March 2, 2011
Here’s What We Can Do to Tackle Libya
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
They rebuffed him, and after three successive rejections he got the message and gave up. But the incident reflects something important about Colonel Qaddafi that is worth remembering today
The Libyan “king of kings” blends delusion, menace, pomposity, a penchant for risk-taking — and possession of tons of mustard gas. That’s why it’s crucial that world powers, working with neighboring countries like
Unfortunately, Mr. Qaddafi has gained a bit of ground in the last few days, at least in the capital of
Is there anything that
It would be counterproductive for American and European troops to land on Libyan soil or to start bombing runs because that would play into Colonel Qaddafi’s narrative about imperialists trying to seize his country. The truth is that after
But what we can do is continue to squeeze Colonel Qaddafi, show resolve and make it clear that his departure is only a matter of time. That resolve won’t change Colonel Qaddafi’s mind, but it can peel off more of the Libyan military. And some of those military officers already are wavering.
On Saturday, when I was in
I was delighted but asked what preparations he had made to protect his family from retribution. None, it turned out.
I urged the officer to hide his family to ensure that his wife and children weren’t kidnapped or killed in retaliation. A bit later, I heard back that the officer would accept the risk to his family. I suggested that the officer think this through carefully one more time — and this time the officer actually consulted his wife, who was displeased. The officer sheepishly postponed the announcement of his defection temporarily.
In the days since then, with Colonel Qaddafi having gained ground in
My sense is that many Libyan military officers are a bit like that one. They’re uncomfortable attacking fellow Libyans, but they’re also fearful that they or their families will be killed if they refuse. If the outside world signals resolutely that Colonel Qaddafi’s ouster is only a matter of time, there’s much more chance that officers will find ways to avoid going down with their leader.
The dispatch of American naval vessels to the sea off
One possible solution to the crisis being discussed within
The more pressure we apply, the more chance of avoiding an apocalypse. A well-connected friend in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs
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