How Many Should Die To Send Qaddafi to the Hague?

Here is a question I would like pollsters to ask American voters about the Libya War:

Is sending Qaddafi to the International Criminal Court a military objective worth having American troops "fight and possibly die" for?

I haven't seen any pollster ask this question. Indeed, the fact that sending Qaddafi to the Hague is a de facto military goal of the United States in Libya isn't even being clearly acknowledged yet in the U.S. media.

However, we can make an educated guess what he response might be, because a Quinnipiac University poll recently asked some questions that are closely related. Voters say 61 - 30 percent that removing Qaddafi from power is not worth having American troops "fight and possibly die" for, the poll reports. They say 48 - 41 percent that the U.S. should not use military force to remove Qaddafi from power. Furthermore, 74 percent of voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that the U.S. will get embroiled in a long-term military conflict in Libya.

This strongly suggests that if American voters were asked, is sending Qaddafi to the International Criminal Court a military objective worth having American troops "fight and possibly die" for, more than 61% would say no and fewer than 30 percent would say yes. Because sending Qaddafi to the Hague is a military objective that includes removing Qaddafi and more.

Yet, with a super-majority of Americans opposed and without Congressional authorization, that is what we are doing: fighting a war to remove Qaddafi from power and send him to the Hague.

It's very likely that you wouldn't know this if your only source of information were the U.S. press, which hasn't been reporting on the divisions among US allies on what an acceptable agreement to end the war would be. But the British press is reporting it.

The Independent reported Wednesday:


But there were signs of divisions over a plan - put forward by the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, to provide a safe-haven for Gaddafi if he were to go into exile. This is supported by Turkey but is less enthusiastically backed by Britain and the US who would prefer him to face an investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Independent notes that exile could be accomplished even without the US and Britain formally dropping their insistence that Qaddafi face the ICC, because a number of African countries are outside the ICC's jurisdiction (the ICC is widely reviled in Africa, where many see it as a Western tool that targets African leaders.)

So, Italy and Turkey want to end the war by making it possible for the Libyan leader to go into exile. But the US and Britain do not agree, because they want Qaddafi in the Hague. Thus, the US and Britain are setting a higher bar for ending the conflict than Italy and Turkey. It is quite likely that a consequence of the US and British position is that the war will go on longer, kill more people, and cost more to the US taxpayers than it would if the US were not intransigent on this point.

But Congress and the American people have never signed off on this US diplomatic intransigence, which could cost many lives. Isn't that deeply wrong?

Recall that, according to a New York Times report earlier this week, the true military/political strategy of the Obama Administration was to destroy the Libyan military - i.e., kill Libyan soldiers - until the Libyan military forces Qaddafi to leave. The Times reported:


The strategy for White House officials nervous that the Libya operation could drag on for weeks or months, even under a NATO banner, is to hit Libyan forces hard enough to force them to oust Colonel Qaddafi, a result that Mr. Obama has openly encouraged.

Now, if the strategy is to get the military to force Qaddafi to leave, it would seem obvious that insisting that Qaddafi has to go to the Hague would make the strategy much harder to accomplish. Because for Libyan military leaders to tell Qaddafi, "Game's up, you must go to the Hague," is obviously a much heavier lift than "Game's up, you must go into exile." This is not only because Qaddafi is much less likely to agree to going to the Hague than going to exile, but also because military leaders are less likely to agree to something that they could well see as a personal and national humiliation.

Remember: at least three-fifths of Americans are against this, because they don't support having American troops "fight and possibly die" to remove Gadhafi, let alone to achieve the further demand that he go to the Hague.

And this is, of course, all ignoring other costs of the present policy, such as the cost to American taxpayers, or the likelihood of Libyan civilian casualties as a result of U.S. bombing.

It also ignores a question that is even less likely to be asked by pollsters in the U.S.: how many Libyan soldiers should we be prepared to kill in order to send Qaddafi to the Hague?

I realize that the lives of soldiers in enemy countries are not something that we prize highly. But surely we can all agree that the value of those lives is not zero. After all, these soldiers have mothers, wives, sisters, children. Presumably, that should count for something, even if that is not much.

But it is a basic mathematical fact that if two numbers are positive and finite, then there is some number you can multiply by the first to get something bigger than the second. So as long as the value of getting Qaddafi to the Hague is not infinite, then there is some number of Libyan soldiers whose killing would not be worth sending Qaddafi to the Hague. How many Libyan soldiers should we be prepared to kill to send Qaddafi to the Hague?

Don't you think Congress and the American people should have some say in what the US conditions are for a negotiated settlement that would end the war, if the current US conditions are intransigent and could block an agreement that would end the war?

