“So long as [Gadhafi] is in power,” writes President Obama and his French and British counterparts Nicholas Sarkozy and David Cameron, “NATO must maintain its operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds.” That’s kind of a way to end the war: Gadhafi can surrender. Why didn’t anyone think of that?
For the first time, NATO leaders have tethered the war to Gadhafi’s departure, a line that U.S. generals have been loath to cross. And they still don’t explain how the bombing campaign, now in its fourth week, will lead to his downfall.
During the first phase of the war, U.S. defense officials kept any talk of regime change far from any military discussion. Gen. Carter Ham, who oversaw the war before it switched to NATO command, told reporters, “I could see accomplishing the military mission which has been assigned to me and the current leader would remain the current leader.” His boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, elaborated to Congress that while it was U.S. policy for Gadhafi to go, getting rid of him “is not part of the military mission” and would “likely be achieved over time through political and economic measures and by his own people.” Read More Here