Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why Should US Execute Qaddafi?

A few years ago, in the context of Hezbollah’s war with Israel, I penned a piece re-examining the issue of assassination in American policy. The fact is that in many circumstances assassination is not illegal under international law. The moratorium on assassination is more a matter of choice. Certainly, fear that assassinating foreign leaders might open a Pandora’s Box of retribution is valid, although rogue leaders will try to assassinate Americans anyway. Still, targeted assassinations are not a policy to be embarked upon lightly or for any reason but to prevent (further) war.

When foreign leaders are, like Qaddafi, unelected and unstable dictators and military commanders, they are valid targets. Qaddafi certainly does not deserve immunity which is what, in effect, Obama now promises him. When terrorist leaders spark conflict, they should be held personally accountable. Qaddafi may be willing to fight to the last conscript, but he may be less enthusiastic about risking his own skin.

There is also the question of deterrence. While it’s conventional wisdom in certain circles that Israel lost the 2006 war, I quibble: By trusting in the international community, Israel lost the peace and allowed Hezbollah to rearm. This past fall, however, when I was in Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon and southern Beirut, locals were talking about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon. Ahmadinejad was his bombastic self, but what Lebanese were gossiping about was that Hassan Nasrallah did not take the stage with his patron. Whereas before 2006, the Hezbollah secretary-general appeared in public often, post-2006 he is simply too scared. It’s time to make Qaddafi fear for his life as well. By doing so, we might avoid far greater bloodshed both in Libya now and down the road. The point is not aggression, but deterring war and ultimately saving lives.

If only we had gotten both Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah during that trip.

Labels: Hassan Nasrallah, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Muammar Gaddafi, targeted killings

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 5:55 AM

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