President Obama is formally adding the removal of Muammar Qaddafi to the Libya war, declaring that NATO bombing will not end until Qaddafi is gone.
In an op-ed piece published today in the International Herald Tribune, Le Figaro, and the Times of London, Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron write what was obvious to others when the “kinetic military exercise” began – that the Libyan people will never be safe as long as Qaddafi walks the streets of Tripoli.
So 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, led by a new generation of leaders. In order for that transition to succeed, Qaddafi must go and go for good.
The mission now also includes nation building, the trio of leaders suggest.
The United Nations and its members should help the Libyan people as they rebuild where Qaddafi has destroyed — to repair homes and hospitals, to restore basic utilities, and to assist Libyans as they develop the institutions to underpin a prosperous and open society.
Nothing serious is done by the United Nations, of course, without substantial input and leadership from the United States.