No Clear Leaders, No Clear Aims – And Obama’s War Will Achieve What?

Posted on Wed 03/30/2011 by

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Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

Daniel Pipes:

With most Americans not quite realising it, their government haphazardly went to war on March 19 against Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. Hostilities were barely acknowledged, covered with euphemism (“kinetic military action, particularly on the front-end”) and without a clear goal. Two Obama administration principals were out of the country: the President in Chile and the Secretary of State in France. Members of congress, not consulted, responded angrily across the political spectrum. Some analysts discerned a precedent for militarily attacking Israel.

Perhaps Barack Obama will be lucky and Gaddafi will collapse quickly. But no one knows who the rebels are and the open-ended effort could well become protracted, costly, terroristic and politically unpopular. If so, Libya risks becoming Obama’s Iraq or worse if Islamists take over the country.

UPDATE

AP fact-checks Obama’s statements:

There may be less than meets the eye to President Barack Obama’s statements Monday night that NATO is taking over from the U.S. in Libya and that U.S. action is limited to defending people under attack there by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show.

And the rapid advance of rebels in recent days strongly suggests they are not merely benefiting from military aid in a defensive crouch, but rather using the multinational force in some fashion — coordinated or not — to advance an offensive.

This effectively means the Libyan rebels (whoever they are) fighting this civil war now has an air force supplied by the United States.

I’m not sure that this is the UN resolution authorising military action to save civilians intended, or what US taxpayers want.

The craziness of this is that neither NATO nor the US seems clear about who it is that they are actually fighting for:


Intelligence on the rebel forces battling Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has shown “flickers” of al Qaeda or Hezbollah presence but there is still no detailed picture of the emerging opposition, NATO’s top operations commander said on Tuesday.

“We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces,” Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and also commander of U.S. European Command, said during testimony at the U.S. Senate.

And rather than end civilian deaths, the UN intervention seems to be prolonging a deadly civil war that ebbs and flows:

Libyan government tanks and rockets pounded rebel forces into a panicked full retreat Tuesday after an hours long, back-and-forth battle that highlighted the superior might of Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, even hobbled by international airstrikes.

No such strikes were launched during the fighting in Bin Jawwad, where rebels attempting to march on Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte ended up turning around and fleeing east under overcast skies. Some fleeing rebels shouted, “Sarkozy, where are you?” — a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the strongest supporters of international airstrikes…

Rebel forces had been on the brink of defeat by government forces before a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone and campaign of strikes by the U.S. and its allies helped them regain lost territory. It is unclear, however, if international support exists to deepen the air campaign and attack Gadhafi’s heavy weaponry enough to help the rebels make further advances. Some countries, including Russia, contend the airstrikes already have gone beyond the U.N. mandate of protecting civilians from attacks by Gadhafi.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and is a regular commentator on Channel 9′s Today show and ABC TV’s Insiders. He will be heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of new radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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