3:09pm

Wed April 6, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Gadhafi To Obama: Stop 'War'; Good Luck In Election

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appealed directly to President Obama on Wednesday to halt what the Libyan leader called "an unjust war" and wished Obama good luck in his bid for re-election next year.

In a rambling, three-page letter to Obama obtained by The Associated Press, Gadhafi implored Obama to stop the NATO-led air campaign, which he called an "unjust war against a small people of a developing country."

"You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action. I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that," Gadhafi wrote in the letter that was sent to the State Department and forwarded immediately to the White House, according to a U.S. official who had seen the letter.

"To serving world peace ... Friendship between our peoples ... and for the sake of economic and security cooperation against terror, you are in a position to keep NATO off the Libyan affair for good," Gadhafi wrote.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, however, that it is Gadhafi who must act. She called on him to withdraw his forces from the cities they have taken and said he has to give up power.

"There's no mystery about what is expected from Mr. Gadhafi at this time," Clinton said. "That is an international assessment. The sooner that occurs and the bloodshed ends, the better it will be for everyone."

A State Department envoy is on the ground in the rebel-held city Benghazi to figure out ways the U.S. can help the opposition.

In the letter, sent Wednesday, Gadhafi addressed Obama as "our son" and "excellency." The Libyan says that his country had been hurt more morally than physically by the NATO campaign and that a democratic society could not be built through missiles and aircraft. He also repeated his claim that his foes are members of al-Qaida.

The letter, in stilted and formal English, includes numerous spelling and grammatical errors.

"Our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu oumama, your intervention is the name of the U.S.A. is a must, so that Nato would withdraw finally from the Libyan affair," Gadhafi wrote. "Libya should be left to Libyans within the African union frame."

Gadhafi said his country had already been unfairly subjected in 1986 to "a direct military armed aggression" ordered by then-President Ronald Reagan, who famously called Gadhafi the "Mad Dog of the Middle East."

Although he listed a litany of complaints, Gadhafi said he bears no ill will toward Obama.

"We have been hurt more morally [than] physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you," he wrote. "Despite all this you will always remain our son whatever happened. We still pray that you continue to be president of the U.S.A. We Endeavour and hope that you will gain victory in the new election campaigne."

The letter is dated April 5, 2011, and signed "Mu'aumer Qaddaffi, Leader of the Revolution."

NPR's Michele Kelemen contributed to this report, which includes material from The Associated Press Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.