Navy chief: We’re not sure what the next stage is in Libya

posted at 4:17 pm on March 23, 2011 by Allahpundit

He’ll be handing over leadership of the mission to someone at some point, but the details are still as vague and gassy as one of those “jobs created or saved” graphs.

Adm. Gary Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations, said that he has received no guidance on the path ahead for command and control of the no-fly zone, no-drive zone, no-sail zone, arms embargo enforcement, and any other missions currently being managed by U.S. Africom Commander Gen. Carter Ham, who is in Germany. NATO has been battling internally over whether to take command, while the French government’s latest proposal is to set up a “political steering committee” made of Western and Arab foreign ministers…

Roughead also said there’s no guarantee that U.S. military forces would be able to decrease their presence or activities when the transition takes place. In other words, the U.S. military might give up control, but still be doing most of the work.

Not only is there no guarantee, the U.S. role in the skies over Libya has actually increased this week. Danger Room crunches the numbers: On Monday, more than half of the 80 missions over Qaddafiland were flown by U.S. allies. Over the past 24 hours, of 175 missions flown, the USAF has been responsible for 113. Maybe that’s a temporary blip, part of an all-out push to obliterate Qaddafi’s air force before letting less competent air forces take the lead. (If so, it’s been a success.) Or, more ominously, maybe it’s because some of our allies lack the capacity to sustain a bombardment campaign against a tinpot dictator beyond a few days. Or, as a third possibility, maybe we’re realizing that western air power hasn’t been enough to reverse the advantage Qaddafi’s troops have on the ground over the outgunned rebels. If that’s the case, with more attacks needed to dislodge regime troops, the coming handover to NATO or France’s “political steering committee” or whoever may mean little more than slipping an international glove over an American fist. Got to keep those U.S. fingerprints off the attacks somehow, partly to keep support for the mission high among America-hating Muslims in the region and partly to reassure voters here at home that our role has been formally “reduced” — even if, in practice, it’s expanding.

The word earlier this afternoon was that NATO is still deadlocked on whether to assume leadership of the mission from the White House, but this new AP story makes it sound like a compromise is a fait accompli.

Separately, Turkey has been seen as holding up agreement on a command structure for a no-fly zone, but diplomats say an agreement is gradually emerging about the role NATO would play, after the United States — which has effectively commanded the operation until now — reiterated that it was committed to the transition.

The compromise proposal would see NATO take a key role in the military operation guided by a political committee of foreign ministers from the West and the Arab world. Officials said the North Atlantic Council — NATO’s top decision-making body, which already has approved military plans for enforcing the no-fly zone — may decide to start them later Wednesday.

Turkey’s ambassador to the U.S. tweeted less than an hour ago that their foreign minister now agrees that the “[o]peration in Libya should be conducted by and under the command and control of NATO.” According to a NATO source, Turkey had been holding out because they “wanted Western coalition countries to finish their air strikes before NATO took over command, so the alliance was not blamed for any accidents.” All of which is super, but as I explained above, airstrikes may have to increase to soften up Qaddafi’s troops for the rebels. What happens if (or rather, when) Turkey gives the all-important Islamic okay for NATO to take over, and then suddenly new air raids against Qaddafi’s positions are ordered? Does Turkey then withdraw its approval and claim that it was lied to? Or is that the whole point of this maneuver — to let the west do its best to take out Qaddafi while pretending to have been betrayed about the scope of the mission so that it can pander to Muslims in the region?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I think we will be getting a clarification on this shortly.

WoosterOh on March 23, 2011 at 4:20 PM

But Barry says we’re headed in the right direction…I guess backwards is a direction…

PatriotRider on March 23, 2011 at 4:20 PM

“You can learn a lot from Libya.”
–Groucho Marx

Emperor Norton on March 23, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Emperor Norton on March 23, 2011 at 4:21 PM

The tattooed desert?

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Sheesh….and this guy is better than Bush…HOW????? Exactly someone explain to me how this guy was elected President?

SPGuy on March 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

I feel better now

/

cmsinaz on March 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Maybe the One should turn over leadership to Lichtenstein…

PatriotRider on March 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Obama to the Air Force…”don’t bomb the golf courses”

PatriotRider on March 23, 2011 at 4:25 PM

“Let me talk to whomever is in charge.”

