Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 7:26 am

I’ve been writing quite a bit about Libya for FrontPage.com lately. My latest is up this morning and I look at the NATO vote to take responsibility for the no fly zone and why that is only the first step in taking Obama off the hook for this misadventure.

A sample:

France wishes to aggressively attack Gaddafi and also backs regime change, while Turkey and the Arab League are reluctant to use coalition air power to help the rebels, and are currently opposed to removing Gaddafi. France was against the idea of NATO taking control, while Italy, Turkey, and the Arab League wouldn’t continue to support the action unless it did. Germany, who pulled naval assets out of the Mediterranean because of the offensive air campaign against Gaddafi’s forces, would also look in askance at any expansion of NATO’s role beyond enforcing the no-fly zone and arms embargo. And UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated flatly that “the primary aim [of coalition efforts] is to provide protection for civilians, to save lives. It’s not aiming to change any regime.”

The nightmare of a fractured body working at cross purposes with itself in making military command decisions is a reality that needs to be avoided. It would almost certainly lead to unnecessary casualties, as well as an ineffective prosecution of the war. In fact, it is hard to envision how such an alliance could survive the almost guaranteed misunderstandings that will arise. The differences appear too vast to simply be papered over. Either NATO will protect civilians by killing Gaddafi’s forces or they won’t. Unless there is movement from Turkey and Germany on this issue, it is difficult to imagine how any further agreement on NATO control of the military aspect of the campaign can be reached — even if some kind of “grand coalition council” can be cobbled together in the first place to decide such matters.

There also seems to be some confusion in the Obama administration over just where we are in handing control over to NATO. Secretary Clinton seems to believe, or at least she is saying publicly, that only a few details need to be worked out before America can step back from overall command of the mission. She also said that we are already cutting back on our participation in the operation, and that in the future, once the handover is complete, American participation will be limited to a “support role.”

But the military is contradicting that roseate scenario. Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, director of the joint staff, said that even after the handover to NATO is accomplished, it is likely that American air power will still be utilized by the coalition. He said that we will still fly combat missions when requested, and no-fly zone patrols, as well as conduct operations such as intelligence gathering, refueling, and other logistical support missions.

There is absolutely no guarantee - indeed, it is doubtful at this point - whether NATO will ever vote to take full command of combat operations in Libya. That means that this will probably end up being Obama’s war anyway - with all the attendant misfortune that will come when this thing refuses to end the way that anyone can rightfully say will be anything but a disaster.

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