Americans left to take the ferry from war-torn Libya

posted at 4:55 pm on February 24, 2011 by Bruce McQuain

Right now, in Libya, there are hundreds of Americans waiting for evacuation … by ferry.

Seriously.  The State Department has chartered a ferry to take the hundreds of waiting Americans to Malta.  But rough seas have delayed the ferry’s departure until Friday.

So where is our military and why aren’t they involved in the evacuation of Americans threatened by the violence in Libya?

Well there’s actually a simple answer to that:

So far the State Department has not requested the U.S. military to assist in the evacuation of civilians from Libya, something it would specifically have to request. Several U.S. officials have confirmed to CNN there is a vigorous debate inside the administration about whether to involve the military because of concern it could cause further provocations by the Libyan regime.

Ah … fear and intimidation.  Assume the worst and … do nothing.   And when I say nothing, I mean “nothing”. Per POLITICO’s Morning Defense newsletter:

THERE IS NO U.S. MILITARY ROLE IN LIBYA FOR NOW, officials across Washington said Wednesday. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley didn’t explicitly reject calls by McCain, Lieberman and others for a no-fly zone above the country, but that seemed unlikely for the present. Gates told The Weekly Standard the U.S. hasn’t talked with NATO about doing anything. Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told reporters Wednesday the Pentagon had received no requests to stand up a no-fly zone or use its ships or aircraft to help evacuate Americans.

Nothing.   That’s not to say that the military isn’t trying to at least be prepared should someone decide to call them and ask that they help look out for the safety and security of Americans in an apparent war zone:

In the first indication the crisis with Libya could take on a military dimension, the Pentagon is looking at “all options” it can offer President Barack Obama in dealing with the Libyan crisis a senior U.S. military official tells CNN.

The official declined to be identified because of the extremely sensitive nature of the situation but he has direct knowledge of the current military planning effort.

“Our job is to give options from the military side and that is what we are thinking about now,” he said. “We will provide the president with options should he need them.”

While all true, we’re in the 10th day of this blowup … 10th day!  And apparently the military, on its own initiative, is trying to provide options to the national governing authority that it has just as apparently not requested.  Notice the wording in the very last sentence above.  “Will provide” and “should he need them”.  That says to me he hasn’t requested them and the military is trying to get ahead of the game without any guidance.

It took the President 9 days to speak out about the situation there and then his remarks were anything but forceful.  Even Chris Matthews found them wanting saying they “lacked dignity”.   Essentially we got the “unacceptable” line and a promise to send the Secretary of State to … Geneva?  Well yes, that’s where she’ll repeat how “unacceptable” all of this is – in 5 days from now, of course.

So in sum, we find out that our government has no plans, other than a ferry  – which I’m sure isn’t big enough to carry the full number of Americans from Libya who might need to be evacuated, but, because of violence, haven’t been able to make it to that particular evacuation point – to evacuate the thousands of American citizens there.  No military plan.  No orders to ships such as the Kearsarge group (which is the closest) or the Enterprise group off Pakistan to redeploy to the coast of Libya to aid in the evacuation of Americans.

No.

As POLITICO’s Morning Defense reminds us:

The Navy and Marines evacuated some 15,000 Americans from Lebanon in 2006, but that was a major undertaking that required several ships.

Well, yes, of course … and we should have had “several ships” moving toward Libya 10 days ago when this thing blew up  — that’s what a prudent administration concerned with its citizens abroad would have done in order to try to ensure that the lives of those citizens in Libya were protected.

Instead, 11 days later those citizens get … a ferry?

Bruce McQuain blogs at Questions and Observations (QandO), Blackfive, the Washington Examiner and the Green Room.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Yes, Change we can believe in,,,,,,elections do make a difference. Treason. Intentional harm to the country.

retiredeagle on February 24, 2011 at 7:00 PM

God help those people. They are sitting ducks.

Vera on February 24, 2011 at 6:50 PM

At least it’s not a glass bottom boat. Wait….is it?

ElectricPhase on February 24, 2011 at 7:03 PM

As far as Obama is concerned, Americans are expendable.

diogenes on February 24, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Oh, it was such an embarrassing last paragraph too, Buy Danish. All the things other countries are doing and have done, and we are stuck on a ferry.
MayBee on February 24, 2011 at 6:49 PM

I don’t know that we have a better metaphor for this administration’s failures. Maybe I should send it to Ed as an Obamateurism?