“There isn’t one.”

portlandon on March 23, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Hey! Give Barry a break. They’re making this shit up as it goes along. After all, Barry is the Supreme Planner. He directs all from Mount Olympus.

Only problem is that he no longer has the benefit of 20/20 HINDSIGHT………like that used on his predecessors.

GarandFan on March 23, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Exactly someone explain to me how this guy was elected President?

SPGuy on March 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Guilt.

Electrongod on March 23, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Obama to the Air Force…”don’t bomb the golf courses”

PatriotRider on March 23, 2011 at 4:25 PM

“Daddy, did you create a lot of holes today?”

Electrongod on March 23, 2011 at 4:27 PM

“In other words, the U.S. military might give up control, but still be doing most of the work…”

Ummmmmmmmm…

… In a word, NO!

Seven Percent Solution on March 23, 2011 at 4:28 PM

The mission is not clear because Obama is doing this for other reasons. I think he’s been advised that another war will stimulate the economy, as well as discourage Republicans from blocking a debt-ceiling hike.

Emperor Norton on March 23, 2011 at 4:28 PM

AP, we can’t soften Qaddafi up sufficiently for the rebels. They have no capability whatsoever to launch an offensive against him. Without outside support, that’s their only theoretical option, but it’s not a feasible one. People forget that they didn’t “seize” locations in the East, they ended up holding them because Qaddafi’s viceroys there didn’t hold out against unarmed crowds. They achieved their occupation of Misrata — the closest rebel-held city to Tripoli — the same way.

Anyway, wrote about this here today.

J.E. Dyer on March 23, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Over the past 24 hours, of 175 missions flown, the USAF has been responsible for 113

That’s 65% worth of “not leading this effort.”

ted c on March 23, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Thanks for not capitalizing chief in the title. No self-respecting Navy Chief would ever say anything that might cause him or her to appear not on top of the situation. He would make something up, and expect his boss to back the play.

I guess we didn’t train the good Admiral thoroughly enough.

JeffWeimer on March 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

lol. At least he can’t be accused of telegraphing his punches.

Kataklysmic on March 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Daddy, did you install a democracy while we were in Brazil?

ted c on March 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Well, at least their message is consistent.

Nobody knows what the hell they are doing.

UltimateBob on March 23, 2011 at 4:30 PM

So I don’t much know what kind of guy President Obama is, and I don’t much care. I do care quite a bit about what kind of president he is, however. Now, I admit, Obama’s puzzling leadership style has driven more than a few critics to plunge into labyrinthine investigations of his personality in the hopes of finding some explanatory key tucked away at its center.

Nonetheless, this is a fool’s errand. What matters is not whether the president is, for instance, a passive-aggressive guy, but whether he is a passive-aggressive president. The soap opera surrounding our Libyan engagement, and Obama’s halting and irregular efforts at managing it, have me convinced that the answer is yes.

As a guy, and as a president, he is NPD. Click on symptoms too.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 4:31 PM

I’m feeling soooo bad for these military leaders.
After all, until Oboobie, they’ve at least had a leader at the top to say ‘yesSir !’ to. Now ??
Raise your hand if you DIDN’T know this would happen under the O?
(was afraid of a windstorm if I’d asked for those that HAD known)

pambi on March 23, 2011 at 4:31 PM

AP, a Navy “Chief” is a senior enlisted non-commissioned officer. Admiral Roughead is the Chief of Naval Operations or “CNO”. It’s a small thing but Honda V65 may call you on it. He was a Master Chief (E9).

ted c on March 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Daddy, did you install a democracy while we were in Brazil?

ted c on March 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

No honey, Hillary did…

PatriotRider on March 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM

“You can learn a lot from Libya.”
–Groucho Marx

Emperor Norton on March 23, 2011 at 4:21 PM

“I won’t join a club that would have me” — Grougho Marx and Obama

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 4:35 PM

In order to be the CIC, you should at least be able to lead. Nope, not us…we got one that can articulate. Articulate what….we’re not sure.

milwife88 on March 23, 2011 at 4:36 PM

No honey, Hillary did…

PatriotRider on March 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Daddy, is that the same lady that keeps ringing the phone at 3 am every night?

yes, honey, that’s who that is….

ted c on March 23, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Leaderless in Washington, rudderless in the Med.

coldwarrior on March 23, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 4:35 PM

I shot an elephant dictator in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 4:37 PM

ted c on March 23, 2011 at 4:36 PM

LMAO

PatriotRider on March 23, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Der Spiegel Coalition of the unwilling.

