Video: Gaddafi continues march on Benghazi

posted at 12:15 pm on March 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

So far, it doesn’t appear that Moammar Gaddafi feels that much pressure to end his push against the last major rebel stronghold of Benghazi, despite the threat of action from the UN. A new ground push against Libya’s second largest city has rebels falling back, and one of their planes falling from the skies — although it’s not clear whether the old MiG got hit by hostile forces or just blew up. The Washington Post reports that Gaddafi’s forces have entered the city now, and that their artillery is landing everywhere.

NBC reports from the scene, where Gaddafi says it’s the rebels that are, er, throwing themselves under his tanks, or something:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Government troops in tanks and trucks entered Benghazi from the west, in the university area, and began to shell the city, including civilian areas. Intense fighting broke out in some enclaves. The city of 1 million quickly became a ghost town, with residents fleeing or seeking cover in barricaded neighborhoods.

A warplane was shot down over Benghazi, and rebel leaders later claimed it as one of their own. While they said mechanical problems caused the crash, calls from mosques across the city suggested that friendly fire brought down the plane. “Don’t attack the airplanes because these are our planes,” a mosque preacher urged over loudspeakers.

France has begun leading talks to get the West into action:

President Obama is sending his secretary of state to Paris tomorrow for a key meeting of European and Arab leaders that will seek to define the terms of military engagement in Libya against Muammar Qaddafi’s military.

Secretary Hillary Clinton has been a strong advocate for a no-fly zone, and during a trip to Arab states this week she called for attacks on Libyan military sites and for Colonel Qaddafi’s departure.

The Paris meeting will come two days after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution allowing “all necessary measures” against Qaddafi’s forces, which have been making gains on the rebel fighters and approaching the de-facto opposition capital Benghazi. On Friday, Qaddafi’s government declared a cease-fire even as its attacks continued on rebel holdouts.

What exactly will this accomplish? Even if Gaddafi wanted to bomb Benghazi, he’d gain very little from it now, and it would put his own troops at risk. Thanks to the elimination of what appears to be one-third of the rebel air force, the ground forces won’t be hampered by a lack of air cover.  Unless France and the West want to exceed the UN mandate and start sending troops to rescue Benghazi, the rebel position is untenable in the long run, and perhaps in the short run as well.  By the time the West holds it meeting tomorrow, the point may well be moot, or will be shortly afterward.

Whether intervention in Libya was a wise decision or not is a fair question, and one can make reasoned arguments for principled decisions either way.  The last of a decision, the weeks of vacillation, and the vacuum of leadership to make a decision one way or the other until the civil war was all but over is the worst outcome of all the scenarios.


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Maybe if war tactics were less like chess and more like basketball Obama would have a clue… then again maybe not:)
.

philly_PA on March 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM

8:36 PM. First explosions seen near Tripoli by eyewitnesses interviewed by AFP [French press agency]. [Note: these probably correlate to the US Tomahawk missile strikes announced at about 3:35 PM EDT in the US media. This would represent the first attacks outside of the Tripoli area and presumably indicate attacks on Libyan national air defense assets.]

via J.E. Dyer’s post ‘France’s Role in History’

sharrukin on March 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 3:40 PM

That what you get for giving the dog a bone, when the dog is rabid.

Christien on March 19, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Here’s a shocker:

9:48pm Libyan state television reports that civilian targets in Tripoli have been hit by “crusaders’ warplanes”.

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 3:59 PM

OK, I’m missing something here:
CHECK: US’s position earlier today: supported the “International Coalition”, but said it wouldn’t participate militarily.

CHECK: France, FRANCE, God in Heaven, yes, that France, is taking the lead in the bombing…and oops, the results were predictable…

Now, I hear Obama say, “We must be clear” and we will participate, but not with troops on the ground…

Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth…could we look ANY weaker, or am I missing something??? Granted, military strategy is hardly a strong suit of mine…

Chewy the Lab on March 19, 2011 at 4:12 PM

WAR NO. 3: US LAUNCHES MISSILE ATTACK ON LIBYAN FORCES


…code pink…move on….answer..and Move America Forward
Hardest Hit!!!!

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

my husband and i are having a debate…i told him w got the authorization from congress before both going into both afghanistan and iraq…found the resolutions on line but he won’t believe me….anything else I can use?

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth…could we look ANY weaker, or am I missing something??? Granted, military strategy is hardly a strong suit of mine…

Chewy the Lab on March 19, 2011 at 4:12 PM

You don’t have to be a military expert to recognize empty threats coupled with timid impotency.

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM

test

sharrukin on March 19, 2011 at 4:25 PM

via Pentagon presser:
110 Tomahawks launched. Most targeted at sites along west coast.(west- do I have that right?) First phase. Keeps repeating into redundacy that this is a coalition effort.

