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Thread: And Libya goes on...

  1. #621
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    Instead of isolating, I would move now to take them off of the terror list and ensure that they have an appropriate voice in what happens next.
    Yes, I'm all for engagement, I was focusing more on isolating if they begin to pursue the jihadi route and start talking caliphate. It would be excellent if we aligned and engaged with LIFG remnants before AQ attempts to reinforce.

    We overlook the rough, dirty fighters and become enamored with some smooth expat opportunist who is less offensive to our sensibilities and throw our lot in with such, and elevate them into power as the new dictator that now owes allegiance to the US and our interests.
    Yes, I wrote about this reference Egypt and AlBaradei. It felt really Chalabi like, and I hope we don't try that in Libya.

    To exclude the LIFG is to ensure that most active segment stays in the AQ camp and continues to wage international terror on their behalf. We need to let Libyans decide what the fate of the LIFG is, and also allow them to decide who they think should lead them.
    The U.S. needs to reevaluate all its so called enemies in North Africa and the Middle East. I'm waiting to see how the Muslim Brotherhood turns out in Egypt. They are in the driver's seat for the government's future in Egypt. The U.S. has to engage with them, and the Muslim Brotherhood is too big in Egypt not to have a seat at the table.

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    Default President Obama on Operations in Libya, 28 March 2011

    President Obama on Operations in Libya, 28 March 2011

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    AQ completely missed out on these uprisings and it really hurts their credibility. That's why I think AQ has to get active in the next few months. If they can't begin meddling in these revolutions then their era is over. It's been ten years, they've missed the fall of all their so called "Apostate regimes" they have argued against. That's why I'm interested in Libya. I think there are only a handful actively aligned with AQ currently residing in Libya. But, there are another handful waiting in other AQ campaigns that I imagine will want to relocate back home.

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    Default Man, this guy is something else...

    For a ditherer he presents himself (and the American people) as a reluctant hero:

    To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.
    So far so good - even if he had to be shamed into taking this noble position. He then goes and spoils it all with this:

    It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.
    This is of course code to let the Tibetans and the Georgians (among others) know that they are on their own whatever happens (like the Hungarians in 1956).

    I'm left wondering why most Americans can't understand how the actions of successive governments are not seen "liberating" but rather than of the school yard bully. Until the US can demonstrate its ability to stand up to the big boys the world view of the US will remain the same.

    The American people deserve better... leadership that is.

    Oh yes... and now we have heard it chapter and verse from the US President himself can we assume this is the "official" US position representing an action taken in the US interests... or are we going to have a number of posts with the use of "we" as posters claim to speak on behalf of the American people?
    Last edited by JMA; 03-29-2011 at 08:01 AM.

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    I can't see how the need to balance ends with means and costs with benefits is a sign of bad leadership. Seems to me something we could use a good deal more of. Anyone with limited means - and that's everyone - needs to choose their battles wisely, and choosing battles unwisely has left American means more stretched than ever. Obviously the US is not going to square off with the Russians over Georgia or with the Chinese over Tibet, that would be idiocy of the highest order. We are neither global policeman not guarantor of the world's freedoms. We've no desire or capacity to serve those functions and the world has never asked us to serve those functions.

    The opinions of a President have consequences, those of a backseat driver do not. That means that the opinions, let alone the actions, of a President need a great deal more consideration and restraint than those of a backseat driver. If some would see that as dithering, so be it. The current US President made it quite clear throughout his campaign that he would treat military intervention as a course of last resort and would pursue it through multilateral venues unless American interests absolutely required otherwise. Like that position or not, it's what the American people voted for.

  6. #626
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I can't see how the need to balance ends with means and costs with benefits is a sign of bad leadership.
    Probably because balancing ends with means and costs has nothing to do with an arbitrarily instigated and calibrated reaction "in this particular country...in this particular moment."

    Seems to me something we could use a good deal more of. Anyone with limited means - and that's everyone - needs to choose their battles wisely, and choosing battles unwisely has left American means more stretched than ever.
    This is a particularly pernicious tautology as far as truisms go, in that the realization of risk is ultimately caused by acting unwisely.

    Obviously the US is not going to square off with the Russians over Georgia or with the Chinese over Tibet, that would be idiocy of the highest order.
    And yet the US did square off with the Russians over Afghanistan, to great material (and consequently measurable) benefit: the destruction of the Red Army as an expeditionary force for the cost of a shuttle launch per year. And yet where it concerns the same family of intangible qualitatives Obama reaches for when weighing the risks and gain of the Libya operation, America is widely perceived as rolling snake-eyes.