Coalition of nein

Reminds me of the One’s Berlin mascarading…How the world deserves this narcissistic peacock, good for absolutely nada.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Just as well we pull back from Libya..I would not want our Troops under command of any other nation.

hawkman on March 23, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Sheesh….and this guy is better than Bush…HOW????? Exactly someone explain to me how this guy was elected President?

Supposedly he had more experience than Sarah Palin.

tommer74 on March 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM

On Monday, more than half of the 80 missions over Qaddafiland were flown by U.S. allies. Over the past 24 hours, of 175 missions flown, the USAF has been responsible for 113

But but but the Dutch sent six F-16s to the region!

strictnein on March 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM

tommer74 on March 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Under the 15 minute mark. Not bad.

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Adults in charge, etc. etc.

Scrappy on March 23, 2011 at 4:45 PM

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 4:45 PM

My mistake, it was near the 24 minute mark.

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 4:46 PM

“I have principles! But if you don’t like them, I can get others.”

mojo on March 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Don’t ask me, I Don’t Know.

Christien on March 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Or, as a third possibility, maybe we’re realizing that western air power hasn’t been enough to reverse the advantage Qaddafi’s troops have on the ground over the outgunned rebels.

Pulled from another thread:

AlJazeera:

8:41pm AP: Canada carried out its first attacks in the UN-sponsored campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, dropping four laser-guided bombs on an ammunition depot.

.Timestamp:
7:38pm Reuters: Norway may ground its six F-16 fighter jets due to take part in US-led sorties over Libya if
it deems their missions too dangerous for civilians in the North African state, the defence minister said.

.Timestamp:
6:32pm (AFP) – Ground troops loyal to Gaddafi who are threatening rebel-held cities are now being targeted by coaliton airstrikes, the US military said

.

.
Looks like we’re going after ammo dumps and ground troops as part of the NFZ concept. Norway is afraid of bombing civilians and the U.S. will be bombing ground troops. Huh?

a capella on March 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

a capella on March 23, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Navy chief: We’re not sure what the next stage is in Libya

Hey, that’s because Obama’s not a Leader.

Youngs98 on March 23, 2011 at 4:50 PM

He even looks dumb in that photo.

Oink on March 23, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Getting started after spring break is always a little sluggish…

d1carter on March 23, 2011 at 4:51 PM

So, at some point someone is going to formulate an overall plan in which each of these actors know their role? Hillary, Gates, sundry allies, and now this admiral, if only there was someone above them whose job it was to come with said plan and explain everyone’s part in it.

jarodea on March 23, 2011 at 4:51 PM

The leadership vacuum, it sucks!

txhsmom on March 23, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Qaddafi has got to make the connection at some point and realize, “Hey, I can’t even quit. There is no one to surrender to!”

MikeA on March 23, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Let’s see: No debate? Check. No objective? Check.

How could anyone in the Navy know what their mission/goal is if they have none? It looks more like a training exercise ordered by an incompetent–and carried out by professionals–than a serious military campaign with a clear objective. Any favorable outcome will be reached by accident.

Demosthenes on March 23, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Roughead also said there’s no guarantee that U.S. military forces would be able to decrease their presence or activities when the transition takes place. In other words, the U.S. military might give up control, but still be doing most of the work.

So our boys would do most of the work without the benefit of an American commander. They’d do most of the work and have to listen to some guy from a country contributing very little, with very little skin in the game.

Gotcha.

amerpundit on March 23, 2011 at 4:55 PM

What has NATO go to do with Libya?

xrayiiis on March 23, 2011 at 4:56 PM

The leadership vacuum, it sucks!

txhsmom on March 23, 2011 at 4:52 PM

LOL!

