It was a shock. M. Chirac, the President before M. Sarkozy, had refused to involve our troops in the Middle East. Obviously, the former policy was no longer endorsed. And like Australia, we will start to see casualties amongst our military.
I realised I had no idea what this war was about, and I knew almost nothing about this new enemy: Libya.
What is Libya? Where is it? Why is my country attacking it?
Libya, it seems, was once the Greek name for all of Africa. It was a rich country during the Roman Empire and stayed prosperous until the end of the sixth century. Then it fades from history and for eight centuries was part of the route to Islamic expansion and conquest towards the west.
Spain took it over in the sixteenth century, before it gained fame as part of the Barbary Coast from which its nests of pirates operated. In 1835, Turkish domination began.
In 1913 Italy decided to claim rights over the former Roman Empire and delivered a 24 hour ultimatum to the Turkish Government. Hostilities escalated into a war which lasted for two years and ended with Italy annexing Libya. The peace was signed in 1915.
But resistance to Italian authority grew and during World War II, when Italy was allied with Germany, with the Allies see-sawing back and forth against Rommel as each side used Libya as a logistics base. Trobuk is a household name in Australia.
After the war, the country became a constitutional monarchy. It had a friendly treaty with the United Kingdom and contracts with two Americans oil companies led to the discovery of oil in the 1960s.
But in 1969, Colonel Muhammar Gadhafi and a group of accompanying officers overthrew the monarchy. He proclaimed a republic; to stand on the principles of Islamic Sharia Law and a Marxist economy.
In his first 30 years of rule Gadhafi had a measure of success in getting economic and political alliances with both Egypt and Syria. But since 1999 reconciling with Western democracies has been on his agenda. Libya under Gadhafi has always been accused of supporting terrorism, and its been able to manoeuvre into a position of influence. In 2003, Libya even managed to get elected head of the United Nations!
With this civil war within Libya I am beginning to understand my country's decision to go to war.
As Tony Blair so succinctly said, 'Inaction is a decision, a policy with consequences.'
Theologians have referred to James 4 verse 17 as the contextualisation of the sin of omission. "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it it, to him it is sin." Much has been written on this, the least we can do is to concur with Edmund Burke (1729-1797), that when good men do nothing, evil prevails.