Monday, March 21, 2011

Gadhafi Dodges A Bullet Not Meant For Him

Updated 5:45 p.m. est

President Obama remarked in diplo-speak today that Moammar Gadhafi not being targeted, saying the U.S. has tools beyond military to enforce administration's policy that the Libyan dictator must go.

"It is U.S. policy that Gadhafi needs to go. And we've got a wide range of tools in addition to our military efforts to support that policy," Obama said at a news conference while traveling in Chile.

"We were very rapid in initiating unilateral sanctions and then helping to mobilize international sanctions against the Gadhafi regime. We froze assets that Gadhafi might have used to further empower himself and purchase weapons or hire mercenaries that might be directed against the Libyan people. So there are a whole range of policies that we are putting in place that has created one of the most powerful international consensus around the isolation of Mr. Gadhafi, and we will continue to pursue those," Obama explained.

"But when it comes to our military action, we are doing so in support of U.N. Security Resolution 1973. That specifically talks about humanitarian efforts. And we are going to make sure that we stick to that mandate," Obama added.

The UN sesolution does not include language about targeting Gadhafi, but as the Pentagon has suggested, there is not much that can be done if the Libyan despot is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

End Update

The U.S. insists Moammar Gadhafi is not being targeted by allied attacks, but the strike Sunday night on the Bab al-Azizia compound in Tripoli sent a very strong message to the Libyan dictator.

“At this particular point, I can guarantee that he’s not on a targeting list,” said Joint Chiefs staff director Vice Adm. Bill Gortney.

The sprawling compound, the setting of some of Gadhafi's recent speeches, was bombed by the United States in 1986.

According to CNN, "Airstrikes Sunday in the heart of Moammar Gadhafi's Tripoli compound had a military objective but also no doubt brought a message of allied resolve to the Libyan leader's doorstep."

The BBC reported the attack destroyed a target in the compound that coalition officials said was a military command headquarters.

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