Libya: the art of war, Smart Power-style

Posted by: Phineas on April 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

If anything illustrates the half-baked manner in which the administration took us into war kinetic military action in Libya, it’s this quote from Politico’s Roger Simon:

We are currently doing everything we can to bomb, strafe and use missiles to carry the rebels into power in Libya. We want them to win. We just don’t know who they are.

This is not merely my opinion. It is the statement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, our point person in meeting with the rebels.

Emphases added.

But, don’t worry; we’ve finally –weeks after the Libyan revolt began and days after we went to war on the rebels’ behalf– told the CIA “Hey, maybe it’s a good idea we find out who these guys are!

The Obama administration has sent teams of CIA operatives into Libya in a rush to gather intelligence on the identities and capabilities of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, according to U.S. officials.

The information has become more crucial as the administration and its coalition partners move closer to providing direct military aid or guidance to the disorganized and beleaguered rebel army.

Although the administration has pledged that no U.S. ground troops will be deployed to Libya, officials said Wednesday that President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, insisted that no decision has been made.

Because, Lord knows, there’s no way you need this information before taking sides in a civil war, deciding to drop (so far!) a billion dollars of ordnance on a country, and putting our pilots at risk. I wonder how our flyboys like knowing they weren’t worth the effort of a little advance work?

Maybe I’m overreacting. We do know some things about our new Libyan BFFs. For example, apparently some of them are al Qaeda. That shouldn’t be surprising since eastern Libya provides, per our Secretary of State, a large number of al Qaeda’s recruits. But, are they are a serious threat, or a minor nuisance? We just don’t know, since we’ve only started looking into it.

In other words, does this mean we’re fighting for al Qaeda in Libya and fighting against them around the rest of the world? Now that’s flexible, smart power!

Oh, one other thing Secretary “I know nothing! Nothing!” Clinton and her boss, the Smartest President with the Best Judgment Ever, might liked to have known or at least had a good estimate of before starting this little adventure: there are only around 1,000 of these rebels. No wonder they can’t hold any territory unless we bomb the tar out of Qaddafi’s army — this isn’t a revolution: it’s a tribal uprising!

If there’s any bitter satisfaction to be taken from this, it’s that the Democrats and the Left (but I repeat myself) are stumbling and rushing blindly into war in just the way they falsely accused George W. Bush of doing in Iraq.

It’s not that they were wrong so much as they were predicting their own future.

RELATED: If Secretary Clinton would like to know more about these people for whom we’ve gone to war, she couldn’t do much better than starting with Michael Totten: Who are the Libyan Rebels? If, as Totten’s colleague suggests, the majority of rebels are “…mainly young, educated, middle class, urban people with a powerful wish for democracy…”, then maybe we should be taking steps to make sure they come out on top in a post-Qaddafi government, rather than the aggressive, experienced al Qaeda cadres. I’d like to think that’s what we’re doing, but with this bunch in charge… .

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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5 Responses to “Libya: the art of war, Smart Power-style”


  1. Old Goat says:

    I have not liked this “kinetic military action” from the very start.

    It still isn’t stated what the goal of this is, other than providing a means of Obama to claim that he can be tough. Even though he hasn’t a clue about who it is they are even “trying” to help.

    Libya and Gaddafi are no friends to the US. That isn’t going to change under new leadership. Despite trying to over throw Gaddafi militarily, even if these “rebels” are just looking for democracy, there is going to be a power vacuum there, which means we will probably see some other strong armed madman take over.

    The numbers of the rebel forces is supposed to be about 1000. Something tells me that a population of 6,420,000, which is the estimated population for 2010 in Libya, and they can only muster about 1000 rebels looking for democracy, then the country itself really isn’t interested.

    Heck, Wisconsin would have had more armed thugs than that.

    The other thing that keeps bugging me about the rebels is where did they get those fancy weapons that they are using? Its not like you can go to a store and buy recreational grenade launchers or stinger missiles, or automatic weapons as they are toting around. Did the US give them out? When? Did al Qaeda give them to the rebels?

    While I will grant that even in the US of A, when we were fighting to throw off the British rule, there were plenty who didn’t fight and plenty who sided with GB. Somehow I think we were able to muster more than 1000 fighters… especially since there were 8000 who died fighting it. We had about a quarter of a million who served either in regular troops or militia.

    The other thing that bugs me about this, and while I am not for any country killing its own people, I am left wondering how much of the killings of the rebellion were escalated by taking the actions that were taken?

    Seems to me that if Gaddafi killed a number of them, their group would have folded up and given up. They only moved forward when the US NATO forces were bombing the crap out of Libyan troops. Once that slowed/stopped (so we are told because of weather and visibility) these rebel forces have been pushed right back to where they started.

    I am of the mind that the world would possibly be a better place without Gaddafi in it. I also think that the interests of the US might be better off with the negative power that we know than some vague unknown group that will take over power there.

  2. Carlos says:

    Our grand and glorious leader has sent the CIA into Libya just to make sure the rebels have the same goals he does: destroy Israel and make the United States into a third-class nation.

    Seems to fit everything I’ve heard about the rebels so far…

  3. Carlos has it right.

    If the rebels win, they’ll set up a jihadist government dominated by Muslim Brotherhood types. They’ll ally themselves with a jihadist government in Egypt dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and together they’ll make war on Israel.

    If G’Daffy wins he’ll seek revenge on the U.S. and Europe by unleashing a new wave of terrorism.

    The chances of a good outcome here are slim….

  4. Glenn Bergen says:

    I love the leadership logic; READY,FIRE,AIM, or something like that.

  5. captaingrumpy says:

    Do you think Obama CARES ????????