Bolton: Obama Risking Quagmire in Libya

Friday, 22 Apr 2011 11:01 AM

By Martin Gould

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Barack Obama is risking a Vietnam-style “quagmire” in Libya because of his indecision on what he wants from the conflict, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has warned in a stinging rebuke of the President.

bolton, obama, libyaBy demanding regime change but only being willing to use military force to protect civilians, Obama is “setting himself up for massive strategic failure,” said Bolton, a potential Republican presidential candidate.

“Vietnam became a ‘quagmire’ because of U.S. unwillingness to persevere to reach our objectives,” wrote Bolton in an opinion piece that ran in the Boston Herald.

Now Libya is going the same way, he said, “because Obama’s decision to intervene was perilously late and limited, and compounded by his mistake in drastically curtailing U.S. strike missions.”

Bolton put forward immediate plans to strengthen Obama’s hand. He said the President immediately has to declare that getting rid of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is the main objective, as well as striking government forces even if they are not an immediate threat to civilians.

Then, he said, the U.S. has to identify pro-Western figures among the rebels and strengthen their hands in any way possible against others who may be even more dangerous than Gadhafi.

“Thus far, however, Obama can’t bring himself to act,” wrote Bolton. Instead, he contends that Gadhafi is being "squeezed" in other ways, most notably that his regime is running out of money — an ironic concern for a president who acts as though no such constraints apply to him.

"It is similarly troubling that Obama could say, 'I think over the long term, Gadhafi will go, and we will be successful,'" added Bolton. “There is no better road to ‘quagmire’ than to see Gadhafi’s departure as 'long term.'"

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