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Milligan Hay - Iowa d:^)
Veteran Advisor

Our Libyan 'Pickup Game'

 

As we put CIA boots on the ground to find out who the rebels are and withdraw air support as they retreat, our defense secretary describes how we're making up our policy as we go along.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were on Capitol Hill Thursday in a marathon of congressional testimony trying to explain our ad hoc "kinetic" military actions in Libya and a policy that seems to change and get redefined minute by minute.

Among the issues discussed was the decision to remove American close air support just as the rebels were reeling from a government counteroffensive in the hope that NATO will pick up the slack.

"Your timing is exquisite," Republican Sen. John McCain said sarcastically, alluding to Gadhafi's military advances this past week.

Inexplicable would be a better word. Mullen and Gates stressed that even though powerful combat aircraft like the side-firing AC-130 gunship and the A-10 Thunderbolt, used for close air support of friendly ground forces, were to stop flying after Saturday, they would be on standby.

"The idea that the AC-130s and the A-10s and American air power (are) grounded unless the place goes to hell is just so unnerving that I can't express it adequately," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. We find it unnerving too, an example of the chaos resulting from the lack of presidential leadership.

This is not a coherent strategy: starting a war that is not a war and turning it over to a NATO that makes the Grand Duchy of Fenwick look like a superpower, just so it won't be an "American" war. All this in support of unnamed and unknown rebels that make FTroop look like Caesar's legions.

Gates admitted as much. "What the opposition needs as much as anything right now is some training, some command-and-control, and some organization," he told members of the House Armed Services Committee in a morning session. "It's pretty much of a pickup ballgame at this point."

This is a policy?

Reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere describe how CIA operatives have been ordered to gather intelligence on the identities and capabilities of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, even how many they are.

We know they know how to retreat when confronted with resistance after driving their pickups into undefended towns. We know they can shoot straight up in the air at nothing in particular or in the opposite direction in which they're headed.

Adm. James Stavridis, commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that reports show "flickers" of al-Qaida or Hezbollah presence inside the Libyan rebel movement. Even that may be an exaggeration, but we simply don't know. We could be supporting the next Taliban or creating a Somalia on the Mediterranean.

We should know just as we should have known what our policy was and our goals were from day one. Every recent president who initiated military action was on TV that night in the Oval Office to explain the what and why. It took President Obama nine days and after a trip to South America to explain why Gadhafi must go but that our military action was not intended to remove him.

Our entire Libyan policy seems like a pickup game based on political considerations rather than military or strategic necessity.

If Libya is vital to our national interests, as President Obama maintained last week, then go big or go home. Don't wait for permission from the Arab League and the United Nations and then try to wage war by committee.


As we put CIA boots on the ground to find out who the rebels are and withdraw air support as they retreat, our defense secretary describes how we're making up our policy as we go along.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were on Capitol Hill Thursday in a marathon of congressional testimony trying to explain our ad hoc "kinetic" military actions in Libya and a policy that seems to change and get redefined minute by minute.

Among the issues discussed was the decision to remove American close air support just as the rebels were reeling from a government counteroffensive in the hope that NATO will pick up the slack.

"Your timing is exquisite," Republican Sen. John McCain said sarcastically, alluding to Gadhafi's military advances this past week.

Inexplicable would be a better word. Mullen and Gates stressed that even though powerful combat aircraft like the side-firing AC-130 gunship and the A-10 Thunderbolt, used for close air support of friendly ground forces, were to stop flying after Saturday, they would be on standby.

"The idea that the AC-130s and the A-10s and American air power (are) grounded unless the place goes to hell is just so unnerving that I can't express it adequately," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. We find it unnerving too, an example of the chaos resulting from the lack of presidential leadership.

This is not a coherent strategy: starting a war that is not a war and turning it over to a NATO that makes the Grand Duchy of Fenwick look like a superpower, just so it won't be an "American" war. All this in support of unnamed and unknown rebels that make FTroop look like Caesar's legions.

Gates admitted as much. "What the opposition needs as much as anything right now is some training, some command-and-control, and some organization," he told members of the House Armed Services Committee in a morning session. "It's pretty much of a pickup ballgame at this point."

This is a policy?

Reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere describe how CIA operatives have been ordered to gather intelligence on the identities and capabilities of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, even how many they are.

We know they know how to retreat when confronted with resistance after driving their pickups into undefended towns. We know they can shoot straight up in the air at nothing in particular or in the opposite direction in which they're headed.

Adm. James Stavridis, commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that reports show "flickers" of al-Qaida or Hezbollah presence inside the Libyan rebel movement. Even that may be an exaggeration, but we simply don't know. We could be supporting the next Taliban or creating a Somalia on the Mediterranean.

We should know just as we should have known what our policy was and our goals were from day one. Every recent president who initiated military action was on TV that night in the Oval Office to explain the what and why. It took President Obama nine days and after a trip to South America to explain why Gadhafi must go but that our military action was not intended to remove him.

Our entire Libyan policy seems like a pickup game based on political considerations rather than military or strategic necessity.

If Libya is vital to our national interests, as President Obama maintained last week, then go big or go home. Don't wait for permission from the Arab League and the United Nations and then try to wage war by committee.

 

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/ArticlePrint.aspx?id=567899&p=1

 

1 Reply
schnurrbart
Veteran Advisor

Re: Our Libyan 'Pickup Game'

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