Qaddafi Must Go

Two days after using a speech at George Washington University to declare there is no room in America for people who want a smaller government, President Barack Obama has finally gotten around to formally declaring there is no room in Libya for Moammar Qaddafi.  Along with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he penned an editorial for today’s editions of the Times of London, International Herald-Tribune, and Le Figaro of Paris, in which they declared…

… wait, hold up a second.  This mighty statement of international resolve isn’t running in any American papers?  Not even the New York Times?  After all, the International Herald-Tribune is their global edition.

Couldn’t they have printed an abbreviated version in USA Today as a set of bullet points?  Qaddafi must go because:

>> He attacked his own people.

>> The people of Libya are still suffering terrible horrors at his hands.

>> U.N. authorized all necessary measures to protect the people of Libya.

>> Impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power.

This whole Libya operation fell apart as soon as America “handed over control” to NATO.  Everyone knows, whether they want to admit it or not, that American power was indispensable for beginning the war, and it’s become difficult to pretend it won’t be essential for achieving any sort of victory.  But the big op-ed from the big guns of NATO isn’t being published in an American newspaper?  That seems odd.

Anyway, the editorial from Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy formally declares what everyone else knew from Day One, which is that regime change will be necessary before Libya can become a peaceful democracy.  “It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government,” they write, causing Bashar Assad to drop his copy of the International Herald-Tribune in a momentary panic attack before getting hold of himself and resuming his breakfast with a rueful little smile.

The world leaders note angrily that if Libya continues under Qaddafi, it would become a “pariah state,” because “Qaddafi has promised to carry out terrorist attacks against civilian ships and airliners.”  He did that a long time ago – before Operation Odyssey Dawn began, in fact.  Did the masters of NATO just hear about it?  Shouldn’t they have mentioned this “pariah state of terror” stuff and made removing Qaddafi a clear objective before they started dropping bombs in an open-ended quest to “protect the people of Libya from attacks upon them?”  Why are they just now admitting the only way to do that, without partitioning Libya and providing endless military protection for the hapless Natopia against the bloody vengeance of Greater Qadaffistan?

The editorial clearly states that “the pathway to peace” leads only to “a future without Qaddafi.”  The dictator has “lost the consent of his people,” so “any deal that leaves him in power would lead to further chaos and lawlessness.”  (At the breakfast table of his Damascus palace, Bashar Assad spits his coffee all over the International Herald-Tribune, then laughs at his foolishness for taking this stuff seriously.)

After immediately ending the “medieval siege” of cities such as Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zintan, Qaddafi is supposed to send his troops and mercenaries to the showers, and then begin “a genuine transition from dictatorship to an inclusive constitutional process.”  In order to accomplish this, Qaddafi must “go, and go for good.” 

I couldn’t agree more – it’s just common sense that regime change is the only victorious alternative to the quagmire NATO now finds itself trapped in – but I knew that before the first cruise missile slammed into Tripoli.  Adjusting tactical objectives during a war is the mark of a successful and fluid operation, but changing strategic objectives is bad, especially when the original objectives were manifestly silly.  As the combined editorial points out, the United Nations Security Council authorized only the protection of Libyan civilians, but there was never any way to do that on a permanent basis without cashing Moammar and his psychotic family out.  That might have come up sooner, if Obama had fulfilled his Constitutional duty to discuss the matter with Congress before beginning his kinetic military action.  Some of the “un-patriotic” and “un-American” Republicans he harassed at George Washington University would surely have brought it up.

The editorial concludes by stating, “Britain, France and the United States will not rest until the United Nations Security Council resolutions have been implemented and the Libyan people can choose their own future.”  Well, Qaddafi has made it clear he isn’t going anywhere, and he’s beating the tar out of the rebels.  If this editorial is meant to be taken seriously, it heralds the beginning of American and NATO ground force deployment in Libya.  If it’s just bluster designed to rattle Qaddafi’s cage, it’s no wonder American papers didn’t bother carrying it.