Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi could have been removed from power months ago, but the lack of leadership in the White House prevented it, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton charged on Monday.
“If NATO did what it did this weekend, the question is why didn’t we do it five months ago?” he asked during an interview on Fox News. “Had NATO acted swiftly and decisively we would have reduced the huge terror of this five-months-long war.”
Bolton was answering a question on whether the U.S. could be proud of what it had done to help the rebels in the north African nation. “Unfortunately we can’t be as proud of it as we would like to be ,” he said.
The reason for the delay in toppling the Gadhafi regime, he said was down to one thing – “lack of presidential leadership.”
“Clearly France and Britain couldn’t carry this on their own,” he said.
“NATO is the United States and always has been and when we stepped back after the first few days we left our NATO allies adrift and that’s one reason why it took five months to get to this point.”
But Bolton said it is now clear that Gadhafi’s reign of terror is over. “I don’t see how he gets back to power. The question now is how bloody the exit is going to be. Both he and other bitter enemies still loyal to him could make it very bloody indeed.”
He said he was encouraged by a statement made by a member of the country’s Transitional Council that the new Libya will be a modern Islamic nation that respects human rights.
“I hope that’s what they are able to do,” he said. “But NATO itself said some months ago there were al-Qaida elements among the rebel forces and one likely scenario is a struggle among different rebel leaders to see who will emerge as the leaders of the post-Gadhafi regime.
“We have a big stake in that,” he added. “We obviously want pro-western believers in a free society, not radical Islamists, to take control.
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