« #Some Thoughts on Libyan Intervention | Main | #New Brenner piece on TA »

20 March 2011

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dh

Seems the Arab League may be having second thoughts already too.

seydlitz89

Colonel Lang-

Very well said sir! Agree totally. This is clearly an instance where we should intervene, unlike Bush's radical policy of overthrowing the government of Iraq and then taking on the full responsibility via his cronies for what followed, contrary to the will of the native people . . .

Here are we better off playing the supporting role do you think, since the French seem to be handling it adequately?

Patrick Lang

seydlitz89

We are uniquely equipped to provide infrastructure for the campaign. This does not mean that we should not be respectful and appreciative for the skill and courage of our allies. French air attacks SW of Benghazi early today stopped Qathafi's forces and sent them fleeing westward. Falcons of France indeed! pl

Patrick Lang

dh

"as unstable as water." pl

Jon T

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article1550803.ece

Russian thoughts above that intervention in Libya could lead to wider war make your operative word "quickly", Colonel, imperative.

" IMO, the coalition air and naval forces will cripple Qathafi forces quickly. A handful of covert trainers, equipers and coordinators should be inserted into the country to shape, not a conventional army, but rather an irregular, guerrilla force that can shoot, move and communicate in a motley collection of vehicles for an advance to the west and east upon Tripoli behind a moving curtain of aerial firepower. The covert coalition personnel will be vital as well for preventing air strikes on friendly forces."

As a civilian, that sounds like a good plan to me. Can anyone in the Joint Command structure of the operation in Libya hear that plan and take it to heart?

Yes, let the Libyan people sort it out politically after MQ is deposed.

dh

It needs some big cigar chomping A-team types to inject some backbone.

Fred

Hopefully some of the leaders in Benghazi have been talking to their counterparts in Tripoli to change sides. As to the mercenaries, I wonder what the bonus is for being KIA? Good luck having your relatives collect, either from the Libyan government or the contractors that hired you.

BTW which countries do mercenary recruitment companies pay taxes in? I'd love to see the new Libyan government sue them for damages. Surely the lawyers can think of something to tie them up in knots for a few years.

DanM

Just returned to benghazi after an insurance-company enforced sojourn further east. Never have i been kissed and hugged so much by unshaven men. The rebels clearly do not have the organization/ability yet to push west through the 300 miles of desert before sirte, and then fight to tripoli. More and more of them realize this.

Peter

It’s going to be interesting to see how much true support the Italians throw into the pot. Out of all the junk deployments that the Citizens of United States have been forced to pay for in the last 11 years (interest to foreign lenders), this deployment may only cost less that 1% of the annual defense budget. The spent missiles were in all probability getting close to expiration and due for refirb or replacement.

This is the time to see how all the moving military parts work, even the “Imagery Thingy”

From my perspective this is the type of modern deployment we can shine at. Very limited boots on the ground, intel both self generating and native feeds, covert ops training, coordinate and asses hardware deliveries. Egypt may be/is able to deliver plenty from their stocks, hopefully its not rusty junk and expired ammo ( we should get good stuff delivered for the price the U.S. will be paying)

From the policy end of things, I hold little hope of U.S. foreign policy being able to understand and implement the type of assistance Libya will need to get independent and integrated for the benefit of the Libyans.

seydlitz89

Colonel Lang-

Agree, sir. Btw, I meant no slight towards the French who are very competent, but rather was referring to the vicissitudes of war, of which I know (thankfully) only in terms of strategic theory.

The Twisted Genius

Amen to all that. A report from Al Jazeera said the rebels in Benghazi are already preparing to march west (south) to liberate Ajdabia, Brega and beyond. No whining and ringing of hands among this crowd.

My wife would kill me for even thinking it, but there's part of me that really wants to be among the rebels today. They will liberate their country.

Clifford Kiracofe

Didn't see the talking heads and other poseurs and whiners. I was out in the mountains on my Ducati today.

The coalition operating under the UN resolution will do as it has been asked to do: protect the Libyan people from the Q. regime. Whatever it takes. Logically, this means the end of the Q regime after its military assets are duly destroyed.

No occupation is needed. The Libyans can sort things out themselves and this is what is expected of them. They are a rich country and the people know it.

The UN resolution does not authorize occupation. Certain limited ground ops would fall under the "all necessary means" phrase.

Perhaps the Jordanians or Egyptians or? could also contribute some special forces advisers etc.

The Arab League has served its purpose. Now it is up to individual Arab countries to assist the coalition.

We see the UAE, Qatar, Jordan and other Arab states are involved. Not all the Arab participants have yet made public their contribution and roles.

As for the black African mercs...napalm.

William R. Cumming

So is the real diffference here from Iraq and Afghanistan, a large country geographically with a small population and also on the Mediterranean Sea?

