Only the heartless can try to argue against the central premise for President Barack Obama’s decision to use the American military to prevent an almost certain massacre of civilians – innocent people – in Libya.

This is how the President himself put it in his televised address to the nation on Monday night: “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and, more profoundly, our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.

Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different and, as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

There is little doubt that, based on his own pronouncements, Libya’s leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, fully intended to order his troops and other armed supporters to go house to house to hunt down and kill those who came out to protest his 40 years of despotic rule. Such threats have been made, and carried out, elsewhere while the world seemed powerless to do anything about it.
It is true that there are other nations right now where despicable rulers are trying to stay in power by killing their own people. It is also true that the world should not stand idly by as this is happening. It is hoped that the bombardment that has given Col. Gadhafi cause for pause will send a message to those tyrants.

It is also time for the world to send another message to all those leaders – invariably unelected – who brutalize their people: that, without exception, they will be taken and brought to trial and face the wrath of a world weary of mass murder of people by their governments. Nowhere on this planet should their heinous crimes be tolerated. President Obama’s action on Libya must be just the start of this cleansing of the world of those who want to hold onto power even if it means the streets must run red with the blood of their people.