The great vulnerability of one-man states—their built-in weakness and our great hope—is precisely the feature that defines them. Terrifying though Milosevic and Saddam were, and impressive though many people found their elite security forces, they proved under serious pressure to be what Mao Zedong used to call “paper tigers.” Only one delusional individual had to crack, or be cracked, and it was all over. And, compared with the duo mentioned above, Qaddafi is practically a nonentity. Did you happen to see his recent “Cannonball Run” through the streets, gesticulating hysterically from the back of a pickup? It was many things, but it was not impressive or frightening.

The special forces of almost any NATO state—most certainly those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France—are more than equal to the task of taking him out on their own. If he can’t be arrested, he can certainly be killed. This doesn’t seem to me to violate the letter or the spirit of, say, the official prohibition on assassination of foreign leaders first promulgated during the administration of President Gerald Ford. Qaddafi is now the commander and symbol of a depraved armed force with which we are engaged in direct hostilities. Like Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden, he is a legitimate military target and, if only the international courts would not also be so laggard, a legitimate legal and political one as well.