June 11th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #873 'On Gadhafi's trail'

Reporter's Note: Hooray, the weekend is here! But I’m still writing to the president. Hmmm, maybe I need to rethink this plan.

Dear Mr. President,

Nice to have a Saturday on my hands after a busy week. Assuming all goes as planned, I will be down by your house this morning for a road race. It’s the National Press Club’s “Beat the Deadline” 5K, so it’s not very long but I should see a lot of friends. If you happen to read this very early in the morning, come on out and run with us. It should be fun.

Not so much fun: The hunt for Gadhafi!

I’ve been getting a big kick out of this whole hand-wringing, international discussion about whether or not he represents a legitimate target for NATO. I’ve always been puzzled by such debates. While it’s a good idea to keep a lid on random, sneaking-around-the-corner assassinations of world leaders, it has always seemed to me that when any two countries or groups are fighting, such tactics…well, kind of just makes sense.

Related: Gadhafi a legitimate target, according to NATO official

You want to upset the command and control structure of an enemy? Take out the leader.

You want to demoralize opposition forces? Take out the leader.

You want to make the middle men - the generals, colonels, etc - think twice about continuing their bellicose ways? Again, take out the leader.

I fully understand that NATO must tread carefully. Certainly if the Manchurian candidates were released every time some distant potentate irritated Europe or the U.S., we might find the rest of the planet getting a little testy about it. But just as important: I don’t think the big players on the planet can be paralyzed by uncertainty. As I always tell my kids: Avoid fights whenever you can. Avoid them like the plague. Avoid them like Celine Dion records. But if you must fight, fight to win…and you don’t kill a snake, by chopping off its tail.

Enjoy the weekend. See you at the finish line, maybe?


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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