Peter

Clifford Kiracofe:

Lucky dog you getting to ride today! It’s pouring out in California right now, and I’m chomping at the bit to get the beemer out into the hills where everything is green and new this spring. I’m not a Seattleite, those people deal with rain like we in California deal with sunshine, they get out and do everything in the rain. I melt in the rain.

robt willmann

I hate to be the skunk at the party, but as I flip through the pages of my copy of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S.A. has launched a war against a country called Libya without a declaration of war by Congress.

We must always remember that since law deals only with words and is mostly vocabulary, anything is possible. That is why, for example, if you want to commit big financial crime, you just try to make it "legal", but that's another story.

The authors of the constitution were at least clear about what the governmental organization they were creating would be up to; they used the word "power". This is unlike the European Union treaties which try to mask what they are up to and use the word "competence", instead of "power" or "authority".

Article 2 of the constitution talks about President Obama, and says that: "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." Section 2 of Article 2 is the important one. The president is the "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy"; has the Power "to grant reprieves and pardons", "to make treaties", and "to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate"; to appoint various officials; and to do a few other things that are not relevant here. (The president's veto power is in Article 1, section 7). Article 2, section 3 pointedly says that "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed".

As was said at the close of some great old animated cartoons, "That's all, folks!"

Article 1, section 8 gives us the laundry list of the legislature's enumerated powers, and without equivocation says that: "Congress shall have Power ... to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water...."

To my knowledge, it does not include the added words: "... unless the United Nations Security Council by affirmative vote authorizes the use of force under its chapter 7, or the president thinks it is the moral thing to do, either instance of which supersedes the Power of Congress to declare war."

Movie screenplays are usually rewritten numerous times, and perhaps the constitution has been also, because my copy is apparently out of date. We should check with the Writers Guild of America to find out who gets screen credit for that rewrite of Articles 1 and 2 on the "Power" to declare war.

This is nothing new. When Bill Clinton was president, an undeclared war was launched against Serbia. The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243) unconstitutionally tried to give the president the power to decide if war would happen.

Now to the vocabulary. Do the acts by the U.S. fit into the meaning of the word "war"? Are multiple Tomahawk missile strikes into Libya acts of war? Are attacks by air into Libya by at least 19 U.S. stealth bombers and fighter jets acts of war? If those acts were done by foreign countries over the boundaries of and into the U.S., would talk radio entertainers, other media, Congress, and we say they are acts of war?

A CNN website story says that "Obama authorized military force on what happened to be the eighth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq."

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/20/libya.civil.war/index.html#

In the 2010 elections, presently, and in 2012, we have heard and will hear jaws flapping endlessly about how we should follow the constitution, and blah, blah, blah. People in radio especially are making a lot of money playing to their audience about this and writing books about it.

The point is not whether Qathafi (or Qaddafi, Qadhdhafi, or Gadhafi!) is "good" or "bad". Congress can declare war on Libya, the military can quickly knock him off his pedestal, and the U.S. can live with the consequences.

The problem is the increasingly dominant attitude in the federal government that it is going to do what it wants to and can get away with, regardless of written law or social and cultural norms.

It is naive and foolish to think that this attitude is confined to acts outside the borders of the U.S., as its effects have accelerated over the last 10 years domestically, including illegal domestic wiretapping and surveillance, creating a "no fly list" by illegally claiming the authority to decide who can and cannot travel on a private air carrier, actively seeking to have torture become culturally acceptable and incrementally to legalize it, working to co-opt and neutralize State and local law enforcment, and so forth.

The people in Libya need to be liberated?

Let us not forget ourselves.

The beaver

@ C Kiracofe

Only Qatar made the promise at the emergency meeting in Paris to participate in military operations.
Jordan bailed out last night as per an on-line newspaper I saw (but locate now).
Me, I would like to see those desert "blue blood" boys sweat in their cockpit. Sorry to be cynical because, so far, we have heard only about rhetorical support from that region but no action. And yet they are killing unarmed civilians in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.
May be if it ends up like 1991, they will just pay the bill :(

graywolf

Now (Sunday afternoon), the Arab League objects to how the NFZ is being operated.
More childish stupidity from the Arabs.
Israelis may be obnoxious and untrustworthy, but at least they're adults.
If the Arabs hadn't had the good luck of being born on top of a vast oil reserve, they'd still be looking for caves to live in.
"Culture" of losers.
Who knows who these rebels in Libya are?
Are they worth the risking ofAmerican lives or just another bunch of moron looney tunes jihadis?

JohnH

"The Libyans can sort their political affairs out by themselves." Agreed. Nonetheless, I am quite sure that the international community cannot resist the temptation to tell the Libyans how they should sort out their affairs.

It sounds like another muddled project of nation building is soon to commence. And the results of Western nation building are evident for all to see in Iraq and Afghanistan.

eakens

Most of the LNG terminals, Oil terminals, and refineries are all located in the area of Ras Lanuf and Benghazi. Most of the larger oil fields are also located in the east.

Libya will be split through referendum much like Sudan.

