“It’s the only ending to this thing—otherwise we’re no-flying forever.”
“But that doesn’t mean we do it alone, lead it, or commit troops to do it.”
“At least that would be a defined goal and a clear message.”
“We look silly when we say that we don’t want thugs gone. All this diplomaticspeak, it confuses the message.”
“You can’t be halfway pregnant, and you can’t launch missiles without planning on changing the regime. Reagan’s failure to do it in 1986 is why we are dealing with Libya today.”
“But that change should occur absent boots on the ground. This should be a covert operation.”
“The words may evoke Iraq and cause the public to cringe, but that is the ultimate goal.”
“A man that turns weapons on his own people has to go.”
“Would we go through all this and leave Qaddafi in power? It would be Iraq 1991 all over again.”
“I don’t think we did all this only to produce a stalemate.”
“Regime change should be reserved for true and direct enemies of the state.”
“Putting aside the philosophical discussion, does it really make sense to promise what we probably can’t deliver?”
“The Libyan people must decide that, not the U.S.”
“And if it turns out to be the ‘goal’ because of the muddled and inconsistent responses to date by the president, then Pandora’s box will have been opened in Africa and elsewhere.”
“ ‘Change’ to what? We have no idea who we’re fighting for.”
Should regime change be the U.S. goal in Libya?
Republicans (104 votes)
Also receiving votes: “It already is,” 1%; depends, 1%.
“If the answer is no, then what the hell are we doing there? Are we really willing to risk American lives and American prestige to leave this guy in power?”
“If we are supporting NATO, we should encourage an end to this mission or else there will be no end.”
“The president still seems [to be] one of the only global leaders who doesn’t understand that when a U.S. president demands ‘Qaddafi must go,’ he is making a statement of U.S. policy, not simply some heavily qualified desire.”
“We’re in and now have to win, partly for the Libyans and partly to maintain our credibility.”
“What’s the alternative—destroy Libya’s infrastructure for the hell of it?”
“This is 25 years overdue. We should have done it after Lockerbie.”
“Obama put our prestige on the line. Our adversaries are now watching even more closely.”
“Where’s Jack Bauer when you need him?”
“The villain you know may be better than the devil you don’t know.”
“The entire operation is a disaster, and it will require several regime changes before anyone can get a night’s sleep in the Middle East.”
“There are no vital U.S. interests there, and we have no idea what comes next.”
“Certain regime change would require a massive American military response, and we don’t need a third war.”
“It’s a civil war—let them fight it out.”
Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.
GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.
This article appears in the April 9, 2011, edition of National Journal.