Facing reality: The war in Libya
Military history tells us air power alone cannot drive Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, from power. The rebel forces in eastern Libya lack the tanks, artillery, and logistics infrastructure to defeat Gadhafi’s well-equipped ground forces.
No doubt, the U.S. and the British have Special Forces teams in eastern Libya trying to organize the rebels into a fighting force; however, that will not compensate for the lack of tanks and artillery pieces. So, even if the no-fly-zone is effective, the rebels, some of whom may be al-Qaeda, do not stand a chance of toppling Gadhafi from power.
A possible alternative outcome would be a “lucky” missile or bomb that hits Gadhafi. But politicians shy away from directed assassinations lest they themselves get blown away. This soldier has always wondered why military men and women can be killed but politicians are “King’s X.”
The only certain way to remove Gadhafi from power is for the U.S., under the fig leaf of NATO, to land soldiers and Marines equipped with tanks, and artillery and sweep all the way across Libya. That would take months, not weeks.
Another outcome is to cut a deal with Gadhafi so the rebels obtain, say, the eastern part of Libya and Gadhafi keeps the rest. The Egyptians, who border Libya on the East, would like that because Egypt has always coveted oil-producing eastern Libya. Besides, Egypt’s current military dictatorship (post-Mubarak) would look really good to the Egyptian people if it could gain hegemony over eastern Libya or even annex the oil-fields of Libya outright.
Meanwhile, the White House spokesperson says the U.S. is not at war. We are involved in a “time-limited, scope-limited, kinetic action.” Moreover, the White House wants us to believe that NATO control means the U.S. has little role to play in this “non-war.” Wrong. The Supreme Commander of NATO is U.S. Admiral James G. Stavridus.
NATO is U.S. military-dominated organization. Putting a non-U.S. general in charge of the no-fly-zone operation is deceitful. U.S. officers and NCOs surround Canadian Lt. General Peter MacKay above, below, and to the sides. Key equipment such as NATOs 17 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft looking down over Libya are U.S. assets.
Rest assured, someone is offering Gadhafi a well-funded escape to a pleasant exile. But Gadhafi knows the international war crimes crowd will be on his tail. Like the deposed Serbian dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, Gadhafi could be on trial in The Hague for crimes against the Libyan people and for the murders he master-minds around the world. Trapped, Gadhafi is likely to fight until the bitter end while causing untold numbers of American/NATO casualties.
Libya distracts us from the more dangerous turmoil in Bahrain and from what Iran is doing via its surrogates in Gaza to provoke the Israelis into an all-out military response to the 150 rockets and mortar shells Hamas has already rained down on Israel this year and to the recent bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed one person and wounded 30 more. If Israel mounts a robust defense, Iran hopes the Arab Street, aided by the anti-Israeli media, will rise up against the Judeo-Christians for killing Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, in Gaza, and now, Libya.
Meanwhile, the Red Chinese worry their supply of oil from the Middle East is threatened by the turmoil in the western Persian Gulf, around the Suez Canal, across Egypt, and on into Libya. Using the interest money we pay on the U.S. Treasury Bonds bought by the Red Chinese, the CHICOMs are building a blue-water navy so they can conduct their own freedom-of-the-seas and freedom-of-navigation operations all the way from China to the Persian Gulf and to the Red Sea.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2011. William Hamilton.