Their argument: Pro-Qadhafi forces are counterattacking with artillery, small arms and helicopters, which can be better countered by a ground presence, not aerial patrols. And putting troops on the ground is a nonstarter…
“If you simply sit back, as the White House has done, and said ‘Qadhafi’s got to go,’ and then you don’t do anything about it, you have the worst of all worlds,” said John Bolton, Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations. “If you want to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. … American prestige is at stake here.”
Bolton stops short of endorsing an immediate attack on Qadhafi but ticks off three reasons why it would be better to confront him sooner rather than later: The likelihood of success, which he thinks is excellent; the possibility that Libya could turn into a lawless Al Qaeda safe haven; and the growing chances that Qadhafi could survive and kick-start his dormant nuclear weapons program.
“The president said Qadhafi should go,” said Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, one of the conservative policy thinkers who pushed for Bush to topple Saddam Hussein. “If his staff spent more time figuring out how to make that happen, rather than making excuses for why we can’t do anything, he — and we, and the people of Libya and of the Middle East — would be better served. Clinton said after he left office that he regretted waiting and watching so long in the Balkans. I fear Obama will have the same regrets regarding Libya.”