Editors’ note: Feb 17 is the online publication of the Libyan Youth Movement: Link to article and comments
Nearly 25 years ago, then President Ronald Reagan sent 45 planes to drop 300 bombs and shoot 48 missiles at seven locations throughout Libya in order to take out Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who he labeled the “mad dog of the Middle East.”
Reagan’s actions were not ordered as a result of a bogus report on weapons of mass destruction. They were not motivated by revenge or a humanitarian cause or to prevent genocide or the need to enforce a United Nations resolution.
They were prompted because the United States was under a constant, real and imminent threat so long as Gaddafi remained alive.
Gaddafi deliberately targeted Americans for decades before losing his pariah status with the international community in 2003, a pariah status, it should be noted, that he never lost throughout his rule domestically after the dropping of U.S. sanctions.
Gaddafi provided monetary and material support to terrorist rebel groups the world over, including the Irish Republican Army, the FARC in Colombia and in Chad.
The “mad dog” targeted Americans and the West through a series of bombings in Europe. Vienna and Rome airport bombings in 1985 were carried out with Gaddafi’s assistance, killing 16 and wounding 99 others.
Those bombings were followed by the April 5, 1986 bombing of the La Belle discotheque in Berlin carried out by Gaddafi’s agents that killed three and injured 230 others.
All of this was reason enough for Reagan to view Gaddafi as an imminent threat to justify unilateral military action by the United States to target both Libyan military installations and Gaddafi personally by bombing his compound in Libya.
And Gaddafi’s status as an “imminent threat” to the United States was before Lockerbie.
The December 1988 downing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland was another Gaddafi special, which resulted in 270 deaths. Prior to 9/11, the Lockerbie bombing was the worst act of terrorism against the United States in its history, rivaled only by the 1983 bombing of U.S. military barracks in Beirut.
With all this evidence and with all we know Gaddafi to be capable of doing both at home and abroad, it would seem logical that if Gaddafi was such an imminent threat to the United States that we tried to kill him even before Lockerbie, then in his current isolated state Gaddafi would need a category above imminent threat to describe the danger he currently poses to U.S. interests and citizens.
Unbelievably, “not so” say some American politicians.
Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, not surprisingly, are among this contingent. There are others, however, that hold more clout, such as House Speaker John Boehner, who also oppose Libyan intervention despite Gaddafi’s prior atrocities against America and his current threat level to the nation.
Has what constitutes an imminent threat to the United States changed so much between April 15, 1986 and March 27, 2011 that two dead serviceman in a German discotheque can be deemed an imminent threat to U.S. interests but intervention against a foreign dictator that subsequently vows to “go crazy” and turn the Mediterranean into “a battlefield” does not?
One would like to think this would not be true for the United States, especially for America’s secretary of defense. But that’s not the case as U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated categorically that Libya did not pose an “actual or imminent threat” to the United States and her allies.
What’s perhaps more troubling is that the lack of conviction by Obama administration officials such as Gates has translated into a half-hearted attempt by the United States to accomplish the country’s stated political objective, which is to remove Gaddafi from power, by self-constraining America’s involvement militarily under the guise of limitations imposed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
Gates, President Barack Obama and his administration must be forgetting how wounded animals react in their attempt to balance out the politics of the situation by getting involved without getting fully involved in order to align the administration’s political aim, regime change, with the military goals of humanitarian assistance.
Never mind that the wounded animal in question is a loathed dictator that this country has previously branded as an enemy of the state and who needs know help in the crazy category.
It seems that the American public and, perhaps most disturbingly, the President and American politicians have forgotten that lesson on just how Gaddafi operates – through revenge and reprisal by committing wanton acts of aggression without regard to humanity.
If Gaddafi remains in power, which is a distinct possibility without more conviction out of this president and his administration, then we are guaranteed that the United States will be reminded of Gaddafi’s sadistic brand of terrorism throughout the world and at home.
If this administration does not step up and act militarily by taking Gaddafi out as part of its mission, then it won’t be an “if” or “maybe” or “perhaps” as to Gaddafi’s return to terrorism against the United States – it will be “when” and “how bad” and “when will it stop?”
With that knowledge, the choice becomes simple. America must not let Gaddafi get the chance to even the score by taking decisive action to end his days now before it is too late.
Otherwise, the consequences will be worse than losing a re-election Mr. President.