    We are neither global policeman not guarantor of the world's freedoms. We've no desire or capacity to serve those functions and the world has never asked us to serve those functions.
    Then don't. And don't pretend that the world will view this operation as anything less than unreliably assuming the role of a cop--and only under the most expedient, transient conditions.

    But if you do, then do not be surprised when--not if--events conspire against the "limited" universe of outcomes you aspire to realize and the world moves on from "hey, Obama saved Benghazi for one week in March" to "why is Gaddafi still in power?" or "where the hell where the Americans when Tripoli turned into rivers of blood?"
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    Default On Libya, Obama avoids George W., but becomes George H.W.

    On Libya, Obama avoids George W., but becomes George H.W.

    Entry Excerpt:

    In his speech last evening at the National Defense University, President Obama explained the humanitarian impulse and the defense of America’s values and interests that led him to intervene in Libya’s civil war. Obama gave a passionate explanation of why he acted in Libya. But he failed to convincingly explain how his Libya policy will work in the future and why it will achieve success. Obama explicitly promised that his Libya policy will not turn into President George W. Bush’s policy for Iraq. Instead, Obama’s Libya policy is mimicking almost step-for-step the other Bush policy for Iraq, that of George H.W. Bush.

    In my March 4, 2011 column at Foreign Policy, I first drew the comparison between the Obama administration’s handling of Libya and the situation in Iraq 20 years ago, just after Kuwait’s liberation from Saddam Hussein’s forces. Events in Libya since then and Obama’s speech last night have only reinforced the comparison.

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  8. #628
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    Default How To Win In Libya

    Link to article on "The Crony Attack: Strategic Attacks Silver Bullet."


    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf

  9. #629
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    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    Probably because balancing ends with means and costs has nothing to do with an arbitrarily instigated and calibrated reaction "in this particular country...in this particular moment."
    Au contraire. The political cost of allowing the sack of Benghazi was calculated to exceed the political cost of limited intervention. That of course creates the subsequent problem of how to keep the intervention limited. Insisting that the British and French initiate intervention and turning over to NATO command are steps in that direction. Whether the limitation is sufficient remains, and whether disengagement can be accomplished effectively, remain to be seen. Whether the initial calculation was accurate remains to be seen.

    SWe have the ability, with forces we are willing to commit, to prevent the rebels from being crushed, We do not have the ability, with forces we are willing to commit, to assure a rebel victory or to dictate an end state. The problem was how to accomplish the former without committing to the latter. The administration thinks they found a way. Maybe they're right. Maybe they're not. We'll see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    This is a particularly pernicious tautology as far as truisms go, in that the realization of risk is ultimately caused by acting unwisely.
    Risk can be anticipated, within reason. You don't have to step in front of an oncoming train to realize that risk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    And yet the US did square off with the Russians over Afghanistan, to great material (and consequently measurable) benefit: the destruction of the Red Army as an expeditionary force for the cost of a shuttle launch per year.
    Common sense, please. Georgia is not Afghanistan, and Russia is not the Soviet Union. We're not in a cold war with Russia and we had nothing to gain from letting the Georgian government bait us into a confrontation with the Russians to advance their own objectives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    And yet where it concerns the same family of intangible qualitatives Obama reaches for when weighing the risks and gain of the Libya operation, America is widely perceived as rolling snake-eyes.
    I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    And don't pretend that the world will view this operation as anything less than unreliably assuming the role of a cop--and only under the most expedient, transient conditions.
    So what? The last thing we want is to have anyone seeing us as a reliable (read predictable) cop: that just gives others an incentive to others to bait us into intervention on their behalf. Why should we pretend that we would want to be involved in any activity that is not in our interests (not expedient) or that would drag us into a quagmire (not transient).

    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    But if you do, then do not be surprised when--not if--events conspire against the "limited" universe of outcomes you aspire to realize and the world moves on from "hey, Obama saved Benghazi for one week in March" to "why is Gaddafi still in power?" or "where the hell where the Americans when Tripoli turned into rivers of blood?"
    here were the Americans? Hopefully not in the middle of it, trying to clean up somebody else's mess. Certainly there's a risk that we'll be stuck in the middle of it, but those who lead judged it worth the taking. I remain unconvinced, though I think if they're clever they may pull it off. My opinion, of course, means exactly nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Link to article on "The Crony Attack: Strategic Attacks Silver Bullet."


