Senior leaders of the US Congress used appearances on CNN’s “State of the Union” program yesterday to brazenly call for the assassination of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and a major escalation of air strikes to achieve the war’s real aim—the installation of a compliant puppet regime.
Five weeks of bombing have failed to bring about Gaddafi’s downfall, primarily due to continued support for the government in the capital Tripoli and the military and political weakness of the anti-Gaddafi forces based in the eastern city of Benghazi. Opposition fighters have made no significant gains in the east of the country and pro-government troops have maintained a siege of the opposition-held western city of Misrata, despite almost daily NATO bombardments.
The clear signs of a military stalemate, and a ruthless insistence that it be broken, dominate the discussion within the US establishment. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN: “Right now there’s just not enough momentum by the rebels... So my recommendation to NATO and the administration is to cut the head of the snake off. Go to Tripoli, start bombing Gaddafi’s inner circle, their compounds, their military headquarters.”