Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Libya - the gift that keeps on returning

This piece from the BBC reflects on the disconnect between the UN's humanitarian appeals to cut back on the fighting, & NATO ramping up the airstrikes.
The BBC's Bethany Bell in Brussels, where Nato has its headquarters, says there are questions about whether Nato's strategy is working.
The alliance admits this conflict will not be solved by military means alone, our correspondent says, but for now, an exit looks neither quick nor easy.
But then, didn't we already know that at the beginning?  That reason would be, if for no other, the admonition of one of the chief axioms of Murphy's Laws of Combat: "No operation plan survives the first five minutes of contact with the enemy."  Additionally, this is an excellent example of the political compulsion summed up in the phrase, "We have to do something!"  Such appeals to emotion, however moral, are simply insufficient to overcome a severe lack of planning for alternatives, or a resolve to attack (in this case, literally) the problem with enough force to take care of it in the first place.

NATO accelerated the problem of lack of direction immediately upon commencement.  Some critics have alluded to 'mission creep', but I would call it 'mission leap'.  The NATO (well, the US-led NATO) proclaimed mission was to establish a no-fly zone to eliminate Qaddafi's air superiority advantage over the rebels, but the very first strike was the French Air Force lighting up a Libyan armoured column, with more such strikes to follow.  I have no problem whatsoever with taking out Qaddafi (in fact, I quite encourage it), but call a spade a spade.

It's odd, isn't it?  Within about 24 hours of the US forces being hit by a sandstorm during the 2003 attack on Iraq, prophecies of 'quagmire' abounded in several places.  With the confusion in Libya, one would think that it's business as usual.  It's as if the MSM were making editorial decsions based on who resides in the White House.

The BBC article also says:
Nato says it has carried out 6,000 air strikes since it began enforcing a UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya in March.
The alliance said again it was not targeting Col Gaddafi himself, but rather hitting command and control bunkers.
When we were nailing Iraqi command & control centers in 2003, we heard cries that we were trying to assassinate Saddam Hussein in contravention of US law.  I partially addressed this earlier.  Now we hear the same questions about Qaddafi in Libya, though not as stridently.  The simple fact of the matter is that C3 nodes (command, control, communications) are excellent targets rating high on the priority list of any combat operation.  If an enemy leader happens to be caught in one (which is not entirely unlikely) when a BLU-109 comes crashing through the air vent, well, that's the cost of doing business.  When members of his family suffer as a result, though, I have to ask why he would place his family in harm's way.  I feel no regrets or guilt about such outcomes, only anger about such lethal stupidity coupled with the argumentum ad misericordiam of solicited pity, as well as my anger with those who actually buy into it.

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