From the Editors of the Washington Post: Setting the terms for an intervention in Libya, President Obama said on March 18 that “all attacks against civilians must stop. ” Moammar Gaddafi, he said, “must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies in all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.”
Nearly six weeks later, NATO airstrikes have driven the Gaddafi forces away from Benghazi and Ajdabiya. But Zawiya is occupied by government units, and Misurata — the country’s third-largest city — is besieged. . . .
It would seem pretty clear that the United States and its allies are failing in the basic mission of civilian protection that Mr. Obama laid out. But this failure — and the human suffering it is causing — has not seemed to elevate the administration’s sense of urgency. . . .
If sustained long enough, the current operation might be enough to turn the tide against the regime. But time means lives. Libyans are dying in large numbers: The U.S. ambassador suggested that between 10,000 and 30,000 already may have been killed. If more steps can be taken to save Libyans — the redeployment of U.S. planes, weapons for the opposition, ground spotters to call in airstrikes — Mr. Obama should authorize them. (photo: Getty)