News update Saturday 9 am: Western allies dither while Qaddafi invades last rebel stronghold. Was the agreement on the no-fly zone so easy because it would be too late and so wouldn't actually happen? BREAKING NEWS 2:30pm: Obama announces US will help enforce UN resolution on no-fly zone on Qaddafi: not alone but as part of European and Arab coalition, and with limited objective of protecting civilians.
Readers of this blog know that this author is NOT a big fan of external military intervention as an instrument of a ludicrously broadened concept of "development" that includes resolving civil wars. However, any social scientist can only argue on the basis of generalizations over a large number of cases, and generalizations have exceptions. Never say never. There COULD be that golden moment when an outside military force does something good (like the famous example of the British commandos in Sierra Leone).
Of course, we also have to take into account that unaccountable outside powers will invoke the (usually low) probability of a good outcome as justification for even more (usually bad) interventions (often motivated by their own interests). Let's not pretend that the accountability problem is anywhere near a solution.
Still, for the sake of the people of Libya, all of us can only hope this will be one of those golden moments.