First, Phyllis Bennis in The Real News:
While the UN resolutionwas taken in the name of protecting civilians, it authorizes a level of direct U.S., British, French, NATO and other international military intervention far beyond the”no-fly zone but no foreign intervention” that the rebels wanted. Its real goal, evident in the speeches that followed the Security Council's March 17th evening vote, is to ensure that “Qaddafi must go,” – as so many ambassadors described it. Resolution 1973 is about regime change, to be carried by the Pentagon and NATO with Arab League approval, instead of by home-grown Libyan opposition.
The resolution calls for a no-fly zone, as well as taking “all necessary measures… to protect civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” The phrase “all necessary measures” is understood to include air strikes, ground, and naval strikes to supplement the call for a no-fly zone designed to keep Qaddafi's air force out of the skies. The U.S. took credit for the escalation in military authority, with Ambassador Susan Rice as well as other Obama administration officials claiming their earlier hesitation on supporting the UN resolution was based on an understanding of the limitations of a no-fly zone in providing real protection to [in this case Libyan] civilians. It's widely understood that a no-fly zone is most often the first step towards broader military engagement, so adding the UN license for unlimited military escalation was crucial to getting the U.S. on board. The”all necessary measures” language also appears to be the primary reason five Security Council members abstained on the resolution.
Rodger A. Payne over at Duck of Minerva responds:
Certainly, opponents of the no fly zone want to frame the debate around regime change in order to question the legitimacy of the intervention. For instance, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies asserts that “it's widely understood that a no-fly zone is most often the first step towards broader military engagement.” However, I would challenge that view. The U.S. for many years helped enforce a no-fly zone in Iraq that was eventually controversial and certainly was not the key stepping stone that legitimized war in Iraq. The Bush administration likely would have pursued war on Iraq even without a no fly zone. And much of the world opposed the war in Iraq precisely because it violated international norms about the use of force.
Bennis also worries about the authorization of “all necessary measures..to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” She sees this as a virtual blank check for broader military intervention, though she overlooks the last clause.