Clifford Kiracofe

Peter,

Always wanted to take my old K75RT from VA to California hill country and up into the Sierras and Cascades. Some day when in retirement. Meanwhile, West Va and Blue Ridge Parkway, TN, KY, and No. GA. with the '97 Ducati 900SS (yellow).

Yes, so far our participation provides a nice exercise of various forces, testing of systems, and the like.

The main thing is we are there to shape the battle space and then hand off to others in the coalition.

Fundamentally, this is a Euro-Med regional issue; we can help but it is their show.

We don't need to get into nation building. The Libyans, all 6 million of them, are rich as a country and they have an educated elite there and abroad who can figure out what to do. It is their business. If they need some UN help for elections they can ask.

Amr Moussa is playing political games as he sets up his candidacy for Egyptian president. As an Arab diplomat I had tea with last week in DC said, "He is an old Mubarak appartchik, a snake." I am concerned about the present shadowy counterrevolution there combining the former Mubarak regime types/old guard in collusion/alliance with the MB. Some of us will not forget Moussa's present posturing and unnacceptable undermining of the coalition duly operating under the UN.

Meanwhile, I hope the coalition vaporizes Bab al Azizia.

Medicine Man

Well said. I'm glad that the fetters are being taken off the US military and that people who are willing/capable of intervening are being sent to the fray. I hope it is indeed not too late.

There is no point in adding this, but I need to vent. On a fairly regular basis I prowl magazines like the Atlantic. The speed at which the likes of Andrew Sullivan settled on kneejerk anti-intervention, with nary a backwards glance. "If we're going to go into Libya, why not Somalia?", he asks. "Why not Burma?" Good Lord. Even a neophyte can see the geographic difference between Burma and Libya, the latter being so close to Europe and a supplier of fuels to the West. I was going to write in to argue with him, but decided that it was likely futile. The whole reaction to this crisis in North Africa makes me want to chew the furniture.

Paul Hartvigson, Denmark

"Let the Libyans sort it out". I don't think the Europeans are going to let the Libyans sort things out quite on their own. There's both the fear of uncontrolled immigration. And the political price of having opened a can of civil war worms.
Likely it will not be an American problem.

Clifford Kiracofe

McCain is back to his usual raving I see.

From the field of battle:

"Wreckage was strewn in similar scenes along nearly 15 miles of road beyond Benghazi, the result of air strikes on targets across the country that turned the struggle between Gaddafi and Libya's revolutionaries on its head in a moment.....

"Another seven miles farther on lay a larger tank graveyard, at al-Wafia, and beyond that many more miles of destruction on the road toward Ajdabiya. Eight tanks, brought up to Benghazi to continue the terrifying assault on the city that began on Saturday, were destroyed altogether. More than a dozen other armoured vehicles of various kinds were wrecked, their remnants scattered on the scorched tarmac.

A couple of multiple rocket launchers sat at the road side. One appeared to have no damage at all. Perhaps it broke down, or maybe its driver decided to get away from it fast – part of the intended effect of the air strikes to break the will of Gaddafi's army to fight.

Scattered among the ruined armour were thousands of bullets and empty tank shell boxes.

Young rebels, known as shabab, danced on the armoured carcasses.....

"Salwa el-Deghali, of the national transitional council, said: "I'm happy the air strikes have started, but at the same time I'm worried that the international community will not keep up the attacks long enough to remove Gaddafi. There must be more attacks on Gaddafi's forces, and fast. We need these attacks until he is crushed."

Asked if she thought the goal of the air attacks was regime change, she replied: "Yes, it's to push him from power".

Deghali said that the revolutionary leadership is counting on the air assault to destroy Gaddafi's army, either by killing its soldiers or encouraging them to desert. She said that when the threat of violent repression is removed, the council plans to call on Libyans to rise up in cities across the country.

"When Gaddafi's forces are destroyed, he will have no power. It will be easy to press forward," she said.

Essam Gheriani, a spokesman for the national council, said that with the air strikes destabilising Gaddafi, the revolutionaries would organise fresh popular uprisings in cities still under the Libyan leader's control, in the belief that it will be difficult for him to find the forces to put them down."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/20/libya-air-strikes-rain-down

William R. Cumming

Robt Willman I pretty much agree with your post. If you want the most recent CRS study of the War Powers Resolution and history plse contact me at vlg338@yahoo.com. Any one else also welcome. I did send a copy to PL. Much of the history of non-declaration of WAR started with President Truman and the Korean "Police Action"!
I suspect that the issues facing the President in the near future may well include such as "letting US finish the job" by certain members of the National Security apparatus.
And in response to some commenter on some post on SST it would be of great interest to know what block of cruise missiles were used? I think we now have learned perhaps in excess of the 114 I mentioned earlier. Payload unknown of course.

Jackie

Peter: Believe me, you won't melt in the rain. As my father explained to me years ago, only sh*t and sugar melt in the rain and since you are neither, you can go out in the rain. I was only going on foot although a motorcycle is a little dicey in the rain.

Sorry to be o.t., but for some reason I can't get worked up about Libya.

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