For now, I think that declaring and enforcing a no fly zone would be a mistake for the US at this point because:
1) The best political outcome is one which popular Libyan forces achieve as much as possible on their own, without providing their opponents any pretext for charges of US interference;
2) We are already overstretched and we are not in a strong position to take on this seemingly open-ended commitment (keeping in mind that Libyan ground radar installations would have to be destroyed as an early step in the process), and;
3) We would not be able to get UN support, and isolation in such matters should be avoided.
This is not to say that a No Fly solution should be ruled out if a humanitarian crisis reaches egregious levels. For now, however, it’s not warranted.
That said, there is something Americans and our government can do, beyond expressing our strongest sentiments in support and encouragement of the Libyan uprising.Â That is, our naval forces staged off the Libyan coast can publish real time data via the Web regarding air activity over Libya.
1) Even the playing field inside Libya, giving popular forces better warning about Qaddafi’s moves.
2) Further document Qaddafi’s brutality against civilians, enhancing the information richness of an environment in which the whole world is watching.
3) And, presuming diplomatic ties can be arranged with a legitimate provisional government, our monitoring planes and vessels can approach within Libyan territorial waters to provide even clearer monitoring of activity in Libyan airspace.