The Obama administration, over the last 6 days, has backtracked multiple times on our strategy/plans/endgame for Libya. Various spokespersons are even proffering different scenarios at the same time. “He must go!” is the mantra de jour. But go where? Will he hunker down and hold out. Will he die in a bombing raid; or be assassinated? Or, perchance could he be captured? By whom? Maybe that’s why we won’t dare put boots on the ground, according to Obama. Imagine if the US Marines, returning to the storied “shores of Tripoli” bag Muammar? What would we do with him?
Maybe that’s why the administration’s position has “evolved” in such a convoluted manner. All future actions ( handing off command and control to either the Brits/French, and/or a panel of sorts, the determination NOT to put US troops into Libya , and total avoidance of using the words “captured” or “bring to justice” when discussing Qadaffi’s future) are, on the face of it, designed to make sure that there is no way on earth that we end up holding Qadaffi.
But plans change as soon as the first shot is fired. Indeed, assume that Qadaffi finds himself trapped, surrounded, his supporters deserting him. HIs options are a) try to find a place for exile b)last stand, c) suicide d) surrender to the rebel forces e) surrender to the Brits/French, or f) surrender to the Americans.
If the exile option disappears, as I think it already has, then what’s a smart dictator to do? Gitmo’s pretty nice, by comparison.