McCULLOUGH: Time to take Gadhafi out

It’s time for a more direct Libya strategy. Enforcing a no-fly zone and then hoping that the Libyan equivalent of the high school kids in “Red Dawn” can defeat an entrenched dictator is not a strategy. And it’s time for Moammar Gadhafi to go.

Gadhafi, through 42 years and myriad name spellings, has caused the world enough trouble. From airplane bombings to assassinations to his attempts to procure nuclear weapons, this madman has been a thorn in the planet’s side long enough.

Yes, if he is removed there will be a power vacuum. What fills it is a problem that will have to be solved. If every Middle Eastern and Arab country going through revolt ends up with radicals in charge then the world will see no net gain.

But before we tackle that problem, let’s all get on the same page as a country. The blueprint should bear some similarity to the following:

1) Let’s all agree he’s got to go. The country is sick of Congress turning every single issue into a political football. It’d be a nice change of pace if Republicans and Democrats could stop pointing fingers and just say, yep, Gadhafi’s time is up.

2) Let’s do it now. Airstrikes on military targets were a good first step, but all this diplomatic urging when it comes to Gadhafi is just giving him more time to put down the rebellion. And while the pressure may be getting rid of some of his minions, it’s not getting rid of him. Right now, unlike with so many other American military ventures, the world is standing behind us. As we’ve seen in the past, the world’s knees tend to get shaky once America starts shooting. Let’s cut the head off the snake before Europe backs out.

3) We can’t afford another war. It’s lunacy to suggest that we get into another quagmire, and we shouldn’t have to with the technology we have. So let’s find the smartest bomb we have and drop it on him, or at least drop enough around him that we flush him out where the rebels can get to him. I know our government doesn’t officially support elimination of foreign leaders, but this is not a clandestine assassination. This is taking a side in a war. Besides, asking him nicely to leave doesn’t seem to be working.

4) Let’s follow the advice of Defense Secretary Robert Gates: Since we can’t afford another war, somebody else should arm the rebels. In fact, this could be on the to-do list of every nation that left us hanging in Iraq and Afghanistan.

5) If we’re going to take this course of action, my fellow journalists should resist the urge to aid the enemy, like they did Wednesday by publishing reports of CIA agents being in Libya to help the rebels. I swear, I think given the chance the New York Times would publish our nuclear launch codes.

There you have it. Let’s get him, get in and get out, and get it over with. Then we can figure out who we want to buy Libyan oil from in the future.

Decisive action — it’s the cornerstone of any successful military undertaking, and it’s what’s needed now in Libya.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.