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 4:28 PM

110 Tomahawks launched. Most targeted at sites along west coast.(west- do I have that right?)

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 4:28 PM

That is where most of the air defenses are. The east is where the rebels held ground and therefore only mobile air defenses are likely to be present.

sharrukin on March 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

US led operation transfer to a coalition operation….

methinks that won’t happen

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 4:34 PM

First lady looked nice getting off the plane in Rio. I kind of liked the dress. It was a first for me.

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 4:43 PM

So smart power~! of the U.N. and Barry the Boy King to wait for two weeks as Khadaffy crushed the opposition unhindered, and until it was [almost?] too late, before getting off the can and acting.

BTW~ How’s the golfing weather down in Rio?

profitsbeard on March 19, 2011 at 4:52 PM

BTW~ How’s the golfing weather down in Rio?

profitsbeard on March 19, 2011 at 4:52 PM

How bout you lighten up on purple lips!

He just had to interrupt his “Cousin Eddie” vacay to read a four minute speech without TOTUS!

He splained how great our military is and how he’s using it to fly a few hunderd missiles at air defenses and then we’re done.

Course Reagan had the perscription on this guy a decade ago when GadDaffy got uppity Ronnie flew a missile into his tent where the little Dicktator was reduced to living.

Good Gawd faux is wondering about civilian casualties and if they could hear ambulances?

I suppose theres only ambulances when the USA unleashes its fire power none when a dicktator is cleansing the population of opposition.

dhunter on March 19, 2011 at 5:06 PM

I suppose theres only ambulances when the USA unleashes its fire power none when a dicktator is cleansing the population of opposition.

dhunter on March 19, 2011 at 5:06 PM

alJazeera reported that Daffy’s forces were collecting and stacking bodies for use as proof of collateral damage at the appropriate time. One wonders about decomposition issues, but, I suppose, the prevention of that is something not considered important.

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Nor will Faux News care if there’s Libyan rebels bodies killed by GadGoofy in there or not it will be a photo op showing how decisive Obama was and how our brave military is killing innocent civilians

dhunter on March 19, 2011 at 5:20 PM

my husband and i are having a debate…i told him w got the authorization from congress before both going into both afghanistan and iraq…found the resolutions on line but he won’t believe me….anything else I can use?

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Afghanistan:


H.J.RES.64 — Authorization for Use of Military Force
(Agreed to House – ATH)

HJ 64 ATH

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. J. RES. 64

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 14, 2001

Mr. ARMEY (for himself and Mr. GEPHARDT) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

September 14, 2001

Committee on International Relations discharged; which was considered and agreed to

JOINT RESOLUTION

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

Whereas on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens;

Whereas such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad;

Whereas in light of the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence;

Whereas such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States; and

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force’.

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

(b) WAR POWERS RESOLUTION REQUIREMENTS-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.


House vote:

9/14/2001 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 420 – 1 (Roll no. 342).

Senate:
Afghanistan
U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 107th Congress – 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Joint Resolution (S.J. Res. 23 )
Vote Number: 281 Vote Date: September 14, 2001, 10:44 AM
Required For Majority: 1/2 Vote Result: Joint Resolution Passed
Vote Counts: YEAs 98
NAYs 0
Not Voting 2


Iraq:

Congress passes a bipartisan resolution authorizing President Bush to use military force, acting alone if necessary, in order to ensure that Iraq disarms any weapons of mass destruction.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec02/joint_resolution_10-11-02.html

Introduced in Congress on October 2, 2002, in conjunction with the Administration’s proposals,[2][7] H.J.Res. 114 passed the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. EDT on October 10, 2002, by a vote of 296-133,[8] and passed the Senate after midnight early Friday morning, at 12:50 a.m. EDT on October 11, 2002, by a vote of 77-23.[9] It was signed into law as Pub.L. 107-243 by President Bush on October 16, 2002.

United States House of Representatives
Party Ayes Nays PRES No Vote
Republican 215 6 0 2
Democratic 82 126 0 1
Independent 0 1 0 0
TOTALS 297 133 0 3


United States Senate

Party Ayes Nays No Vote
Republican 48 1 0
Democratic 29 21 0
Independent 0 1 0
TOTALS 77 23 0

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 5:44 PM

thanks Baxter!!

much appreciated

now will we see one of these for dear leader?

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 5:49 PM

now will we see one of these for dear leader?

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Good question….

Would seem to me that it would need to be done “before” we attack……

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I support our troops and their mission. I also support any officers who refuse to commit acts of war against Qaddafi without prior Congressional authorization, as per their oath.