    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf
    Interesting read.

    But why go after the cronies to the exclusion of Mister Big himself?

    In the early stages of the invasion of Iraq - 2003 there was a plan to target 50 odd of Saddam's leading cronies. Cancelled because of intel that Saddam was at a certain place which was bombed instead, with no one home, one is not able to see how going for key people rather than stuff would have worked out in a larger war setting.

    I say this because I believe targeting specific people, Mister Big and his cronies, early enough has a better chance of preventing all out war starting or shortening the war than bombing stuff and infrastructure. (We can already see that the bombing of stuff in Libya is not bringing Gaddafi any closer to throwing his hands in the air.)

    It is important you show the people of that country who you see as the enemy and destroy the enemy's leadership and not inflict casualties on them or upset their quality of life by destroying the local infrastructure.

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    Default The hand of the bear...

    Interesting development. Obviously the Russia criticism of the strikes against Gaddafi forces scared the hell out of the US and the Brits and French and brought the bombing of Gaddafi forces (everywhere?) to a halt.

    Gaddafi's forces use the lull in air strikes to renew attacks against the rebels and the urban areas of Misurata and Zintan.

    What is clear now is that he people of Misurata and Zintan are not being protected by the forces involved in implementing Res: 1973. This is a significant failure.

  12. #632
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Interesting development. Obviously the Russia criticism of the strikes against Gaddafi forces scared the hell out of the US and the Brits and French and brought the bombing of Gaddafi forces (everywhere?) to a halt.
    What's that conclusion based on?

    Reports I'm seeing say 115 attack sorties were flown against ground targets yesterday, up from 107 the day before, and 22 Tomahawks were fired. When did the alleged lull start?

    It seems rebel forces withdrew after coming under fire from heavy weapons based in Sirte... the Libyan forces may have learned to place their assets in urban areas where air attack is likely to result in heavy collateral damage. That of course is predictable, you can't expect them to keep rollling convoys down highways given recent experience.

    It's obviously going to get a lot more difficult to employ air strikes effectively if the fighting is within urban areas. The limitations of the mandate obviously impose limitations on the ability to protect civilians.

    May be looking at an evolving stalemate, where air strikes can keep government forces out of the east but cannot enable rebel forces to establish control in the west, particularly in urban areas. There may or may not be a plan in place for that situation; it's a fluid situation and plans will be evolving with circumstances. We'll see.

  13. #633
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    The new urban environment is likely why AC-130s are being ordered up. Hard to think of a better platform for whack-a-mole inside a city.

  14. #634
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    The new urban environment is likely why AC-130s are being ordered up. Hard to think of a better platform for whack-a-mole inside a city.
    Wouldn't there be a real MAPADS threat to an AC130 playing that game over an enemy-held urban environment? I'd defer to expertise there, but I'd imagine it would be a concern.

    Urban whack-a-mole is not a pretty game played from any platform, and I'd expect to see a fair bit of effort going into trying to convince the inner circle to toss MG and negotiate before committing to it. No assurance of success, of course, but worth a try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Au contraire. The political cost of allowing the sack of Benghazi was calculated to exceed the political cost of limited intervention. That of course creates the subsequent problem of how to keep the intervention limited. Insisting that the British and French initiate intervention and turning over to NATO command are steps in that direction. Whether the limitation is sufficient remains, and whether disengagement can be accomplished effectively, remain to be seen. Whether the initial calculation was accurate remains to be seen.
    Let's skip the dubious redefinition of the word "calculate" for now. People generally weigh the risk of a train derailing against some other bad outcome; said train hurtling over the edge of an unfinished bridge, for example. You don't usually care about the cost of throwing the railroad switch. As it concerns the Arab revolts, and Libya's in particular, there is damned little reason to believe beyond whistling in the dark that the current course of operations will result in any tolerable outcome--Benghazi free or not. That's setting aside the none to trivial universe of outcomes where Benghazi still burns, sooner rather than later.

    We have the ability, with forces we are willing to commit, to prevent the rebels from being crushed, We do not have the ability, with forces we are willing to commit, to assure a rebel victory or to dictate an end state. problem was how to accomplish the former without committing to the latter. The administration thinks they found a way. Maybe they're right. Maybe they're not. We'll see.
    The first point is debatable, and the second observes that the Administration either doesn't fathom or doesn't care about the war's impact on American interests.

