Much has been made lately about what our "goal" is concerning the military action in Libya. Obama has stated that Gadhafi has got to go. But he's also stated that this is a humanitarian intervention and not a regime change action. I guess we'll get the details on Monday during his speech. As far as pragmatism goes here's my take on it.
Our goal is apparently to simply negate Gadhafi's significant advantages in the realms of (1) air power, (2) armor, and (3) command and control. Calling this a no-fly zone makes point 1 obvious -- since Gadhafi can attack via helicopters and planes with impunity, we are there to negate that advantage. When we consider the targets that have been reported by the press, we can see that this is more than just a no-fly zone. Tanks and other armor have been targeted as well. Those don't fly. Obviously we aren't just worried about a no-fly zone. The resistance does not have many (if any) armored assets. We've also targeted his own compound and other infrastructural buildings. The resistance themselves have commented on their difficulties in organizing especially between cities.
I agree on the importance of having a clear goal in a mission. I also realize that this is a difficult thing to articulate in situations of extreme dynamics with the risk of massive civilian deaths. So in some cases I can let the clear goal slide. I don't think, however, that our job should be simply to level the playing field. If our goal was humanitarian intervention, our targets would be limited to ones that threatened humanity. But now that things are becoming clearer, it is also becoming more apparent that this intervention is not justified.