As rebels gain ground in Libya, the U.S. is worried that Moammar Gadhafi might use his stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemical weapons in a last-ditch effort to quell the revolt. "When you have a guy who's as irrational as Gadhafi with some serious weapons at his disposal, it's always a concern," an unnamed American official told The Wall Street Journal. Would Gadhafi really gas his own people?
Gadhafi is capable of anything: There's really nothing, it seems, that the desperate Libyan leader wouldn't do to stay in power, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. His loyalists have already reportedly fired anti-aircraft guns at a mosque in which protesters were sheltering, and unleashed helicopter gunships on opposition crowds. It's easy to imagine a gas attack as "some insane grand farewell gesture."
"Gadhafi mercenaries shooting victims in hospitals?"
His military might stop him: It's chilling to consider what Gadhafi might do "in one last, desperate, act of rage," says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. But given how many of his soldiers "have refused to comply with orders to attack the protesters," it seems likely someone in the military would stop him if he tried to uncork his mustard gas.
"Will Gadhafi use mustard gas on his own people?"
He might want to, but he can't: Libya still has nearly 14 tons of mustard gas, despite a 2003 promise to destroy its weapons of mass destruction program, says Eli Lake in The Washington Times. That's a concern, but not cause for panic. Gadhafi did dismantle all his bombs that were capable of delivering the deadly gas, so he probably couldn't use it even if he tried.
"U.S. concerned about security for mustard gas, chemicals"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- Hey, grammar nerds! Stop freaking out about 'alot.'
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
Subscribe to the Week