WisRich on March 23, 2011 at 4:56 PM

OT:

Rove appears to have done something right for once…

Link

His Crossroads group is suing for the documentation on how decisions were made to grant waivers for ObamaCare.

The intent is to get the documentation, show that rules were not implemented uniformly, and then sue to overturn the law based on equal protection grounds.

If nothing else, it adds an additional avenue of attack should the 11th Circuit case fall apart for whatever reason.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Wag the dog

xrayiiis on March 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM

MikeA on March 23, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Aren’t there any CNN crews on the ground?

Left Coast Right Mind on March 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM

This is a Potemkin coalition, far smaller than the one that fought in either Afghanistan or Iraq, notwithstanding loud proclamations to the contrary. We are not even done with the first week of bombing, and yet no one seems in charge: What body/country/alliance determines targets, issues communiques, or coordinates diplomacy? The U.K. goes after Qaddafi, and we plead “They did it, not us”? Again, fairly or not, the impression is that Obama dressed up preponderant American intervention under a multicultural fig leaf, earning the downsides of both. A loud multilateral effort could be wise diplomacy, but not if it translates into a desire to subordinate American options and profile to European and international players that are not commensurately shouldering the burden — and not if all this is cynically used to advance a welcomed new unexceptional American profile.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

So our boys would do most of the work without the benefit of an American commander. They’d do most of the work and have to listen to some guy from a country contributing very little, with very little skin in the game.

Gotcha.

amerpundit on March 23, 2011 at 4:55 PM

I’m sure thee will be some Arabs helping with the command part, in order to keep everyone happy.
Our troops under even partial command of Muslims makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

a capella on March 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

thee

s/b there

a capella on March 23, 2011 at 5:02 PM

I’m sure thee will be some Arabs helping with the command part, in order to keep everyone happy.
Our troops under even partial command of Muslims makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

a capella on March 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

I wouldn’t be surprised for a minute if Obama did place them under the operational command of some Arab state in order to include an Arab state in the coalition.

They’re not willing to actually bomb or attack, but they’ll be more than willing to order our guys around.

amerpundit on March 23, 2011 at 5:03 PM

He’s back from Brazil? That’s a Peace Prize!!!

Alden Pyle on March 23, 2011 at 5:03 PM

8:41pm AP: Canada carried out its first attacks in the UN-sponsored campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, dropping four laser-guided bombs on an ammunition depot.

And who light up the target? From the air or from the ground?

bofh on March 23, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Anybody remember when Air Force One was taken for a joy ride over NY City…

… and Obowma said he new nothing about it?

Now, I believe him…

Seven Percent Solution on March 23, 2011 at 5:06 PM

No better, no worse. No greater, no lesser.

Just a country stuck somewhere between Uganda and Uzbekistan. We come in right before Uruguay!

And then there is Barack Obama, the humble internationalist, who prefers to just say he wishes Col. Gadhafi would step down. Isn’t it strange that a guy so famous for his seamless arrogance is capable of such meekness when it comes to the riches and treasures that have been built over centuries by better men before him and jealously guarded by generations?

Perhaps, then, it is not humility we see in Mr. Obama. Maybe it is such epic arrogance that he actually considers himself so far above all those who came before him and the temples to freedom they built.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 5:07 PM

bofh on March 23, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Some guy in Latin America with a laser-like focus.

Christien on March 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Don’t you feel comforted knowing that Obama has put our military under the command of the Arabs and Europeans?

Hey, a man needs time for golf, vacations and NCAA brackets.

xrayiiis on March 23, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Don’t you feel comforted knowing that Obama has put our military under the command of the Arabs and Europeans?

Hey, a man needs time for golf, vacations and NCAA brackets.

xrayiiis on March 23, 2011 at 5:09 PM

At this point?
That would be an improvement over what Obama the Commander In Chief is doing.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Let the Marines destroy all of Tripoli just for the hell of it, tell daffy that any civies in town are his problem. Get the flying Radio Bug to put the announcement on the air all day.
Attention Civilians, daffy lovers or haters it does not matter we will level the town at midnight. IF you gonna go to war go to win.

