Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Post-War Libya: ‘Just Wing It’

You may remember that one of the many charges against George W Bush (charges that in most cases have been quietly replicated by the Obama administration) was that he did not adequately prepare for stabilizing post-war Iraq.  Is it any wonder then:
If NATO has a plan for achieving victory in Libya, it has been well disguised. Regardless, the world's most powerful military alliance will surely somehow, some day prevail over a besieged dictator with little support.  But is NATO prepared for what happens when they win?
Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen took to Twitter last week to proclaim, "Once political settlement is reached, I don't expect NATO to play leading role" and "Future to be shaped by Libyan people.  NATO will support international efforts if requested and needed."

 James Joyner of The Atlantic picks up on the otherwise stealth comparison:
The parallels with Iraq are eerie.  In his seminal work on that conflict, Fiasco, Thomas Ricks quotes Major Isaiah Wilson, the official Army historian of the spring 2003 invasion and later strategic planner in Iraq saying that there was "no single plan as of 1 May 2004 that described an executable approach to achieving the stated strategic endstate for war." Joint Staff officer Gregory Gardner explained why: "Politically, we'd made a decision that we'd turn it over to the Iraqis in June" 2003.  Additionally, an Army War College study found, what little planning there was for post-conflict stabilization was predicated on the unfounded assumption that "the international community would pick up the slack." . . .
Though NATO's intervention in Libya was authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1973, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been virtually silent on the mission. . . .  If there's been any planning for post-conflict reconstruction, it has been quiet.
And of course, as a former participant in the charade of UN peacekeeping, I find this line almost poignant:
Peacekeeping, of course, requires that there be a peace to keep.

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