Yet, even as Obama was announcing U.S. intervention to prevent "unspeakable atrocities," security police of Yemen's President Saleh, using sniper rifles, massacred 45 peaceful protesters and wounded 270. Most of the dead were shot in the head or neck, the work of marksmen.
Had Mahmoud Ahmadinejad done this in Tehran, would U.S. protests have been so muted?
In Bahrain, 2,000 Saudi soldiers and troops from emirates of the Gulf have intervened to save King Khalifa, whose throne was threatened by Shia demonstrators in the Pearl roundabout in Manama. The town square was surrounded, the Shia driven out, the 300-foot Pearl monument destroyed.
This crackdown on Bahrain's Shia has been denounced by Iran and Iraq. Grand Ayatollah Sistani, most revered figure in the Shia world, ordered seminaries shut in protest. This is serious business.
Not only are the Shia dominant in Iran, and in Iraq after the Americans ousted the Sunni-dominated Baathist Party, they are heavily concentrated in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, where the oil deposits are located.
They are a majority in Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based. Shia Hezbollah is now the dominant military and political force in Lebanon.
Riyadh must have regarded the threat to Bahrain a grave one to have so exacerbated the religious divide and raised the specter of sectarian war.
Yet, again, why are we bombing Libya?
Gadhafi did not attack the West. He faced an uprising to dethrone him and rallied his troops to crush it, as any ruthless ruler would have done. We have no vital interest in who wins his civil war.
Indeed, Gadhafi has asked of Obama, "If you found them taking over American cities by force of arms, what would you do?"
Well, when the South fired on Fort Sumter, killing no one, Abraham Lincoln blockaded every Southern port, sent Gen. Sherman to burn Atlanta and pillage Georgia and South Carolina, and Gen. Sheridan to ravage the Shenandoah. He locked up editors and shut down legislatures and fought a four-year war of reconquest that killed 620,000 Americans -- a few more than have died in Gadhafi's four-week war.
Good thing we didn't have an "international community" back then.
The Royal Navy would have been bombarding Lincoln's America.