I guess my blog isn’t as well read as it should be, since everyone involved in the attack against Libya is acting surprised at the initial results. The Arab League endorsed a no-fly zone without realizing it meant attacking Libya, and the Obama administration is desperately trying to keep from choosing sides when the coalition in the fight has already chosen.
Today the Arab League, after watching 112 tomahawk cruise missiles slam into Libya, started getting a little antsy, saying, “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians.”
What the hell did they think was going to happen? We’d simply tell Ghadafi not to fly anywhere? So now they’re re-thinking their support for the whole endeavor, which will definitely make us look like crusading marauders if they pull out. Then what will we do? Continue to strike? Or tell Ghadafi, “Sorry about that. It’s your show now”.
Well, I guess that really depends on what Operation Odyssey Dawn’s end state is supposed to be. Does anyone know? In a valiant attempt at staying neutral, the Obama administration has stated that the sole purpose of the military action is to keep Ghadafi from harming civilians. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has even stated that the entire thing could end in a quagmire stalemate, with Ghadafi still in power. Senator Kerry went further, saying that removing Ghadafi wasn’t “licensed” by the UN (like we went to the UN for permission to sell beer), and thus is not the objective. Is that what we wanted? A perpetual no-fly zone for the foreseeable future? Do we want the eastern part of Libya to become an autonomous region, a la Kurdistan, with coalition air power protecting them in perpetuity? Not if you talk to our valued coalition partners, France and Britain, who unequivocally stated that the objective is Ghadafi’s removal, and apparently have started targeting Ghadafi’s residences with missile strikes. So which is it? Secure the civilian population or remove Ghadafi? I don’t think even the members of the coalition know.
How is this is going to play out? Let’s say the Arab League pulls its support. Will the United States continue to back the coalition, with a stated goal of removing Ghadafi – after we said that wasn’t an objective? What do we do if he throws up his hands and says “You win…Unilateral ceasefire from me”? Are we going to start offensively hitting targets? In effect, becoming the air support for the rebel forces? If so, how is the U.S. going to do that, when it has overtly stated that it only wants to remain for a few days, and has no interest whatsoever in introducing ground troops. Just what the hell does the United States expect from this action, beyond the stated goal of “not letting Libyan air power fly”? That’s not a policy goal, it’s a tactical measure. This half way, want to throw some missiles but don’t have the stomach for the fight, crap is precisely what we did in Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998, and it got the U.S. nowhere.
This ‘adventure’ into Libya is one of the most ill-conceived, poorly coordinated efforts that has ever come out of the United Nations, a body famous for ill-conceived, poorly-coordinated policy. Especially when other leaders in the region are committing the same types of atrocities, such as Saleh, the president of Yemen, who just killed 56 civilians with sniper fire. Are we going to attack Yemen next? While France and others are screaming for Ghadafi’s removal, I haven’t heard a single statement about whom or what sort of government would replace him. Does anyone have any idea at all? Does anyone care?
One thing’s for sure – I was wrong about the Obama administration understanding we can’t simply walk away after causing Ghadafi’s fall. Apparently we can – and will.
Excellent insight Brad (or maybe hindsight?). Your comments are spot-on. Please keep the blog going. This is more accurate info than we get in Politico.
I guess those of us that do read your blog have NO influence on what is happening. You should make sure your congressman is reading your stuff–he/she may need to make a smart comment to the administration! I sure feel smarter after reading it. 😉
I think this earns quote of the day: “This ‘adventure’ into Libya is one of the most ill-conceived, poorly coordinated efforts that has ever come out of the United Nations, a body famous for ill-conceived, poorly-coordinated policy.”
Agreed about this being the same “strategy” of 1998 that got us….nowhere. Apparently throwing missiles at a problem makes it go away in the minds of many politicians.
I agree with your assessment “ill-conceived, poorly coordinated”.
I wanted to thank you for your book. I just finished reading “One Rough Man” and truly enjoyed it.
I just posted the review.
Can we look forward to a second book or perhaps another book with Pike and Jennifer?
This is what happens when “leaders” (using the term loosely) want to “do the right thing” or at least LOOK tough for the world. They cannot commit. Too afraid of doing the wrong thing. I would have more respect if they would have either stayed out of the whole thing militarily OR bombed the living be-jesus out of them and seriously tried to take out Ghadafi. At least have the balls to make a real decision and then pursue it.
This feeble attempt by the administration to take everyone’s attention off of the budget debacle will only result in our getting deeply involved in a third concurant war with an Arab State.
This has already grown beyond a no-fly zone. We are the de-facto close air support for the rebels.
It is amazing that some of the best and brightest the US has to offer came up with such a botched-up batch of B.S. as we see in this Libyan ‘adventure’. I know it’s easy to arm-chair quarterback but, really??
I really enjoy your insight my friend, keep it up….and the book was great!
Sharing your views, I wrote Obama advising against this meddling in a culture we still only marginally understand. I didn’t ask for a response.
I do not know if this involvement is a distraction as we try to exit Afghanistan with a modicum of grace or if it is born from a keen insight gleaned from our intelligence services. (I suspect the latter is not the case as MG Flynn observed in Afghanistan, Intel is “barely relevant.”)
I am still hopefull about Obama. I wouldn’t have wasted the time writing Bush.