Sunday, March 20, 2011

Obama's War

Here we stand at the cusp of United States third concurrent war in the Middle East.  This one is different, though: this one is Obama's War.

Yes, the Weather-Vane-in-Chief has decided to authorize the use of United States air forces to help enforce a U.N.-sanctioned no fly zone to support Libyan rebels, who have been getting their asses kicked by Gaddafi forces for the last two weeks.   It sounds good, "no-fly zone", but make no mistake about it, it is a war.  How big of a war nobody knows.

It also may be ineffective.  If all this effort does is prevent Gaddafi's aircraft from flying, then it may not help the rebels that much.  Gaddafi has an overwhelming advantage in conventional heavy weapons, and an adequate logistics organization to keep his army in the field.  Any effort to help the rebels MUST target these assets, not just Gaddafi's aircraft.  That means that the U.S. and our allies will become the tactical strike arm of the Libyan rebels.

Do we want to do that?  Reports indicate that it has already begun. But destroying four tanks does not do as much good as destroying four supply trucks carrying fuel and ammunition for the tanks. We will be posing an existential threat to Gaddafi at that point, so he will resist to the best of his ability.  He will also play the "colonialism" card, bemoaning how the United States is trying to dominate North Africa, like we have dominated the Persian Gulf.  How long until al-Jazeera shows crowds of protesters burning President Obama in effigy?

If I was Gaddafi, this no-fly zone would tempt me to speed up my attacks on the rebels.  If he can destroy them quick enough, then U.N. actions won't matter.  Take Benghazi and then as fast as possible Tobruk, and the rebels will have nothing left but a big sand pile near the Egyptian border.  Reports indicate that this is just what Gaddafi is attempting.

Just wait for all the downsides to this to start appearing.  We have gotten into another war, this one with only the slightest of notions about what we want to accomplish, and very little clear ideas about who we are helping, all in the name of avoiding a humanitarian catastrophe.

I guess the Africans living in the Darfur, or in Ivory Coast just don't count to that much.

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