Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Coalition of One

The President has said that our involvement in Libya will be limited in time and scope.  He has promised that we will not take the lead in this fight leaving the heavy lifting to our coalition partners.  He has also said Gadhafi must go.  Given recent events in the Libyan theater his pronouncements may be wishful thinking.
In the past five days the United States has fired 167 Tomahawk Cruise missiles at a cost of $1.1 million each.  Britain has fired 12 and claims to be in danger of running out. 
During the pre-assault negotiations France demanded to be the first to attack Libyan targets.  Their demands designed to bolster French President Sarkozy’s war footing in the eyes of his countrymen.  The French fired the first shot, though prematurely, and have done little since. 
The Arab League gave their much needed approval for action against Gadhafi.  Once the fighting began they backed off.  Then they climbed back on board.  The Arab League has yet to fire one shot in this conflict.  Only Qatar has promised to provide military equipment and those armaments will not arrive until this weekend.
Secretary of Defense Gates said that going into Libya is a bad idea.  Secretary of State Clinton argued that we needed to go in for humanitarian purposes. The President has stated that Gadhafi must go. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen said that a scenario does exit where Gadhafi would remain in power.
And what if we are successful in removing Gadhafi?  The rebels that we claim to be assisting are entrenched in Benghazi.  Benghazi has long been a stronghold for the development of terrorists who have attacked US interests throughout the world.  If these rebels are successful in overthrowing the Gadhafi regime there is no certainty that the newly formed government will be friendly to the US.  
This is a muddled US military operation clear and simple.  Our coalition partners are either unwilling or incapable of maintaining an ongoing military campaign necessary to achieve the objective.  Our civilian and military leaders strongly disagree on what that objective is.  The rebels that we are clearing a path for seem incapable of walking down that path.  And if they prove victorious there are serious questions as to whether or not their new government will be friendly toward the US.
When will we learn that the world is more than willing to sit back and let the US spend its blood and treasure for political purposes?  And when will we learn that interfering in the politics of a Muslim country is always complicated and always has unknown and unintended consequences?          

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