Col.John Wm. Reed on March 23, 2011 at 5:14 PM

That would be an improvement over what Obama the Commander Eunuch In Chief is doing.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Trust me, I’m not being snarky, just ignorant of the facts, here….
under what circumstances can anyone in the military refuse an order from his CIC ?? What’s lawful, there ??
I’m only wondering about their being ordered to take orders from (say) our sworn enemy in another campaign, elsewhere on the planet ?
This one-world stuff gets really sticky, y’know ??

pambi on March 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

America needs a pruning

Karmi on March 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

IF you gonna go to war go to win.

Col.John Wm. Reed on March 23, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Obama says we’re not “at war”. He’s there for an idea. Get with the program Col.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Sheesh….and this guy is better than Bush…HOW????? Exactly someone explain to me how this guy was elected President?

SPGuy on March 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Here ya go.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm1KOBMg1Y8

esnap on March 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

I expect Vice-Presdent Joe “Big Effing Deal” Biden to lead the impeachment charge in
5…
4…
3…
2…

oldleprechaun on March 23, 2011 at 5:24 PM

What does anyone expect when we hire an amateur?

CWforFreedom on March 23, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Obama to Sarkozy: Gee, Boss, what should we do now?

Or, as a third possibility, maybe we’re realizing that western air power hasn’t been enough to reverse the advantage Qaddafi’s troops have on the ground over the outgunned rebels.

Physics 101 Problem for Hahvid Genius Communitay O’ganizahs:

Design, build, and launch a smart-bomb from 30,000 feet that can destroy a tank in a 20-foot-wide Libyan street. Extra credit if residents of nearest buildings escape uninjured, and 20 points off if the tank gunner was celebrating his fourth-cousin’s wedding according to Al-Jazeera.

Steve Z on March 23, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Obama to Sarkozy: Gee, Boss, what should we do now?

We turn command of the situation over to C-I-C of the Andorran Air Force and we’ll head for the 19th hole.

oldleprechaun on March 23, 2011 at 5:33 PM

you know, my favorite thing about obama is that he’s such a damned good leader. if ever there were a meta-god that radiated decisive, clear, well-thought-out-action, it would be the grand tourist.

TruthBeTold2 on March 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

The old Magic Eight Ball Strategy.

viking01 on March 23, 2011 at 5:40 PM

TruthBeTold2 on March 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

The pharmacy just called, you forgot to pick up your meds last week!

oldleprechaun on March 23, 2011 at 5:43 PM

We all have a bad idea that doesn’t work once in a while.

I’d actually have maybe a little respect for øbama if he said, this isn’t working, and we’re pulling out of it. But it won’t happen.

Or the House GOP could say, we’re not supporting or paying for this. Don’t suppose that will happen either.

jodetoad on March 23, 2011 at 6:41 PM

AP: Admiral Roughead is a “Service Chief”, like General Schwartz is a Sercie Chief (Chief of Staff of the Air Force)…

And ADM Roughead is a VERY, VERY SMART GUY… I was just on his staff for 2 years…

Khun Joe on March 23, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Imagine if you will that Libya is a giant sand trap that Obama keeps driving his balls into, and you have the complete picture….and it’s not pretty.

gordo on March 23, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Service Chief… Service Chief…

Khun Joe on March 23, 2011 at 8:14 PM

“Maybe that’s a temporary blip, part of an all-out push to obliterate Qaddafi’ [s air force] before letting less competent air forces take the lead”

davod on March 24, 2011 at 7:54 AM

Thanks for not capitalizing chief in the title. No self-respecting Navy Chief would ever say anything that might cause him or her to appear not on top of the situation. He would make something up, and expect his boss to back the play.

I guess we didn’t train the good Admiral thoroughly enough.

JeffWeimer on March 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

And maybe the good Admiral knows that his “boss” won’t back him up.

Solaratov on March 24, 2011 at 1:22 PM

But but but the Dutch sent six F-16s to the region!

strictnein on March 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Hey! The UAE (our arab ‘coalition’ partners) sent two fighters!

Of course, they ran out of gas on the way to the party.

Solaratov on March 24, 2011 at 1:28 PM