President Barack Obama has approved the use of armed drones in Libya, authorizing U.S. airstrikes on ground forces for the first time since America turned over control of the operation to NATO on April 4.
It also is the first time that drones will be used for airstrikes since the conflict began on March 19, although they have routinely been flying surveillance missions, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing Thursday.
Do we get to call Obama out on the lies about this Libyan war yet? Wasn’t NATO taking over the Libyan operation? Is our national media even paying attention?
I hope Colonel Gaddafi doesn’t read the New York Times:
As the struggle with Colonel Qaddafi threatened to settle into a stalemate, the rebel government here was showing growing strains that imperil its struggle to complete a revolution and jeopardize requests for foreign military aid and recognition.
In an appearance Sunday on “State of the Union” on CNN, Gen. James L. Jones, President Obama’s former national security adviser, said that the United States “is buying space for the opposition to get organized.”
But a White House official said last week that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was extremely reluctant to send arms to the rebels “because of the unknowns” about who they are, their backgrounds and motivations.
“It’s a moment in time where there is no real clarity,” said General Jones, who is now a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “But the things being worked on are being worked on to get that clarity.”
The war that was supposed to last “days” is now heading into its third week and, despite early gains by the rebels, the war is not going according to plan. Again we are obligated to ask of the Obama administration and his war machine, what now?
CBS News is reporting that despite advances made by the rebels, with the help of coalition air-strikes, the rebels are being pushed back:
Libya’s rebel forces continued to struggle against Muammar Qaddafi’s superior firepower on the ground, as the United States and other allies consider whether to supply them with weapons.
The rebels have given up nearly all the ground they have gained after allied airstrikes took out some of Qaddafi’s heavy weapons. Now government forces are changing tactics, leaving behind the armed military vehicles and moving in armed pickup trucks like the opposition does, reports CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark. That makes it difficult for coalition forces overhead to distinguish who’s who on the ground.
Faced with a series of setbacks after recent gains, the rebels now are starting to show their combat fatigue, reports Clark Outgunned and often outflanked in the field, they lack any sort of military strategy or leadership. They are eager to take ground, but are quick to flee when they face any real fighting. The reality is that a rebel military victory seems increasingly unlikely.
That’s just fracking great. It seems the question that lingers in debating Obama’s
War in Libya kinetic military action is what now?
So much for the “humanitarian” kinetic whatchamacallit:
The Obama administration has sent teams of CIA operatives into Libya in a rush to gather intelligence on the identities and capabilities of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, according to U.S. officials.
The information has become more crucial as the administration and its coalition partners move closer to providing direct military aid or guidance to the disorganized and beleaguered rebel army.
Although the administration has pledged that no U.S. ground troops will be deployed to Libya, officials said Wednesday that President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.
In President Obama’s “we are not at war although we are bombing Libya” speech on Monday night, he assured us that our involvement would be extremely limited and short-lived. With boots on the ground in Libya, I guess that makes Obama somewhat of a liar.
This should come as no surprise to anybody:
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25″ men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.
Was President Obama aware of any of this before he started a war with Libya?
Fox News reports:
With the situation escalating in Libya, President Obama scrapped Wednesday’s his public schedule. He was expected to visit the San Andres Mayan Ruins and meet with US Embassy staff. But instead, he will now spend the entire day at the American Embassy, where he is expected to participate in at least one conference call on Libya before returning to Washington a few hours ahead of schedule.
Those internal polling numbers must have been awful, because that’s what this cancellation was all about. Plain and simple.
[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]
The President last Friday, before the bombs started falling:
“Muammar Qaddafi has a choice,” Obama said. “The resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. That means all attacks against civilians must stop. Qaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Adjadbiya, Misrata and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.”
That’s pretty emphatic.
As of a few hours ago, the Washington Post ran a piece with this inevitable headline:
Allied strikes pummel Libya’s air force but do little to stop attacks on civilians
From said story:
The Libyan military’s attacks and the mounting civilian deaths call into question whether the internationally imposed no-fly zone can achieve its goal of protecting civilians, let alone help loosen Gaddafi’s grip on power. It seemed unlikely that the coalition, which has argued in recent days over the scope and leadership of the allied mission, would countenance a significant escalation.
President Obama was clear in what the
original mission was for his Libyan adventure–the protection of civilians and a cease-fire. Now we read that the stated goal is not being achieved with the no-fly zone these targeted air strikes.
So now what? Marines wading onto the shores of Tripoli? Really? I’m hoping that this is over and done with as soon as possible, because the longer this goes on, the more the likelihood that the Obama plan is not working and then things will really start to get ugly.
Prime Minister David Cameron has made his case before Britain’s House of Commons, which voted overwhelmingly in support of the Libyan War, with a final tally of 557-13.
A bit late, as military action had begun three days before, but we can allot some points to the Brits on that note. At least they’re putting together some semblance of how checks and balances in government should work in a time of war.
President Barack Obama, on the other hand, was in South America working on his bicycle kick:
The contrast in leadership styles is stunning, wouldn’t you say?
This is the hand he’s been dealt by hisotry. He’s a reluctant warrior. So it’s not as if he’s converted to being a cowboy. So I think people recognize the difference between him and former Pres. Bush.
Therein lies the media meme for Obama’s Libyan War–despite the implied virtuosity of a liberal President, who is seemingly above the fray and the ickiness of constitutional channels for declaring war, reluctantly commits US personnel and treasure to yet another Muslim country, and commences bombing the hell out of them.
But it’s all good because he’s not George Bush.
The UN resolution on Libya appears to generate more questions than answers:
“The goal is to protect civilians first of all, and not to invade or occupy,” [WIlliam Hague, UK Foreign Secretary] said. “The resolution is clear on that point … we don’t want any side to go too far, including Libya, by attacking the civilian population.”
It’s plain that whichever way the stated aims of the intervention are defined, achieving them will be highly problematic. The least of them – a genuine ceasefire – would effectively freeze the current confrontation in place, with rival camps entrenched in the east and west. The conflict could degenerate into a prolonged stalemate, as in the Korean peninsula or Georgia. Meaningful negotiation would be impossible while Gaddafi remained in power.
Interventionists cannot achieve Gaddafi’s removal, another key aim, by force of arms, bar a ground invasion or a lucky shot. (The same goes for democratic governance.) The west is relying instead on more mass defections, an army mutiny or a palace coup – what analyst Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute has called “regime breakdown”.
The countries who supported the resolution already look uneasy and squeamish about military action to begin with (with the exception of the French, who suddenly have taken the mantle of world’s cowboy from the United States for the time being). They waited until the last possible moment, when Gaddafi had come roaring back against the rebels, and appeared on the verge of retaking Benghazi. All while the rebels had been begging for assistance from the West. This is standard fare coming from the United Nations.
But what’s the endgame? The military action would have to pound Gaddafi’s defenses to the point where they will no longer be a threat, but that would risk casualties, as the world watches.
And a cease-fire would mean what exactly? The resolution-supporting nations have condemned Gaddafi for the violence against the rebels and civilians. Does a cease-fire absolve him of all that?