NATO Aims to Kill Qaddafi

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Despite claims by NATO’s military command — and President Obama himself — that killing Col. Muammar Qaddafi is not part of their military objective in Libya, they have set about to do just that. On April 30th, in what appears to be an attempt to assassinate Qaddafi through targeted air strikes, NATO missed getting Qaddafi and his wife, but allegedly killed one of Qaddafi’s sons and three grandchildren, a claim that Libyan rebels dispute and remains unconfirmed. Although the son in question happens to be the black sheep of the family and played very little part in the current fighting, the attack raises serious questions about NATO’s unstated commitment to directly effecting regime change in Libya — contrary to both UN authorization and President Obama’s pronouncements on the conflict.

Another NATO strike on April 30th badly damaged a non-military, non-governmental building housing the Libyan Down’s Syndrome Society. NATO is clearly willing to risk destroying civilian buildings, including schools, as part of its unauthorized campaign to take out Qaddafi. Nevertheless, the NATO mission’s operational commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, continues to maintain that NATO is only going after clear military targets.

“All NATO’s targets are military in nature,” Bouchard said, “and have been clearly linked to the Qaddafi regime’s systematic attacks on the Libyan population and populated areas. We do not target individuals.” Such denials of the obvious parrot the official US position, which distinguishes between the political goal of seeing Qaddafi go and the more limited “humanitarian” goal of protecting Libya’s civilians from Qaddafi’s forces. However, not everyone in the international coalition is willing to be so coy about the real objective. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox, for example, has said that Qaddafi is a “legitimate target.”

When the United Nations Security Council approved the use of military force in Libya on March 17, 2011, it authorized member states, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country. Supporters of Security Council Resolution 1973, including the United States, stressed that the military objective was solely to protect civilians from further harm. There is no authorization to use military force in order to bring about regime change through assassination of Libya’s leader or otherwise. Foreign occupation of Libya in any shape or form is also expressly prohibited.

Initially, NATO, led by US air power, adhered to the limits set by the UN resolution. It intervened just in time to prevent an impending massacre of civilians in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. It established a no-fly zone and attacked Qaddafi’s ground troops and weaponry to further protect civilians from harm.

However, when the Libyan regime did not immediately collapse and the rebel forces proved incapable of mounting a serious challenge without substantial assistance from the international coalition, NATO upped the ante. It made a deliberate decision to take the side of the rebels in what amounts to a civil war. It is also waging its campaign against the Qaddafi regime in Libya’s most densely populated areas, including the capital of Tripoli, with inevitable civilian casualties from NATO attacks added to the mounting civilian casualties caused by loyalist and rebel forces.

Supporters of NATO’s aggressive campaign against Qaddafi argue that the only way to make sure that civilians are protected is to get rid of the dictator who is harming them. However, this argument is fallacious for both pragmatic and legal reasons.

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  • JosephWiess

    Imagine that, NATO trying to kill innocent people. That's what happens when you forget the legality of what you are doing. We need to get out of Libya, out of Iraq, out of afghanistan.

  • ReconRambo

    The United Nations, Nato, the United States and other European governments are hypocrites in their dealings with Libya when they will not and do not deal in like manner with the leaders and countries of Syria, Jordan and other Middle Eastern nation perpetrating the same deeds against their citizens. Like Joseph above, we should get our troops out of these countries and use our Air Force and unmanned drones to take out the enemy and as situations warrant, send in Special Forces as needed for quick strikes.

  • S E CLEM

    Imagin, NATO willing to bomb civilian areas just to get rid of Kadaffi, in what is a civil war, in which they have no business. But, interestingly, were not these same countries who are part of NATO so eager to condemn Israel for defending herself from genocidal Hamas raining rockets on Israel's civilian? Tells you we are in this upside down world where black is white…….

  • Len Powder

    Assassinating Qaddafi was the duplicitous intention of Obama and NATO from the beginning. What's so incongruent is that there are bigger fish to fry. Saddam Hussein was one. Assad in Syria is another. Qaddafi is an insignificant dictator compared to these two, yet the 'coalition' has targeted him for disposal while many strenously opposed doing the same to Saddam and Assad is totally off the radar as if nothing untoward was going on in Syria. Our leaders – domestic & international-are liars and dissemblers. This is the lesson of Libya made possible by the manifest incongruity and ineptness of Obama and his fellow NATO assassins. They are determined to get Qaddafi no matter how many innocent people have to lose their lives. Our politicians have become the evil we need to resist and defeat. They care nothing for international law, the taking of innocent lives, or the costs involved in international police actions. They are more dangerous than Qaddafi ever will be.