In his July 3 op-ed, “Should we kill Gaddafi?” Evan Thomas repeats one of the great canards relating to assassination when he asserts that, in 1986, “the United States bombed Gaddafi’s tent in Libya, killing some of his relatives.”
I was a Defense Department legal adviser for the planning of these airstrikes. Col. Moammar Gaddafi never was the target for several reasons, not the least of which was because his location was uncertain on any given night. Even in 1986, Mr. Gaddafi had greater fear of an internal uprising than a U.S. attack. Consequently, he made a decision about 10 o’clock each night as to where he would spend the night.
On the night of the airstrike (April 15), Mr. Gaddafi stayed in his quarters in the fortified (again, against internal threats) Tarabulus (Aziziyah) Barracks in Tripoli. Aziziyah Barracks was an airstrike target because it was the principal command-and-control center for Mr. Gaddafi’s worldwide terrorist program. The targeted command-and-control center was destroyed. The tent damaged in the airstrike was used by Mr. Gaddafi for news conferences. He did not live or sleep in it. His residence, near the command-and-control center, suffered blast damage incidental to bombing the center. Although regime authorities claimed Mr. Gaddafi’s “adopted daughter” was killed, this proved to be a fabrication.
W. Hays Parks, Lorton