From William Farish publically declaring in 2003 that 'the US-led invasion goes as planned and the fighting will not last long' to John Reid's infamous claim that the UK could defeat the Taliban without 'a shot being fired,' the historians of the future will have much to ponder upon when they marvel at the clumsiness with which the UK establishment goes about its military business. There are three good reasons for staying out of the Libyan conflict:
1. We do not know who the rebels are.
But, of course we do! They are standing for freedom and democracy! For who, though, that is the question? There is a tendency in any revolution to follow the overthrow of one dictatorial regime with the construction of another. The Islamic world is full of modern examples: Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, and Gaddafi himself. They have each arisen as pro-democracy leaders, and each of them has enforced an authoritarian regime, in favour of the west or against it. Whose to say that the rebels will be any different? Who is their leadership? Who is financing them? Who is arming them? If the western countries don't know who they are defending, then they should stay out of it, especially in a region where intervention has a tendency to bite you on the arse. Both Saddam Hussein and the Afghan mujahideen were backed by the west.
2. The Libyans are working with the west.
It may seem ridiculous to say it, but the Libyan government was co-operating with the west. The 2003 invasion of Iraq had forced them to open up to the west. First, they declared their support for the IRA was over. Second, they destroyed their own collection of WMDs. Third, they paid compensation for the Lockerbie bombing.
3. The UK army doesn't have any objectives.
It's stupid to go into a war without any idea of what you're going to do to win it, or what you want to achieve through military intervention. It's even more stupid to do it three times. So far, the UK's policy is vague and ridiculously inadequate. What exactly are we there to do? When do we leave? How far do we go to help the rebels? No-one has a clue what we're doing there, or how we aim to do it.