Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meanwhile in Libya

USS Barry (DDG 52) launching "kinetic military" device on March 29, 2011, near Libya.

Libya seems to have faded from the news, not a single headline from my normal news outlets. It doesn't mean there isn't any news nor the usual human misery and suffering that accompanies a civil war, of course. From the WSJ:
Opposition forces appeared to be caught off guard when the Libyan leader's forces swept through rugged coastal desert while unleashing a pounding artillery and rocket bombardment against the port [Misrata] and the surrounding area. Col. Gadhafi's forces have so far avoided that approach, presumably because the open terrain provides no cover from North Atlantic Treaty Organization airplanes.
Question, where are the coalition air forces. Exhausted maybe? Our allies aren't used to providing sustained operations without U.S. big decks on hand.

Meanwhile, the rebels are probably committing atrocities, targeting blacks because they have formed the bulk of Gadaffi's mercenaries. Video clips of public beheadings by the rebel forces are available on YouTube. (Graphic content warning, I will not personally watch.)

CDR Salamander has some choice observations regarding our mission over at the U.S. Naval Institute blog. Among them:
. . . we now find ourselves in a classic grinding civil war. The first steps of the ground war have started with Anglo-French-Italian advisers. After jumping into a support role, Europe ran out of weapons and reserves to the point that we are now back in the ground attack game – but only halfheartedly. . . . No, our allies cannot do this on their own – we will need to do more and unless we want a repeat of Suez, we have to. It is almost past the point of arguing “should” – after awhile of dithering, things can deteriorate to the point that you have to get involved in order to avoid a total collapse and all the negative second and third order effects. Effects BTW, that you (we/they) created. Butterfly Effect or Dithering Effect, either one works. Which is worse, to let a civil war take its own course, or to try to bend it to your will? That is a hard question – but one the West thinks it has answered, but still thinks it is hedging.
So we are stumbling into a longer and longer war. Our further involvement will be inevitable. And still the President has taken not a single action required by the War Powers Resolution. It was his political cowardice that created this situation in the first place. While it may have been legal to initially prevent the slaughter of civilians in rebel held territory, the continued involvement of our forces required the President to get Congressional authorization. If he had that authority, then we could go in and depose Gadaffi by the most efficient means available.

This chicken will come home to roost. I won't shed a tear when Obama has to eat this crap sandwich and go to the Congress to get war powers for a third war in the Middle East. Say what you will about George W. Bush, he had the sense to get Congressional approval for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Libyan rebels with dead Gadaffi soldiers. Source Business Insider.

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