US now “mulling” airstrikes on Gaddafi forces near Benghazi

posted at 8:48 am on March 17, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The axiom “better late than never” doesn’t apply in warfare.  Long after it might have made a difference, the US has finally begun considering a military strike against Moammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya in an effort to save beleaguered rebel forces in Benghazi:

Libyan government soldiers battled rebels on the road to the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi on Thursday as the United States raised the possibility of air strikes to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

But the international debate on what action to take may have dragged on too long to help the anti-Gaddafi uprising, now struggling to hold its ground one month after it started. …

The United States, previously cool on the idea of a foreign military intervention, said the U.N. Security Council should consider tougher action than a no-fly zone over Libya.

“We are discussing very seriously and leading efforts in the Council around a range of actions that we believe could be effective in protecting civilians,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said in New York.

“The U.S. view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include but perhaps go beyond a no-fly zone.”

We need to “be prepared to contemplate” action beyond an NFZ?  Literally speaking, Rice isn’t even asking to contemplate action, but to prepare ourselves to contemplate action.  If it took the US exactly a month into the uprising — and five days after the Arab League unanimously requested a no-fly zone over Libya — to merely think about preparing for contemplation of action, what exactly will be the timeline for making an actual decision?

Whatever preparing for contemplation requires in terms of timing, the window has almost certainly closed in Libya by now.  With Benghazi as their last major position and Gaddafi’s military bearing down and willing to reduce it to rubble, the rebels don’t have many options left.  The world’s lack of support for the Libyan rebels, other than lip service, has emboldened Gaddafi to use all of his military power against his own people.  Without any outside assistance, the rebels are seriously outgunned.

Under those conditions, the people most familiar with Gaddafi’s brutality have to decide whether to align themselves with the rebels as they lose ground, or back the man that the world refuses to stop.  It takes almost unimaginable courage to choose the former at this point, and probably at least a moderate dose of suicidal tendencies.

If the US had decided from the beginning that military action was off the table, that would have been a defensible position to take.  If the US wanted to impose a military solution to support the rebels, that also would have been defensible.  Had Barack Obama seized the moment to lead the West in either direction, at the very least we would have set an example and demonstrated some sort of principle, either Wilsonian defense against tyranny and oppression or a recognition of the international constraints of sovereignty.  The lack of leadership and the vacillation on whether to take military action is utterly indefensible, and this thirteenth-hour suggestion that we will now prepare to think about committing our military against Gaddafi after the game is almost over demonstrates nothing but weakness and incompetence.


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From NBC: Who are the foreign fighters in Iraq?

By far the nationality that comes up over and over again is Saudi Arabia,” says Evan Kohlmann, an NBC News terrorism expert.

The NBC News analysis of Web site postings found that 55 percent of foreign insurgents came from Saudi Arabia, 13 percent from Syria, 9 percent from North Africa and 3 percent from Europe.

The U.S. military also says Saudi Arabia and Syria are the leading sources of insurgents. An Army official provided a list of the top 10 countries to NBC News but would not release the numbers of foreign fighters from each. The top 10, alphabetically, are: Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

Hmmmmm … No Libyans?

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Yesterday they showed a huge oil tanker captured by the “rebels”, all I could think was that if I was Gaddafi, I would delver a few missiles to the “rebels” tanker.

WoosterOh on March 17, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I’ll see if I can run it down.

a capella on March 17, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Thanks. And thanks for the offer but don’t waste your valuable time doing the research I should do.

Rod on March 17, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Americans would have an axe to grind against a foreign power that had invaded in order to usurp and dominate the USA during our 18th and 19th Century Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

1. Let the indigenous peoples fight their own civil wars.

2. Secure our own borders and rescind PC.

3. Since the “final solution” is never going to be an American decisive war plan against terror, i.e. Islamists, then the only really feasible action that our government should consider and perhaps undertake regards our American populace, in line with the FDR consideration of what to do during WWII with the possible enemy within. Given 21st Century sensibilities preventing forcible isolation of any ethnic population, settle to eliminate PC and to terminate any more Muslim immigration into the USA until America wins its so-called “War on Terror” declared against the anti-constitutional “Islamist Radical Sharia Theocracy”.

See? Ain’t gonna happen. Stick with step #1.

maverick muse on March 17, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Rod on March 17, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Here’s one. It isn’t the one I was thinking of, but there are also others.
http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=988&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=181&no_cache=1

a capella on March 17, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Conflicting report from the Guardian:


Around 60% of all foreign militants who entered Iraq to fight over the past year came from Saudi Arabia and Libya, according to files seized by American forces at a desert camp.
The files listed the nationalities and biographical details of more than 700 fighters who crossed into Iraq from August last year, around half of whom came to the country to be suicide bombers, the New York Times reported today.

