For 42 years, the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi terrorised, oppressed and divided the Libyan people. When anti-regime protests flared up on February 17, the reaction was predictable enough: bloody slaughter. Gaddafi said he wanted to cleanse Libya house by house. Using regime security forces, he started doing just that. Whatever the lunatic fringe from Stop the War Coalition would have you believe, it was the international intervention, led by Britain and France, which put a stop to this. Since then, Prime Minister David Cameron and other world leaders have been categorical in their assertions that Colonel Gaddafi must go. So what to make of yesterdays comments by our International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, about the importance of incorporating as much of the existing regime architecture as possible into any post-Gaddafi settlement? One of the first things that should happen once Tripoli falls is that someone should get on the phone to the former Tripoli chief of police and tell him hes got a job and he needs to ensure the safety and security of the people of Tripoli, he said at a news conference on June 28. But the fact is that Mr Mitchell is absolutely spot on, and his comments are to be warmly welcomed. For the success both of the current campaign to protect civilians and remove Gaddafi, and for the security and prosperity of any post-Gaddafi Libya, encouraging regime figures that they can have an important part to play will be absolutely essential. As Edmund Burke observed in the wake of the French Revolution, replacing a despotic leadership, even by force, is sometimes right and necessary. Replacing the entire architecture of the state, on the other hand, will lead only to further violence and chaos. We learned this lesson the hard way in Iraq in 2003, when almost every vestige of the Baath administration was replaced wholesale, with the resultant dearth of knowledge and expertise proving catastrophic for the countrys subsequent development. A repeat of this mistake in Libya could have equally deadly results. The opposition Transitional National Council (TNC), though long on ambition, is woefully short on expertise. Yes it has some notable former regime figures amongst its ranks, including its Chairman, the former justice minister Mustafa Jalil, but it is also populated by men with no prior experience of running a country whatsoever. Former university professors, lawyers and a clutch of PhD students hold some of the most important posts in the TNC, and with the best will in the world, theyre going to need some help. This problem is still further compounded by the fact that Jalil, admirably in many ways, has stated that TNC office-holders should not take advantage of their current status and stand in the first post-Gaddafi elections. Others within the council, including its spokesman Abdul-Hafiz Ghoga, take a different view, but either way the problem remains. As for the opposition police and security forces, their lack of expertise is well documented. Indeed, many Libyans privately maintain that the most competent fighting force on the opposition front line is the Islamist 17th February Brigade. Moreover, if regime figures are to be persuaded to abandon Gaddafi now, they need to know that to do so wont just be an exercise in out of the frying pan, into the fire. In spite of much-trumpeted rebel advances in recent days, by far the most desirable outcome to this conflict remains an internal coup dtat inside Gaddafis regime. Mondays announcement by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it had issued warrants for the arrest of Colonel Gaddafi, his son Saif, and the countrys spy-chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, on charges of crimes against humanity, will doubtless have given those still loyal to Gaddafi pause for thought. Indeed, it is imperative that those charged with the most serious crimes are brought to justice. But it is equally important that others in the regime can be confident that they will not be tarred with the same brush, and that there can be an important place for them in a post-Gaddafi Libya. The key now will be to hear similar remarks to Mr Mitchells from the TNC itself. Understandably perhaps, many amongst Libyas opposition hold deep reservations about such a strategy. Within Benghazi itself, there have been serious divisions in recent weeks over the question of whether or not to employ former regime security forces, and there have also been sporadic assassinations of former regime figures; a telling microcosm of what might be in store down the road. But for the sake of all Libyans, in east and west, it is imperative that such divisions are put to one side. This troubled country simply cannot afford revenge and retribution. Mr Jalil and others within the TNC need to have the courage to extend the olive branch, both publicly and through private channels. Failure to do so will be costly indeed. George Grant is the Director for Global Security at The Henry Jackson Society, and the author of Towards a Post-Gaddafi Libya, a report on the conflict released in April 2011. The Telegraph