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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Lessons from Obama’s recklessness on Libya and Trump’s on Iran

President Barack Obama
President Obama discusses Libya during a 2013 news conference.
(Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

To the editor: The Trump administration’s killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani is highly reminiscent of its predecessor’s role in the killing of former Libyan dictator Moammar Kadafi. (“With Iran, Congress will again be asked to exercise its war powers authority. Will it fail again?” Jan. 9)

The Obama administration authorized the use of U.S. predator drones to take part in a strike against Kadafi’s motorcade in 2011. The airstrike did not kill Kadafi, but it forced him to flee on foot, after which he was captured and brutally killed by rebel forces.

The Obama administration had not planned for the aftermath. Libya has been a country in chaos ever since, with a fractured government and tens of thousands of people desperately trying to flee the country by risking their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

In 2003, President George W. Bush persuaded Kadafi to shut down his development of weapons of mass destruction. The tragic irony of the Obama administration taking part in eliminating Kadafi only eight years later is that now, North Korea will never surrender its nuclear weapons to Trump or anyone else.

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The lesson of Obama and Kadafi is clear. A president’s erratic, even violent behavior can leave us all in a more dangerous place.

James Willis, Oxnard

..

To the editor: If Suleimani’s killing was in fact an unlawful assassination, then we need to follow the logical trail to what it was: murder.

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Since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has engaged in a campaign of extrajudicial killing with no accountability, no transparency and absolute impunity. It seems that many, if not most, of these killings were intended to merely assuage our society’s anxiety about Islamic terrorism.

We have little idea how many individuals have been killed in our names and for what reason; in other words, we have little idea which killings have been justified, and which have been murders.

It should surprise no one, given Trump’s impulsiveness and imprudence, that such a campaign would now target a high-ranking leader of a sovereign state, in full abrogation of international law and custom. It is high time we as a society matured, reclaimed our right to consent to war and ended this senseless and destructive killing.

Charles Kohorst, Glendora


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