In all, 305, or 41%, of the fighters listed were from Saudi Arabia. Another 137, or 18%, came from Libya. Both countries are officially US allies in anti-terrorism efforts.

In contrast, 56 Syrians were listed and no Lebanese. Previously, US officials estimated that around a fifth of all foreign fighters in Iraq came from these two countries.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 10:38 AM

what exactly will be the timeline for making an actual decision?

How about “the 12th of NEVER”?

GarandFan on March 17, 2011 at 10:39 AM

logis on March 17, 2011 at 10:14 AM

My vision of him is with his fingers in his ears saying “la la la la”. And when people can’t take it anymore they put him in a golf cart or turn on a basketball game.

Cindy Munford on March 17, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Mav’s link: A number of militants from Sirte, which is in the center of the country and from the area that al-Qaddhafi originates …

Insurgents came from all over the muslim world, doesn’t mean we can’t help overthrow K’Daffy from the air. Will Libya become another Talibanistan without him? You raise a good question.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Go back and read the public statements from the entire Arab world, including the rebel leadership about their attitudes towards a no-fly zone. They were hostile towards it, and at best were very cold. Now that it looks increasingly that these folks’ gamble is about to be lost, they want aid from the imperialists. Now they say “please help us, Satan”.

Don’t blame this on Obama. Bush wouldn’t have gone-it-alone either in these circumstances.

AlexB on March 17, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 10:38 AM

We can squabble about percentages, but the point remains that Libyan rebels will be more apt to go full out old school sharia than Daffy was allowing to happen. He used a balancing act. Just different forms of terrorism.

a capella on March 17, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Let these folks (Arabs who live in “Libya”) sort it out themselves in the way that they are used to and are best at – bombs and bullets. The new boss can’t be worse than the old boss, can he?

AlexB on March 17, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Arab countries like Egypt and SA have large air forces and ground forces. Let them do it. If not, I guess Moammar wins. Too bad, but we need to stay out of this one.

fleiter on March 17, 2011 at 10:53 AM

We should really think about preparing to conjure up the will to consider a preparatory effort in order to, perhaps, engage in a possible military engagement with Libya.

blatantblue on March 17, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I’m going to ponder when to allocate some time to think about what you said, then I’ll self committee to discuss (internally) the ramifications of pursuing a decision to consider any possibilities pro or con of either asking for an outside opinion, or letting my wife tell me what to do.

But, I’ll get back to you when I decide if its in my best interests to let you know anything, not having thought that through yet. SO I can’t give any firm timeline as it stands rigt this minute. I’ll have to size that task first and today’s the pre friday cusp of the weekend, so Monday would be the absolute first day I could start on something like that. Unless something else comes up and I have to contemplate re-prioritizing everything. One thing is for sure though, I’m open ended.

44Magnum on March 17, 2011 at 10:54 AM

… Libyan rebels will be more apt to go full out old school sharia than Daffy was allowing to happen.

I dunno, if they were hajjis, they’d be proclaiming it. They ‘claim’ to want democracy … but that could be taqiyya. K’daffy is a PROVEN terrorist.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Once again, Barry takes a MULL-igan. (D’Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!!)

Dopenstrange on March 17, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Screw the rebels, UN, Europe and whatever “Arab League” who/that wants our help! We ain’t cops anymore…can’t afford it for one thing. If they pay in advance – BIG Time Money – we’ll help, maybe.

Karmi on March 17, 2011 at 11:23 AM

The lack of leadership and the vacillation on whether to take military action is utterly indefensible, and this thirteenth-hour suggestion that we will now prepare to think about committing our military against Gaddafi after the game is almost over demonstrates nothing but weakness and incompetence.

A lot of us expected nothing else from Obama. Who in their right mind expected Pres**ent Obama to make a decisive executive decision in these kinds of situations? There’s nothing in his background to suggest he has that capacity.

Socratease on March 17, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I dunno, if they were hajjis, they’d be proclaiming it. They ‘claim’ to want democracy … but that could be taqiyya. K’daffy is a PROVEN terrorist.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Pick yer poison.

a capella on March 17, 2011 at 11:31 AM

US now “mulling” airstrikes on Gaddafi forces near Benghazi

Stay of it.

