- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2011

During its recent meeting in Cairo, the Arab League asked the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone. Unfortunately, this has led to war with Libya (” ‘Odyssey Dawn starts: U.S. Navy fires cruise missiles at Libyan air defenses,” Web, Saturday).

As Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates warned, a no-fly zone necessitates tremendous military power and “begins with an attack on Libya - to destroy the air defenses.”

This is a job the Arab League, founded in 1945, is equipped to handle on its own. An association of 22 Middle Eastern nations, it was created to promote the political, economic and cultural interests of the member states. The Arab League nations have a population of 350 million people, and with wealth from oil and natural gas, some of its members have purchased the most advance air, sea and ground weapons.

The military actions taken by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi openly contradict the charter of the league. With the Arab League’s manpower and modern weapons, it is bewildering that the league refuses to discipline a member state.

However, this is one conflict the Arab League can and should be taking care of on its own.

TONE SHIMIZU

Des Moines, Iowa