Posts Tagged ‘libya war’

Libya: Is it the right thing to do?

Posted: March 24, 2011 by datechguy in opinion/news, war
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At Patterico a relevant question has been asked concerning Libya that is not being asked enough concerning president Obama’s decision to go to war in Libya.

But before we hammer the President too hard, ask yourself a simple question. Is he right, right now? Forget what he said when he represented one of the most liberal jurisdictions in America, but is he right, right now?

The answer: It depends on how you look at it.

If you look at is in terms of preventing a slaughter, then yes. Our actions prevented an immediate slaughter and are thus worthwhile in the short term. The trick will be to keep it from becoming a bigger slaughter in the long term.

If you look at it in terms of dealing with troublemakers then perhaps. As a general rule if you have a chance to get rid of an enemy (Gaddafi) one should take the opportunity, however the time to have acted was when the rebels were outside of Tripoli not when Gaddafi was outside of Benghazi.

If you look at it in terms of national interest then frankly the answer is No. The rebels who are fighting him seem to also be fighting us elsewhere. If we give over Libya to a different set of enemies they can use that state to sponsor war against us. This is a very bad idea. Additionally historically we have gotten little payback when we have stuck our necks out for Arab countries in general.

All of this is pretty moot now that we are in, WE ARE IN. The real question is what will be the result of our actions. Here are the three possible results

#1. Gaddafi wins: I think this is the least likely outcome. As long as there is some kind of no-fly zone it becomes a ground fight, Benghazi can still fall but if his armor heads toward Tobruk it is very vulnerable from the air. If the west is willing to take out his tanks and armor then Gaddafi can’t finish the job. Of course if the west gets cold feet this goes from the least likely outcome to the most likely outcome, but I think that England and France have too much invested for them to let this happen.

#2 The Rebels win: This has a better chance of happening because you can’t be sure how loyal the forces supporting Gaddafi are. As long as the money holds out the hired guns from the south will stay loyal, but the loss of air superiority makes a huge difference. Of course it’s also a question of taking back cities held by the government which I think is not possible unless Gaddafi and his sons are dead. The question becoming if the rebels win, will they be grateful or will they use the new Libya as an Islamic state to support our foes internationally?

#3 The partition/administration of Libya. Almost certainly the final result. The west without US leadership doesn’t have the staying power or the willingness to actually win the war or commit the ground troops necessary to do so. Sans such will the end result will be a deal to save face for the west that allows Gaddafi’s family in charge of the east where his tribe lives and the rebels in charge of the west. That allows Gaddafi to claim a victory over the west while the west claims success in its mission even as the east is purged of supporters of the rebellion.

And of course this result is the worst of all possible results for the US. We will have a Gaddafi family looking for revenge by proxy in the east while in the west the rebels, who never liked us in the first place, will blame us for the failure to take the country and the purge of their supporters in the east. Since they were already supporting wars against us they will now have a nation to do so with, and it will be a nation “supported’ by the UN.

This is a mess full of bad choices and results. We can only hope it is done wisely.

Warner Todd Huston not only has a cooler Fedora than me, he noticed something that everyone else has apparently missed:

About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will take part in support operations based aboard USS Kearsarge at sea. Those support operations have thus far included air strikes and one rescue operation. The overall mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people.

“In Libya right now they are doing exactly what we need them to do. They are doing what they are told and right now that’s protecting Libyan people against Qadhafi forces,” said Captain Timothy Patrick, a Marine with the 26th MEU.

I don’t pretend to be a military expect but what non-combat role will 2200 marines be doing aboard the Kearsarge at sea that couldn’t be done by the sailors on the ship. It’s not like the Kearsarge is going to be boarding the CSS Alabama anytime soon.

Warner comments:

One suspects that US ground forces will have to become engaged if anything solid is to happen in NATO’s engagement in Libya. And it seems like Obama is warming us up for that yet.

and as Dan Riehl points out, the Kearsarge is an amphibious assault ship, if they aren’t going to be boots on the ground in Libya, just what are they going to be assaulting? According to Gates they are for “options and contingencies,”.

Apparently president Obama’s definition of “boots on the ground” is similar to a few of my friends who insist that this is “not a war”.

It will be very interesting to see what happens once this gets into the MSM.

They have been hitting the fighting in Libya with all the furor that they have used in hitting Afghanistan.

Barnicle correctly points out that if Gaddafi is not removed or killed this mission will be a failure.

Drew Walker on Twitter makes a great point for those saying Gaddafi is not a target:

How in the world do you bomb Qaddafi’s compound but say he wasn’t the target? Is stupid suddenly a new language?

It’s simple, we aren’t targeting Qaddafi, we are targeting Kaddafy totally different.