It’s none of our business, and as soon as a U.S. bomber hits anything Al-Jazeera will produce footage of dead Arab babies and women (from somewhere, doesn’t matter when or where) and the LSM will have a field day with the “Conservative warmongers”, Glen Beck, the TEA partiers, fossil fuel ‘drill here drill now’ types, Fox News, anti-global warming folks and so on-you know, the usual targets of the Libtards.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 17, 2011 at 11:39 AM

It’s 3:00AM and there’s a crisis somewhere in the world….

You’ve reached the President, I’ll return your call as soon as possible…BEEEEEEPPP”

HarryStar on March 17, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Too late. This dickless outfit must not put military lives in danger just to salvage some semblance of credibility. It won’t wash. As Mr. Obama says, “Fore!”

Mason on March 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM

The high percentage of non-Libya born fighters fighting to take down a tyrant of a country they are not a citizen reminds me of the union hacks from all over the country that invaded Wisconsin. Strange we can get specific percentages of foreign insurgents in Libya and not a peep about the percentage of non-Wisconsin union thugs that invaded Wisconsin to force a rule in a state they are not a citizen. Similarities?

volsense on March 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Pick yer poison. – a cap

Yeah, POISON being the operative word.

We already know K’daffy is a terrorist, the rebs claim to want freedom, there are thousands of them, how many of them want liberty and how many want sharia? We’ll never know, but we do know that freedom is the natural condition of man until that freedom is taken away by force.

“… all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalianable rights, among these rights are life, LIBERTY and …”

Defending freedom, liberating the oppressed is the American way. And if we can do it from the air, all the better, no troops get killed. If we DON’T help, we are seen as not following through on our own beliefs and in the eyes of the real terrorists, that is a sign of weakness that will encourage them to keep fighting against us.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Defending freedom, liberating the oppressed is the American way. And if we can do it from the air, all the better, no troops get killed. If we DON’T help, we are seen as not following through on our own beliefs and in the eyes of the real terrorists, that is a sign of weakness that will encourage them to keep fighting against us.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM

But we don’t know if these “freedom fighters” really are that or simply Islamic Fundamentalist thugs?

We did that before in Afghanistan and now our troops and Marines are fighting the same guys.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Inalienable rights notwithstanding, seems to me, looking over history, that the natural condition of humans is to be dominated and repressed by whomever is strong enough to do it, from Pharoahs to Romans to Mugabe. Today, there are still more repressive autocracies than democracies.

So we have to pick our battles.

All these foreigners suddenly want us to ‘do something’ (so they can evade responsibility and expense). We are blamed for doing nothing, if we do something we’ll be blamed for that. It might be different if we were sure who the guys in the white hats are, but that hasn’t worked out well for us (Saddam Hussein, Shah of Iran).

When we borrow $4 of every $10 we spend, we ARE weak. øbama is weak. We can’t afford to do more than think about contemplating the potential parameters of maybe doing something.

jodetoad on March 17, 2011 at 12:45 PM

But we don’t know if these “freedom fighters” really are that or simply Islamic Fundamentalist thugs? – Dr. Z.

Yup, that’s the problem, but we DO know that K’daffy IS a terrorist, surely a few airstrikes on him the way Reagan did it is justified, yeah?

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 1:17 PM

How bad do you want him? I suspect Daffy will be happily living amongst a barrier of many civilians. He may be crazy but he ain’t dumb and so far he’s been about 2 chess moves ahead of the west. He knows what gives them nightmares. It isn’t losing a few of their own to terror attacks,..it is being accused of being insufficiently sensitive to collateral damage in Arab countries. Well, that, and loss of access to his oil.

a capella on March 17, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Dithering

You would dither to if every foreign policy decision had to:
1. Not inflame your moronic left wing base.
2. Not alienate your Muslim supporters.
3. Not too obviously reveal your pro Muslim sympathies.
4. Cause the MSM to abandon you.
5. Not reveal your profound ignorance about history and the fundamentals of your job.

No wonder he goes golfing every chance he gets.

Basilsbest on March 17, 2011 at 1:37 PM

4. Not Cause the MSM to abandon you

Basilsbest on March 17, 2011 at 1:38 PM

This guy looks remarkably like Sonia Sotomayor.
Same hair, same eyes…

Buttercup on March 17, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Conflicting report from the Guardian:

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 10:38 AM

the Guardian? THE Guardian?

You mean the communist UK rag?

Now I’m pretty sure that Libyans had little to do with Iraq insurgency.

