The now metered and paywall protected NYT reports:

The Obama administration is engaged in a fierce debate over whether to supply weapons to the rebels in Libya, senior officials said on Tuesday, with some fearful that providing arms would deepen American involvement in a civil war and that some fighters may have links to Al Qaeda.


Even if fighters do not have links to Al Qaeda or Hezbollah, what is there to guarantee that they are or will remain friendly to the Western allies?  Gaddafi while historically unfriendly had finally been seduced with Mariah Carey concerts and Coca Cola. Arming the rebels might fulfill a short term objective of regime change but at the cost of creating an armed future enemy.  What’s the debate?