General Commanding U.S. Forces: Libya Action Could End With Gaddafi Still In Power

Another U.S. military official has said publicly that the mission in Libya could end in a stalemate that leaves Gaddafi in power:

Could the international coalition’s attack on Libya end in a stalemate?

Even after the massive international bombing campaign, might Libya’s longtime leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, still refuse to give up  power?

The U. S. general leading the forces in Libya says, in a word, yes.

At today’s Pentagon briefing U.S. General Carter Ham was asked, “We’ve heard repeatedly from Pentagon officials and military commanders that Gadhafi is not a target. Can you see a situation where he remains in power? Are you worried that — that it will end in a stalemate? Does that concern you?

” I do see a situation where that — that could be the case, ” Ham said, “I have — again, it’s perhaps easier for me to address that than it is for others, because I have a very discrete military mission. And so I could see accomplishing the military mission, which has been — which has been assigned to me, and the current leader would — would remain the current leader.

“Is that ideal? I don’t think anyone would say that that is ideal. But I could envision that as a — as a possible situation, at least for the current mission that I have.”

General Ham’s mirror those made yesterday by Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, and would seem to indicate that, at least on the military side, the United States is willing to accept an outcome in Libya that leaves Muammar Gaddafi still controlling at least a significant portion of what we now know as Libya. Someone should tell the rebels in eastern Libya that.


FILED UNDER: Africa, US Politics, World Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. legion says:

    Uh, what exactly is the mission’s objective, then? If it’s “keep Gaddafhi from slaughtering civilians” then you pretty much _can’t_ go home until he’s out of power.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    It’s not necessarily about what the U.S. wants . . .

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Nuance, people, nuance.