Simple math shows, even with their numbers, that if 55% were from Saudi as per first report, then only 5% were Libyans to add up to 60%. Sneaky commies, these “guardians”.

I was on opinion until last year that Duffy Duck deserved a bullet, not the pardons he received from Europe and US alike. Not anymore – he’s the same brutal murderer, but he’s exactly like the rest. You cannot avoid air strikes on Iranian leaders, and go after Duffy Duck.

Rookie on March 17, 2011 at 3:08 PM

a capella on March 17, 2011 at 1:36 PM

It woudn’t shock anybody if he used human shields, all the more reason for him to go. One of our Predators accindently killed some kids last week, but I’m still in favor of using Preds and Hellfire missiles to kill terrorists.

Rookie on March 17, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Just showing two articles about the same subject having two different conclusions, and I was also making the point that the Poster I was debating had a relevant point to make, which is why I agree with him 99% of the time :-)

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 3:30 PM

As horrible as this may sound, of any leader in the world that had to screw up at this particular point in time, Gaddafi is the perfect one to do so for the good of the United States.

We had recently been inundated with articles comparing Obama to Reagan. Gaddafi is the perfect person to show how ridiculous those comparisons were due to the fact both men had to deal with this individual murdering innocent civilians.

9 days after the terrorist act in Germnay, there were bombs being dropped on Gaddafi’s home.

A full 32 days after the revolt of 2011 began and Obama still hasn’t made a decision on what he’s going to do.

The contrast between the two men could not be starker.

ButterflyDragon on March 17, 2011 at 3:31 PM

I was also making the point that the Poster I was debating had a relevant point to make, which is why I agree with him 99% of the time :-)

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Back atcha, bud. You’re one of the best.

a capella on March 17, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Suicide bombers in Iraq

At least one number is consistent: Saudi Arabia, around 50%

9/11: mostly Saudi Arabia citizens

Worldwide madrassas funding: mostly Saudi Arabia

No wonder Iranians are jealous.

I just despise Guardian so much… :)

Rookie on March 17, 2011 at 3:49 PM

a sign of weakness that will encourage them to keep fighting against us.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Oh come on now. You think they need any kind of encouragement? These people are still pissed about the crusades, for Christ’s sake.

Nothing we do will ever be good in their eyes. There simply is no winning move here. The neocon in me wants to swoop in and force them into christianity at the barrel of a gun, but it will mean wiping out a whole lot of them, and the west does not have the will for such measures (anymore).

runawayyyy on March 17, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Last time me intervened to help Muslims (Bosnia) our thanks was four hijacked airliners and 3000 dead. Let these people rot.

JFS61 on March 17, 2011 at 4:06 PM

JFS61 on March 17, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Hear, hear…

But last time I think it was Afghanistan? No, no… Iraq? No… funding and training Palestinians? No… funding and training Pakistan?

Oh yeah, I remember… Kosovo!

Nice work, nice pattern.

Rookie on March 17, 2011 at 4:11 PM

You think they need any kind of encouragement? – Runaway

Yes, acually they do. Their society is shame/”honor”-based. To them, there is no “shame” in not fighting the strongest tribe. If we DON’T fight, we are “dishonorable”, they see that as a sign of weakness and they attack, like a shark and a bleeding fish.

In the muslim world, perception means more than reality. Perfect example, Somalia, we lose 18 men, our guys kill 1,800 of their’s, but Klinton pulled us out, therefore, in their eyes, they won. America was seen as a “weak horse”, and that encouraged them to hit the Cole, the embassies in Africa and eventually the Twin Towers. Look at Iraq, they tried to fight us but we kicked azz and most of them switched sides. They are the ultimate “fair weather fans”.

Tony737 on March 17, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Last time me intervened to help Muslims (Bosnia) our thanks was four hijacked airliners and 3000 dead. Let these people rot.JFS61 on March 17, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Liberating Iraq’s 28 million Muslims from a genocidal, stalinist dictator wasn’t helping them? The French and other Europeans will help and they will trumpet their military- humanitarian assistance to the Libya Muslims.

The Americans will be portrayed as the richest, most powerful nation on earth whose citizens said let these people rot, while their president golfed and vacationed.

Basilsbest on March 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Funny, it seems many of the people who didn’t want us involved in Bosnia are now the same ones complaining about of our lack of involvement in Libya.

JFS61 on March 18, 2011 at 2:18 AM

Whatever else can be said you’ve got to love Gaddafi’s fashion sense. There’s a Towelish dude who’s stylin’

Mason on March 18, 2011 at 11:49 AM

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