So what should the United States do about Libyan fighters who went to Iraq to kill Americans? And Libyans who went to Afghanistan to kill Americans? And Libyans who recruited them and helped them with their travels? Should we be hunting those people down? Or should we be fighting on their behalf? "It's a real concern, there's no ifs, ands or buts about it," says Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "The question for policymakers is, does that concern mean we should not be seeking change in those countries?" Rubin supports U.S. involvement in the Libyan war and believes the number of people like al-Hasidi is relatively small. "It's not a reason not to support the rebels," he says. "It is a reason not to arm them, or not to trust others to arm them."
As for the jihadis who killed Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rubin would like to see U.S. "hit teams" take care of them. But that, of course, would be way, way, way outside the United Nations Security Council resolution that guides American actions in Libya. If the U.S.-led coalition prevails, it seems likely that some of the jihadis will choose not to return to lives as humble schoolteachers, as al-Hasidi claims, but instead become part of the new leadership of Libya.
There's no way the United States can be involved in an action like the Libyan war without coming in contact with some pretty bad actors. That's a good reason not to be involved in an action like the Libyan war. But even if involvement is an ugly necessity, do we have to give active support and protection to people who have devoted their lives to killing Americans?
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