Libya: the art of war, Smart Power-style

**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 donโ€™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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