Buy Danish on February 24, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Actually, never mind. It’s just a coda to what we already know from Bruce McQuain…

Buy Danish on February 24, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Why is it the US Government’s responsibility to get their butt’s out of Libya?
barnone on February 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Because the government lifted the ban on US citizens working there when Bush lifetd the sanctions. By doing so the implication was it was at least somewhat safe to work there…for an American company I might add.

Deanna on February 24, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Why is it the US Government’s responsibility to get their butt’s out of Libya?
barnone on February 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

You can’t seriously have a problem with this?! It’s standard procedure. Although usually planes are employed, but I digress.

Buy Danish on February 24, 2011 at 7:24 PM

And as long as the Americans are there, it’s an excuse for Zero to do nothing…

paul1149 on February 24, 2011 at 7:30 PM

The trolls sure are quiet.

CurtZHP on February 24, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Look, -if the Americans in Lybia were Soros-bots there to teach community organizing, Air Force One would be there to evacuate them. They are oil workers, and why would little Bammie treat them any better than oil workers in the Gulf, or in Alaska?

slickwillie2001 on February 24, 2011 at 7:48 PM

I sure hope that all those “conservative” folks who were so bent on being moderate, PC, mavericky, tolerant, squishes are starting to realize where that attitude has gotten us.

This is Good vs. Evil.

pugwriter on February 24, 2011 at 7:56 PM

EPA needed time to check emissions on the USS Ferry Obama, they’ll be underway when the test come back.

wheelgun on February 24, 2011 at 7:56 PM

The trolls sure are quiet.

CurtZHP on February 24, 2011 at 7:40 PM

seems to be a trend of late. hmmmmm

screwauger on February 24, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Heres the Ferry in question
================================

Hundreds of American Evacuees Still Stuck on Ferry in Libyan PortFeb 24, 2011 – 1:48 PM
—————————————

“I just spoke to the cabin crew a few minutes ago, and they told me the passengers are calm and just waiting until the ferry can leave,” said Henri Saliba, the director of Virtu Ferries, the Malta-based ferry company chartered by the U.S.

Saliba said that U.S. Embassy officials from Malta came over on the ferry and are with the passengers on a 24-hour basis, as are the ship’s captain and crew.

“I was told that the area around the Tripoli harbor is calm, so there is no need for any immediate worry,” Saliba said.

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/24/hundreds-of-american-evacuees-still-stuck-on-ferry-in-libyan-por/
********************************************

Information Bookings Schedule Fares & Tariffs Services Special Offers Virtu Ferries Ltd.

http://www.virtuferries.com/pages/index.aspx

canopfor on February 24, 2011 at 8:23 PM

This, while every other civilized nation has orders to get their people out yesterday if not sooner, and by better methods. Pathetic.

Dark-Star on February 24, 2011 at 8:40 PM

seems to be a trend of late. hmmmmm

screwauger on February 24, 2011 at 8:17 PM

But I’m sure they’ll be along soon to tell those stranded in Libya that “Progressivism” (pat. pend.) will TRIUMPH!!

CurtZHP on February 24, 2011 at 8:51 PM

President Nero, Your fiddle has been restrung. Please report to fireside.

OBQuiet on February 24, 2011 at 9:07 PM

EPA needed time to check emissions on the USS Ferry Obama, they’ll be underway when the test come back.

wheelgun on February 24, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Right! The ferry can’t skim that oil unless the requisite number of life vests are aboard.

onlineanalyst on February 24, 2011 at 9:08 PM

Right.

And, the US Navy should be hunting down all those Somali pirates that killed those Americans.

That probably won’t happen either.

Pablo Snooze on February 24, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Does anybody seriously not realize that the entire reason for these troubles happening now is the weakness of the U.S. White House? Would the “democracy seekers” have risen up in Cairo if they really believed that the U.S. had Mubarak’s back? Tunisia? Algeria? And now, in Libya, where there is a distinctly NON-benign dictator in power, we say nothing, do nothing.

Mr. “President”, do you think that this behavior will generate respect for our nation which you claim was lost by your predecessor? If you do, then you sir, are a fool with no understanding of history, no awareness of the mindset of most of the rest of the world. They do not respect weakness and inaction. You have made Americans less safe, sir, both abroad and here at home.

Freelancer on February 24, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Herr Hussein sure likes playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with American lives.

Murphy9 on February 25, 2011 at 2:04 AM

As far as Obama is concerned, Americans are expendable.

diogenes on February 24, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Would we actually expect Obama to care about the Americans stuck there? After all, planning a Motown party is quite an undertaking. I am glad though that Michelle was able to get back from Vegas with her plane full of friends so she could make it to the grand event.

stacman on February 25, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Comment pages: 1 2