This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
With rebel forces nearly in control of Tripoli, Moammar Gadhafi’s 42 years of despotism – which began when Richard Nixon was a rookie president – have ended.
This is, among other things, another big international success for Barack Obama. Some of the president’s critics continue to insist that the president is running a weakling foreign policy, but the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and now Gadhafi would beg to disagree.
From a strictly American perspective, the toppling of Gadhafi’s loathsome dictatorship played out nicely. The U.S. intervened powerfully at the outset by hitting key Libyan targets with Tomahawk cruise missiles, disabling the regime’s air defenses, and making it possible for NATO aircraft to operate freely and strike Libyan military assets with impunity.
Then the United States handed off the lead to NATO, especially Britain and France. With intense Western air support, Libya’s ragtag opposition forces gradually coalesced and began to prevail against the Libyan army, finally breaking into the capital over the weekend.
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