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Patriotic duty should remain within home turf

By Julia Hahn, Columnist

In Libya, there has been much unrest lately as its people are crying for freedom. The United States has seen the conflict in Libya and has thought of taking action similar to that in Iraq and Afghanistan. For many years now, the American government has considered it a patriotic duty to help lesser countries who are in trouble – whether they ask for it or not. But as the American government is considering taking similar action as it has in the past people are beginning to wonder if America has really learned from its past mistakes.

The United States' Defense Secretary Robert Gates is apparently someone who has learned and two weeks ago he spoke out against America taking a part in the conflict in Libya. In a speech Gates gave to West Point he pointed out that America's definition of war was becoming far too wide ranging from "terrorists, insurgents, militia groups, rogue states or emerging powers." He has also said the country would eventually spread itself too thin by trying to be in all of these areas at once to try and "prevent festering problems from growing into full-blown crises".

The events in Libya are turning into just that as their leader Muammar Gaddafi as he has hired mercenaries to use force against the rebels, has opened fire on civilians and has a country on the brink of a civil war. Gates predicts that these actions will turn into just the thing America should be avoiding-one that will rank up oil prices and creates anarchy groups that al-Qaeda will try and take advantage of. If the crisis in Libya does turn out this way it will truly be a test of how well America can keep its troops out of other countries.

So far, the Obama Administration has considered a no-fly zone to be enforced over some areas over Libya to prevent Gaddafi from hurting his own country, but in Washington the general consensus is that even such limited involvement would be a bad idea. It would cause Arab resentment and cause the rebels of Libya to look like tools of the United States...doesn't that sound familiar?

The conflict in the Middle East has caused more bad for America than good and do we really need another conflict like that on our hands? The answer seems pretty simple. The open war that is going on in the Middle East has cost thousands of American soldier's lives and countless more Iraqi and Afghanistan civilians. We don't to put ourselves in other dangerous situation.

The last administration had a somewhat diluted of idea of what our country's image was to the outside world, but we are not good old Uncle Sam spreading the seeds of democracy to people who don't know anything else. The other countries of the world merely see us as meddlers and digging deeper holes.

Now, I am all for helping out people in need but shouldn't one wait to be asked for help? These third world countries are not children who don't know any better; they are countries that are perfectly capable of making their own decisions. America should worry about the citizens at home before looking elsewhere. At this moment in time, that is what the Obama Administration plans to do and hopefully it will stay that way.

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