Forty-two foreign-policy experts and pro-democracy advocates wrote President Barack Obama on Friday, urging him to establish a no-fly zone in Libya and take other actions to prevent Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi from gunning down his own citizens.
The letter to Obama is the work of Foreign Policy Initiative, a
nonprofit led in part by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. It promotes robust efforts to advance U.S. interests abroad.
The correspondence reminds Obama of his 2009 declaration upon receiving the Nobel Prize that “Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later.”
The letter also warns the president that the Gadhafi regime’s willingness to open fire on its own citizens could lead to “a moral and humanitarian catastrophe.”
Failing to act, say the experts, could “cast doubt on the commitment of the United States and Europe to basic principles of human rights and freedoms.”
Among the steps that the Foreign Policy Initiative urges the United States and NATO implement:
- Action in Libyan airspace to present the “continued use of fighter jets and helicopter gunships against civilians.”
- Relocating naval vessels into Libyan waters to aid in evacuations, and to disable any Libyan vessels that are used to attack civilians.
- A freeze on all Libyan government funds held in the United State and Europe.
- A temporary halt to the importation of all Libyan oil to the United States and Europe.
- A warning to Gadhafi and other Libyan officials that anyone involved in massacres of civilians will be tried under international law.
- Humanitarian relief for the Libyan people.
The 42 signatories to the letter include Kristol, historian and foreign-policy expert Robert Kagan, Middle Eastern studies senior fellow Elliott Abrams, Fox News commentator and former Defense Department spokesman Dan Senor, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
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