"President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi…News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi's opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces."
Marc Lynch offers thoughtful pro-intervention argument:
My conversations with administration officials, including but not limited to the one recounted by the indefatigable Laura Rozen, convinced me that they believed that a failure to act when and how they did would have led to a horrific slaughter in Benghazi and then across Libya. There was no mad rush to war…The administration resisted intervening militarily until they had no choice, preferring at first to use diplomatic means and economic sanctions to signal that Qaddafi's use of force would not help keep him in power. The military intervention came when those had failed, and when Qaddafi's forces were closing in on Benghazi and he was declaring his intention to exterminate them like rats… I am unmoved by the "double standards" argument that we are not intervening in Cote D'Ivoire. It did matter more to core U.S. national interests because the outcome would affect the entire Middle East.