Not so very long ago a no-fly zone over Libya seemed like an option on the outskirts of what the United States was considering in trying to pressure Muammar Gaddafi.
Since last night, apparently a no-fly zone might not be enough, and the United States is now pressing for air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery. What changed?
“It is not our feeling … that a no-fly zone is a snap-your-fingers, one-size-fits-all solution to a problem. And what we want is action on a variety of items that can improve the situation in Libya,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, without agreeing with the premise that policy had shifted.
The hardening stance brought to mind the words from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last week that “the regime will prevail” eventually because Libyan rebels were outgunned. Words the administration quickly distanced itself from at the time.
Gaddafi had words of his own, warning the rebel stronghold of Benghazi that he would show no mercy. “We will come zenga, zenga. House by house, room by room.”