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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

US must oust Gadhafi or face consequences

The U.N. authorized no-fly zone has been successfully enforced in Libya, but the fate of Colonel Muammar Gadhafi and his legion of pro-government mercenary forces is far from certain.

The Obama administration’s muddled response to this crisis is equally disconcerting. Unless our objective in Libya is clearly defined, that is, we ensure Gadhafi’s expulsion, America’s military involvement in the region could spell disaster.

Prior to the decision to participate in the implementation of a no-fly zone, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, standing before the U.N. Human Rights Council, stated “”nothing was off the table”” in regards to possible military action in Libya. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates then issued a veritable retraction of that statement, telling Congress that there was “”a lot of loose talk”” concerning potential military intervention.   

The White House’s policy, as voiced by President Barack Obama himself, then became “”Gadhafi needs to go,”” which seemed to indicate that the U.S. was willing to facilitate regime change. But this position was not echoed by the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, who has said “”one potential outcome”” of the U.S.’s engagement in Libya is that Gadhafi could remain in power.

The U.S.’s attempt to abdicate its leading role in “”Operation Odyssey Dawn”” has also sent mixed messages. Obama sat on his hands while waiting for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister David Cameron to act first so the U.S. would not have to carry principal responsibility for the future of Libya’s government.

But the U.S. will be held accountable for the outcome regardless of whether France and Britain “”take the lead.”” The U.S.’s military capacities easily surpass those of its allies; therefore, it is seen as the leader of any multilateral military operation that it participates in.

What is abundantly clear is that the White House is torn between whether it should facilitate regime change or allow the chips to fall where they may.

The Obama administration should have opted for one of the two policies before it thoughtlessly agreed to participate in the implementation of a no-fly-zone. To-ing and fro-ing, unsure of whether to depose Gadhafi, could have devastating ramifications.

The Obama administration’s namby-pamby Libyan policy not only makes the U.S. seem impotent and indecisive, it poses a threat to Libyans and Americans alike. If left in power, Gadhafi, bruised, battered and seeking retribution, would continue to commit atrocities against the Libyan people and would almost certainly use his oil money to carry out acts of terror against the U.S. and its allies, like he did in 1988 when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Now that the U.S. is militarily committed to the crisis in Libya, it must see to it that Gadhafi is removed from power by the time the smoke has cleared, otherwise “”Operation Odyssey Dawn”” will become the single most disastrous foreign policy blunder since the invasion of Iraq.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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