Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., argued in a Washington Post op-ed Friday that the U.S. should prepare to implement a no-fly zone over Libya if Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi "starts using his airpower to kill large numbers of civilians."
The “mere threat” of imposing a no-fly zone might keep Qaddafi’s pilots from firing on their own people, Kerry wrote. “If it does not, we should be crystal-clear that we will lead the free world to avoid the senseless slaughter of any more Libyan citizens by a mad man bent on maintaining power.”
Still, Kerry wrote, a no-fly zone “would not be a panacea” against Qaddafi, who has relied on air power “selectively” in his battle against rebels calling for the end of his four-decade rule.
The U.S. would also need the backing of the Arab world if the United Nations Security Council fails to authorize action, Kerry said. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified Thursday on Capitol Hill that Britain and France were going to the United Nations with a draft resolution to implement a no-fly zone. NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday did not approve action of a no-fly zone but deferred any further decision until next week.