Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Consequential choice

Truth or Consequences?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s message on Libya’s ceasefire declaration was basically: she’ll believe it when she sees it.

“We are going to be not responsive or impressed by words. We would have to see actions on the ground. And that is not yet at all clear,” she said. USA

President Barack Obama put it in starker terms: “Muammar Gaddafi has a choice.”

The Libyan government must comply with the U.N. resolution or face the repercussions, Obama said. “Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable.”

And if Gaddafi doesn’t comply? “The international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action,” Obama said.

Washington Extra – Say it ain’t so

The White House says it knows that just telling Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to go, doesn’t make it so.

LIBYA-GADDAFI/SONGaddafi “has clearly shown that he doesn’t intend to leave just because we said so,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

The head of intelligence told it like it is, Carney said. “Director (James) Clapper stated what is true, that Colonel Gaddafi is hunkering down, we all know that.”

Washington Extra – Table options

What to do about Libya? Options. So many options.

President Barack Obama is taking his time to think it all through. The White House today threw down the line: “There are no options we’re taking off the table.” OBAMA/

That deliberately leaves murky whether military action is being contemplated.

Former President George W. Bush used the “all options are on the table” line from time to time when talking about Iran’s nuclear program, leaving some wondering if he was signaling an attack on Iran. Obviously he never did.

One option is enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya. The United States imposed no-fly zones over Iraq for a decade and it didn’t shake Saddam Hussein’s grip on power.