US President Barack Obama has defended the first military intervention of his presidency, insisting US involvement in Libya will be limited. He said US participation in the coalition had saved "countless lives", but that overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi by force would be a mistake. - BBC News, 29th March 2011
Explaining the UK's position on the Today programme, Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was "not involved in regime change". "We would like him [Gaddafi] to go but militarily what we're involved in is the [UN] resolution. We will stick strictly to the [UN] resolution," he told John Humphrys. "It's for the people of Libya to determine their future." - BBC Today Programme, 29th March 2011
The Foreign Secretary simply insisted that it was not a question of "if" Gaddafi would go but "when". He said he was satisfied with what had already been achieved... (List of achievements to date) ...Mr Hague denied that the aim of the military mission was to deliver regime change. That was not possible under the terms of the UN mandate, he said, but the vast majority of the world did think Gaddafi should go and, in time, he would. - Conservative Home, 13th April 2011
One day after Nato planes launched air strikes on Tripoli, a Conservative MP has requested the recall of Parliament amid fears that the allied mission in Libya has become focused on regime change, which is illegal under international law. John Baron, who was the only Tory MP to vote against military action in Libya, believes that while the original emphasis of the Libyan mission was the protection of civilians and the provision of humanitarian aid, it is now the removal of Colonel Gaddafi. - Channel 4 News, 15th April 2011
Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy have stated their determination to keep bombing Libya until Muammar Gaddafi steps down or is deposed. The leaders of the United States, Britain and France said, in a jointly written article, it would be an "unconscionable betrayal" of the populations of rebel towns to cease operations with Colonel Gaddafi still in place. It was "unthinkable" that a leader who has "tried to massacre his own people" could be allowed to continue in government, they said. - Independent, 15th April 2011
Foreign Minister Alain Juppé of France said Wednesday that the Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi could remain in Libya so long as he completely gave up power, as part of a larger political deal, including a cease-fire, on the future of the country. - New York Times, 20th July 2011
Britain is prepared to agree to a political settlement in Libya that would see Muammar Gaddafi remain in the country after relinquishing his hold on power, the foreign secretary, William Hague, has said. Guardian, 25th July 2011
Now, even I'm savvy enough to spot that "regime change" means "Nato soldiers removing Gaddafi", while "Libyans deciding their own future" means "Libyan rebels killing Gaddafi". Nonetheless, it does make for a bewildering series of pronouncments, doesn't it? You do have to wonder where we're going next here. Hague "Absolutely will not" fellate Gaddafi live on Libyan TV? "France Will Never Submit To Libyan Naval Invaders"?
I've used the issue of regime change here to illustrate the incoherence of the whole project and the level of honesty displayed from our political leaders throughout. There are a host of other issues that could've served equally well - for instance, how does the proposition "It's for the people of Libya to decide their own future" square with Nato's recognition of the rebels as their legitimate government? - but this'll do for now.
Well, what the hell. It was clear before this campaign started that our national sat-nav was programmed to drive us up Bullshit Boulevard, but even I'm surprised by the directness of our route the rapidity of our arrival. Have we had any good "Nobody could possibly have predicted this type of thing would happen" articles yet, or are we still at the "Give us infinite time and resources to sort this out and everything will work out fine" stage?