As for Dems, they abdicated the right to lecture anyone about anything related to supporting our military way back in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Christien on March 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM

The last of a decision, the weeks of vacillation, and the vacuum of leadership to make a decision one way or the other until the civil war was all but over is the worst outcome of all the scenarios.

Is that supposed to be the lack of a decision?

Theophile on March 19, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Intelligent conversation – the final word.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 6:02 PM

indeed

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 7:06 PM

I thought the UN resolution already went beyond a no-fly zone and authorized air strikes against ground forces.

If we can disrupt the the supply chain of Gaddafi’s forces, might that not be enough for the rebels to regain their positions?

This is how I look at it:

The French and the Arabs want to fight Gaddafi, okay. They want our help to smash Gaddafi’s air defenses? Okay… the French are our allies, and the Arabs are at least countries we generally want to court and be friendly with. I can see enough advantage gain there to justify some limited support.

They want the varsity to come in and rough up the opponent before turning the fight over to the junior varsity- I can see that.

But if they expect us to keep on supporting them? I don’t think so.

If- and it’s a big if- it shakes out that the US just has to do the initial work of destroying Gaddafi’s air defenses, and maybe smashing his tank column and supply lines, followed by us stepping back to let the French and Arabs handle this- hey that’s a pretty decent outcome.

We gain some kudos with the Arabs, and some additional chits with the French. Eliminate Gaddafi as a threat- which is nice, and yet if things go bad it’s the French holding the bag not us.

That last bit is the one that makes me wary. But if Obama can keep that part of the deal, then I’ll say he did a decent job.

Sackett on March 19, 2011 at 7:26 PM

As for Dems, they abdicated the right to lecture anyone about anything related to supporting our military way back in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Christien on March 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Well said….

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Lt Col Bill Cowan was just on Fox News saying Obama made a big mistake by ruling out ground troops as you never want your enemy to know what you won’t do. This is what happens when you elect a POTUS that must pander to his Code Pink base.
Basilsbest on March 19, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Yep!.
Now all Daffy has to think about is how “golden” Obama’s word is?

Remember when he closed down Gitmo 2 years ago? And now that we have been totally out of Iraq for more than a year and half ago?

Even worse for Daffy, none of Obama’s words and actions make any sense, and its not intentional on Obama’s part!

DSchoen on March 19, 2011 at 8:29 PM

I support our troops and their mission. I also support any officers who refuse to commit acts of war against Qaddafi without prior Congressional authorization, as per their oath.

Christien on March 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM

The question of whether the president needs congressional authorization to act militarily has been in dispute since the War Powers Act, if I recall, with pretty much every legislature saying “yes”, every executive saying “no”, and the courts staying out of it, viewing it as basically a political question – if the public disapproves, they can pass more specific legislation or amendments clarifying things. (everything is slower on my fun new iPhone, so I’m going off of memory rather than doing a more extensive google search on this last part – I like to live dangerously:)) But if people get jailed for insubordination, then I’m guessing they’ll have to intervene.

I also remember hearing an argument that neither branch really wants this issue resolved – through some political calculus, each branch wants to use the ambiguity as a deterrent. This would seem, on it’s face,’to violate some kind of Law of Conservation of Political Power, but maybe risk aversion on both sides makes this not a zero sum game somehow. I have no idea if any of what I just said is true or even makes sense, though.

RINO in Name Only on March 19, 2011 at 9:07 PM

RINO in Name Only on March 19, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Makes quite a lot of sense. Putting this issue aside, I’m also wondering whether this is the first time that America has gone to war with her commander-in-chief out of the country at the time. Unprecedented?

Christien on March 19, 2011 at 10:11 PM

WHERE ARE OUR CARRIERS??????

kd6rxl on March 19, 2011 at 10:43 PM

I like how the reporter says that the jets are very old, rickety old warplanes from the 70s… haha!

The B-52 which is still in US service has been in existence since the early 50s. Our Kiowa and Chinook helicopters have been in service since the early 60s. Let’s get some perspective here. I have to admit they probably don’t take care of their aircraft as well as we do. But just because it was built in the 70s means it’s old and about to fall apart would mean a majority of our total war assets are about to turn into dust.

The 50cal M2 machine gun which is a massive asset to our Up armored humvee patrols were designed in 1917 and built in the 20s.

LordJack on March 20, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Keep it up, Baby! These so called “Rebels” or “opposition” are nothing more than 12th century cultural jihadis with ipods and rifles. Nothing like taking out the bad guy we know so that the Al Queda types can install a Great Satan hating cleric (al la the Taliban) we don’t know who will no doubt plot attacks and suicide bombings on us. Maybe even pursue “peaceful” acquisition of nuclear reactors for electricity.

kens on March 21, 2011 at 8:34 AM

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