    Risk can be anticipated, within reason. You don't have to step in front of an oncoming train to realize that risk.
    And yet you've put forward a maxim reduces evaluation of risk to the choice of stepping or not stepping in front of a train. If it turns out badly, must've been one of those guys who thought he could stop a 100-ton engine with his mind.

    Common sense, please. Georgia is not Afghanistan, and Russia is not the Soviet Union. We're not in a cold war with Russia and we had nothing to gain from letting the Georgian government bait us into a confrontation with the Russians to advance their own objectives.
    You missed the point again, which is there's nothing particularly novel about your observation that countries, soldiers and girl scouts try and reserve what have to do what they can, when they can, where they can. Once you get past this huge non-sequitur, we can move on to the real debate: whether or not the intervention realizes any opportunity or staves off any disaster of any interest to Americans.

    I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.
    It means Obama can't even convince even a majority of Americans that his ill-conceived adventure achieves anything of value. Half of that 47 percent back him because they're his biggest fans. The other half back him because there is still a segment of the population that understands that there are very real first and second order costs to American defeat on the battlefield.

    So what? The last thing we want is to have anyone seeing us as a reliable (read predictable) cop: that just gives others an incentive to others to bait us into intervention on their behalf.
    Who said anything about "on their behalf?" The US has two centuries worth of experience playing the fifth wheel in foreigners' civil strife

    Why should we pretend that we would want to be involved in any activity that is not in our interests (not expedient) or that would drag us into a quagmire (not transient).
    Then what's your reason for backing the Administration's play?

    Where were the Americans? Hopefully not in the middle of it, trying to clean up somebody else's mess. Certainly there's a risk that we'll be stuck in the middle of it, but those who lead judged it worth the taking. I remain unconvinced, though I think if they're clever they may pull it off. My opinion, of course, means exactly nothing.
    For all this talk about "cleverness" and "pulling thing off," I'm still waiting to read exactly what you makes you think there's anything cute about the course of operations thus far or exactly what the Administration aims to pull off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    on one hand, U.S. finds no organized Al Qaeda presence in Libya opposition, officials say (on p.1):



    But, on the other hand (on p.2):
    How would anyone know? It took a year or two for the Coalitions to take anything approaching a full measure of the enemy's irregular strength in pre-insurgent Iraq. The Arab "republics" in generally are notoriously poor at tracking even basic crime statistics; something tells me that Libya's peculiar form of government is even worse than Egypt's. Counting irregulars, gangbangers and Trekkies is a hard problem; they don't line up like tanks, they do without a small army of meticulous book-keepers, and they lie--a lot, and especially to one another. I'd be surprised if intelligence analysts had any better means of estimation than the police or paparazzi--you extrapolate based on a small samples of the bastards congregating. Usually in detainee holds, or prisons, or convention centers.
    Last edited by Presley Cannady; 03-30-2011 at 04:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Interesting read.

    But why go after the cronies to the exclusion of Mister Big himself?
    Your right, but think of it more like a back up plan IF you can't get to Mr. Big.
    And also you want to focus on their PRIVATE property as you point out you want to avoid attacking the public, and public infrastructure. And yes you should show it on TV. Let the people no your are attacking the thugs!! not the people as a whole.

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    Default Libya: war or humanitarian intervention?

    Mary Kaldor has long argued for a better strategy to advance human security and the mismatch between conventional Western military capabilities.

    Sub-titled:
    In the end the prospects for democracy depend on whether the rebels can mobilise support politically throughout Libya. The problem with the military approach is that it entrenches division. Our preoccupation with classic military means is undermining our capacity to address growing insecurity.
    I can follow the argument, but it does jar when she writes;
    ..quite apart from the cost of such equipment, time and again our knee jerk reaction to crisis is air strikes because that is what we have the capability to do.
    As for 'safe havens' in Libya, I cannot see anyone wanting to place 'boots on the ground'.

    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/mary-ka...n-intervention
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Your right, but think of it more like a back up plan IF you can't get to Mr. Big.
    And also you want to focus on their PRIVATE property as you point out you want to avoid attacking the public, and public infrastructure. And yes you should show it on TV. Let the people no your are attacking the thugs!! not the people as a whole.
    Yes I think this is a good approach, certainly likely to have a greater effect on the regime concerned than to merely bomb troops and their stuff and the infrastructure. Make it personal and let the cost of supporting Mister Big be very high.

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    Is it me, or is there something missing from the meaning of the word covert here?

    There are three kinds of people in this world:
    Those who can count, and those who can't.

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