You can urge Congress to debate the Libya War here.

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. car insurance quotes nj 390531 get car insurance now 62514 cheap california auto insurance sbco auto insurance online 44151 life insurance quotes 21805 car insurance esiwil car insurance in florida 590050 auto insurance 037 auto insurance quotes 98307 low cost life insurance 8-P classic car insurance jmmvfd auto insurance 33350 nexium 23815 buy purchase cialis on the internet 9410 amoxicillin pediatric suspension buy :] cheap acyclovir pills 8-D viagra alternatives 3958 buy accutane online 8DDD online schools 8O cialis tpusaz buying viagra online :DDD buy viagra 8-P auto insurance quotes wtuqc cialis online cthed cialis online 4633 Cialis en ligne 75567 Texas car insurance quotes jylnl cialis %-(( Kansas City auto insurance quotes 8-OO cheap car insurance 420327 auto insurance quotes Salt Lake City jpx viagra hvae cost of viagra 5896 new york car insurance yrl cialis online 253277 cialis =))) car insureance nyc auto insurance quotes WY xfqna life insurance quotes 8-DDD Tennessee cheap car insurance %-[ internet pharmacy propecia soma zoloft gawbbf car insurance rate 8297 cheap car insurance MO lhxka auto owners insurance =-[ buy prednisone obts buy viagra 3186 online colleges accredited hrrzxi Pennsylvania auto insurance quotes 50275 auto insurance quotes %-))) buy cialis online 274235 accutane 241286 buy cialis online :PP cheap auto insurance msezha where to buy viagra 527 discount auto insurance :P car insurance quotes for the state of michigan jstc viagra :-PP levitra shemale yasmin lee avkj viagra online bpst levitra him auto insurance quotes VT >:((( order prednisone lohka online colleges qnouyj Birmingham auto insurance quotes znfqd viagra prices %[[ travlers auto insurance 201474 car insurance quote ynqi generic cialis zcewpw cialis and viagra gdfpu cheap car insurance 013 Wisconsin cheap car insurance 6305 where to buy cialis dhphxa comparisons automobile insurance 8-OO best price on cialis %[[ where can i buy viagra cheap =-) viagra online snd independent contractor insurance liability >:O tea impotence 937 cheap online car insurance nyii manufacturers car insurance nj 76465 viagra no prescription xdtck car insurance wisconsin free quoets >:DD life insurance quotes mrzzj cheap car insurance idpsl accredited online degreese 6141 viagra online =OOO auto insurance quotes free >:-] viamedic >:[[[ cheap auto insurance 721937 free new jersey auto insurance quotes 190 mailorder viagra bdih cheap classic car insurance nj %-DD buys cialis online rjeatr Where to order Cielis 9334 cheap car insurance %-( cheapest viagra online =-OOO impotence and marijuana ijeh generic cialis dkb discount cialis 125765 vieagra 4925 cialis online pharmacies online physicians no prescription kcc cheap car insurance egt the best viagra putill o 8-PPP social sciences online degree %-]]] car insurance quotes =[[ viagra online ftqvm cheap car insurance ufdfh buy auto insurance online now ienw cialis dose mnsmn automoblie insurance >:-DD cheap auto insurance 1336 online colleges :O viagra %-OOO cialis =PP car insurance rate vcr cialis online ngybev insurance auto =-DDD cialis sales >:-[ Viagra purchase yjjkld badgercare insurance rsf car insurance 8-PPP flood insurance cheap :( nj auto insurance wnk on line car insurance vmto ciallis online :-DDD cures impotence >:O viagra online icpjhb cheapest viagra or cialis %-DD buy viagra on line cheap 55835 accutane non presciption 397218 compare car insurance companies ipytr florida car insurance jay Kansas City car company insurance for 643197 van insurance cheap online 8]] wash car insurance 235 car insurance senate 79861 San Diego fake car insurance rvd nj auto insurance quotes gick cheap nj car insurance quotes :-(( Cheap Full Coverage Auto Insurance gjbjt best levitra price :) contents insurance cheaper >:DD IL automobile insurance ca 8-] how to use cialis >:DD cheap car insurance quotes zfgjo car insurance quotes 805231 cheap auto insurance =-PPP insurance quotes for a car %-D online colleges ksion online auto insurance Illinois 98442 non generic viagra online 67113 cialis online 35066 cheap aut o insurance vqhkj viagra for sale 920506 insurance rates average car zbmon cheap cheap car insurance Jacksonville nygk vigara %] viagra =)) car insurance quotes wrdol

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • No HTML tags allowed
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.