both the left and the right as various agendas collide against neutralizing Moammar Gadhafi. The dissent is all over the place, so let's try to simplify the situation.
We begin with a quote from Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
That's true. We have seen it time and again throughout history. When evil is not confronted, it can win, often with devastating results.
There is no question that Gadhafi was on the verge of slaughtering his opposition. His mercenaries and highly paid military were closing in on rebel strongholds, and amnesty would not be forthcoming, as the colonel himself publicly proclaimed.
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Finally, the U.N. acted, and a no-fly zone was approved. After waffling for weeks, Obama swung into action, ordering U.S. planes and missiles into the skies. Then he went to Brazil.
Immediately, the far left erupted. Ralph Nader is calling for impeachment. Michael Moore has suggested that Obama give back the Nobel Peace Prize. Congressman Dennis Kucinich wants to cut off funding for any military action against Libya.
On the right, Pat Buchanan banged the isolationist drum: "Why is the United States, all the way across the ocean, got to go in and stop Arabs from killing Arabs? ... Why are we in there?"
To prevent a massacre? I believe that's the reason, Mr. Buchanan.
Congressman Ron Paul was equally blunt: "What are we doing? We are in this crisis, and they decide to spend all this money. It makes no sense at all."
Here's my question for Paul: Would you be comfortable, congressman, watching thousands of human beings being slaughtered by a terrorist dictator when you know that your country had the power to prevent it?
In fact, the no-fly zone was up and running in hours, and Gadhafi's forces have been seriously damaged. Now the rebels have a chance to eventually overthrow the dictator, and mass murder has been avoided at least for the time being.
This is not a complicated issue. If America is indeed a noble country, it should act to save lives when it can. That doesn't mean getting bogged down in quagmires like Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. But when quick, decisive action can defeat evil, it should be taken.
I believe in the basic nobility of America. I also believe few other nations have the motivation and power to confront evil that this country does. If it's all about us, if all we think about is our own sacrifice, then American exceptionalism disappears.
We did the right thing in Libya.
Contact O'Reilly, host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor," at www.billoreilly.com.