Questions over next step in war on terrorism


WASHINGTON, April 21, 1986 (UPI) - Former U.S. officials and two British leaders - one former, one current -- say the U.S. raid on Libya is unlikely to end terrorism, and one says President Reagan's vow to strike again threatens nuclear war.

While leaders still question what the next step in the war over terrorism will be, one Republican senator warned Sunday that world may view the air raids as ''gutter acts'' that will erode U.S. prestige.


Although most agreed the raid would not end terrorism, they also shared the view of former Sen. John Tower, R-Texas: ''The raid was the right idea (to) ameliorate Khadafy's terrorist activity.''

Reagan has threatened more military action if Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy does not abandon his support for terrorism, and former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski called for blockading Libya, including mining its harbors, closing its airfields and ''interferring with its telecommunications'' to ''generate unrest'' that could topple Khadafy.


But Ali Treiki, Libya's ambassador to the United Nations, said American talk that Khadafy might be overthrown is ''wishful thinking.''

Reports of fighting around Tripoli between rebels and forces loyal to Khadafy, he said, are ''not true at all.''

Treiki appeared on ABC's ''This Week with David Brinkley,'' along with Tower, Brzezinski and British Defense Minister George Younger. Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath was on NBC's ''Meet the Press,'' as were Sen. Lowell Weicker, R-Conn., and Robert McFarlane, who served as Reagan's top national security aide.

McFarlane said Khadafy probably was not a direct target of the U.S. bombing raid on Libya because, ''We don't murder people.''

But Treiki said there is no doubt the radical Libyan leader was one of the targets, ''if not the main target,'' of the U.S. lightning strike last week.

''I don't think it was the willful focus of our attack to destroy Khadafy personally,'' McFarlane said, adding: ''It surely must have crossed the minds of some people in the administration that that might have been collateral outcome. But no, we don't murder people.''

Treiki said the administration ''never hid their intention to eliminate him.''

Citing Reagan's vow to do it again, Heath said such escalation eventually would lead to ''the nuclear field.''


Heath and Younger said economic sanctions do not work, although Younger said his government will encourage other European nations to engage in strong ''non-military action'' against Libya. But Heath suggested the bottom line for Europe when he noted, ''We have considerable trade with Libya.''

Weicker, one of the few members of Congress openly critical of the bombing raid, said Reagan ''violated both the War Powers Act and the Constitution insofar as engaging in a military operation.''

''I also don't see where us engaging in the type of act which takes civilians with it gives us any sort of moral ascendancy over the people that we're lashing out at,'' he said, adding:

''We think we're doing the right thing, and once we get into gutter acts, believe me, I think we'll lose our pre-eminence throughout the world.''

Heath likewise questioned the wisdom of the military strike, arguing the U.N. Charter ''does not justify an act of this kind,'' and asserting the attack will not stop terrorism.

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