I am confused. President Obama joined with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday to call, again, and very clearly, for Moammar Gaddafi’s removal from power. In an article published in papers across Europe, the three leaders said:
“Even as we continue our military operations today to protect civilians in Libya, we are determined to look to the future. …
Our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove Qaddafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power. … It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government. …
There is a pathway to peace that promises new hope for the people of Libya …. This needs to begin with a genuine end to violence …. The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging …. [S]o long as Qaddafi is in power, NATO must maintain its operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds. Then a genuine transition from dictatorship to an inclusive constitutional process can really begin …. In order for that transition to succeed, Qaddafi must go and go for good….”
In other words, the U.S., France and Great Britain have declared that they will not stop fighting until Colonel Gaddafi leaves. U.N. Security Council resolution 1973 may not require Colonel Gaddafi’s removal, but they do.
And yet, Reuters reported yesterday:
“Too little is known about Libya's rebels and they remain too fragmented for the United States to get seriously involved in organizing or training them, let alone arming them, U.S. and European officials say. …
[T]he more the intelligence agencies learn about rebel forces, the more they appear to be hopelessly disorganized and incapable of coalescing in the foreseeable future.
U.S. government experts believe the state of the opposition is so grave that it could take years to organize, arm and train them into a fighting force strong enough to drive Gaddafi from power and set up a working government. …”
I don’t understand. We say Colonel Gaddafi has to go, but we have nothing to replace him with. The opposition is so weak, fragmented, and disorganized the United States won’t even try to train them to fight, let alone give them arms. It could take years for them to be able to defeat Gaddafi’s forces, and who knows where a new government is going to come from. This makes no sense.
Oh yes, and President Obama still hasn’t sought Congressional approval for the use of our armed forces in Libya.