Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On Libya

I never liked Moammar Ghadaffi, or however you spell his name. Back when the US was fighting the Cold War, I had a friend who was stationed at a place called Wheelus Air Force Base near Benghazi, Libya. An upstart dictator, a mere colonel, threw the US out of that place, and I've held a grudge ever since.

Still, that asshole has been the big magilla there for over 40 years and now the opposition has gained the status of Rebel Forces. There's a shooting war, and I'm not one who is necessarily opposed to shooting wars. If we're going to be involved in a shooting war, there are a few necessary conditions to fighting one.

First, there must be a vital American interest. We can argue whether that interest is legitimate or not, especially in Libya's case. Next, the President has to go before Congress and lay out his case. I'm not sure that our President did that, being in South America when the Tomahawk missiles started flying. Third, we need clear command and control. I don't want our boys and girls under the command of anyone that doesn't answer to the US chain of command. Fourth, we need a mission, a clearly defined mission that anyone can understand. Fifth, if we're not going it alone, we need a good coalition of nations.

When President Obama and Vice President Biden were campaigning back in 2007, they also laid out clear conditions for use of force. Joe Biden went so far as to threaten to impeach Bush if he used force without Congressional approval.

Our coalition is crumbling. Deep divisions in the way that the campaign is being planned and prosecuted is causing a rift among NATO nations. Germany is pulling out of the campaign.

We should be consistent. Why is it that we support the Libyan rebels, but didn't arm the rebels in other nations? Why aren't we helping the dissidents in Iran? What makes the Libyan rebels so special that they can call for an Air Force and get one? Our smart diplomacy seems to be in disarray, with no consistent guiding principles.

We should be timely. The Libyan rebels had all but lost before we decided to intervene on their behalf. They had retreated to their last stronghold and Ghadiffi was massing forces against them. In another two or three days, they would have been annihilated and the Libyan resistance would have been just a recent memory. Now, they have a fighting chance, but it's no sure bet that they'll win. Ghadiffi still has lots of boots on the ground and he's not going to give up without a fight. Are the rebels strong enough? They might have been successful two weeks ago, but as someone schooled in the battlefield art, I'm not so sure now. Remember that Rommel said that battles are decided long before the first shot by the quartermasters who stack up the supplies.

I could go on and on about this Libyan adventure, but others have covered the ground more thoroughly. Go read Victor Davis Hanson for a more concise accounting.


Anonymous said...

Hillary has bigger balls than BHO.
You KNOW it's bad when you wish Bill Clinton were back in office..........

Rivrdog said...

Rumors flying that Israel has entered the fray via their major "blackwater"-style contracting company, which is now THERE and running Gaddaffi's military AND providing the old loon personal protection.

Israel seems VERY worried that this "rebellion" had major Islamist backing, and if it succeeds, they will wind up with Islamists to their west.

Old NFO said...

This one is going down the rat hole in a BIG hurry...