Libyan rebels number less than 1,000?

posted at 11:36 am on March 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Via Jim Geraghty, who wonders how the West hitched its star to such a poorly formed and hopeless band of opponents.  Look on the bright side: at least this makes the CIA’s job of vetting the resistance a lot easier than we thought.  CNN’s Jon Lee Anderson gives Eliot Spitzer the bad news, as Moammar Gaddafi’s forces roll back the rebellion even with NATO air strikes:

During “In the Arena,” Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer for The New Yorker reporting from Benghazi, Libya, tells Eliot Spitzer that the number of opposition fighters on the front lines are fewer than anyone would think and that they are poorly armed and badly trained. Anderson says, “Effective number of fighting men, well under 1,000. Actual soldiers, who are now in the fight, possibly in the very low hundreds on the opposition side.”

Speaking of those air strikes, just how is Gaddafi’s military avoiding them in their sweeping offensive?  They downsized their armored vehicles to something a little more sporty and a lot less conspicuous:

Moammar Gadhafi’s forces recaptured strategic territory and moved within striking distance of another major eastern city in Libya on Thursday, nearly reversing the gains rebels made since international airstrikes began.

The rebels, meanwhile, pleaded for more help, while a U.S. official said pro-Gadhafi forces were making themselves harder to target by using civilian “battle wagons” with makeshift armaments instead of tanks.

They shifted their transports to pickup trucks and other passenger vehicles, betting that NATO won’t fire on civilian vehicles on the road.  That may or may not be a good bet long-term, but in the short run it appears to have been effective.

The siege of Misrata turned critical today as well:

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shelled the rebel-held city of Misrata on Thursday and dozens of civilians have been killed in the past few days when their homes were hit, a rebel spokesman said.

Misrata, the last big rebel strong-hold in western Libya, has been encircled by pro-Gaddafi forces for weeks and repeated Western air strikes aimed at protecting civilians there have not so far succeeded in halting the attacks.

“Massacres are taking place in Misrata,” the rebel spokesman, called Sami, told Reuters by telephone.

“Artillery bombardment resumed this morning and is still going on. The (pro-Gaddafi) brigades could not enter the town but they are surrounding it,” he said.

The West’s attempt to push Gaddafi from power rests on a force that can’t possibly accomplish it on their own.  NATO and the US will have to reconsider the parameters of their mission if they hope to avoid the embarrassment of a rout of the rebels, with an ascendant Gaddafi and his family atop the dictatorship once again.

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NATO and the US will have to reconsider the parameters of their mission if they hope to avoid the embarrassment of a rout of the rebels, with an ascendant Gaddafi and his family atop the dictatorship once again.

If there are less than 1000 then even arming them is an exercise in futility. So unless Obama is planning on providing them with the support of US ground troops, Gaddafi is gonna win this thing in a rout.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Via Jim Geraghty, who wonders how the West hitched its star to such a poorly formed and hopeless band of opponents.

I thought that the Final Four had already been decided…..oh wait, that was another band of poorly formed and hopeless opponents…nevermind…

ted c on March 31, 2011 at 11:39 AM

at least this makes the CIA’s job of vetting the resistance a lot easier than we thought.

I’m sure they’re thrilled.

Jon Lee Anderson gives Eliot Spitzer the bad news

The condom broke?

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Don’t worry this will be over in days, with little impact to the US federak budget.

Oil Can on March 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Incidentally, this isn’t quite as impossible as it looks.

Have each of those men train five additional men. You’re taken a force of 1,000 and made it into a force of 5,000. Have each of those men train another 2 each, and so on and so forth.

How do you think we trained our revolutionaries back in ’76?

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

This is a complete, and utter embarrasment. How could Obama, or anyone in the coalition not have known this before starting this up, risking lives, and spending millions?

Was this just a way to give a one up to the AQ?

capejasmine on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Less than 1000 rebels and in the “low hundreds” for an effective fighting force? This just keeps getting better and better.

teke184 on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Yeah but how long is that going to take?

WisCon on March 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Less than 1000 rebels and in the “low hundreds” for an effective fighting force? This just keeps getting better and better.

teke184 on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

will some OFA folks be headed over there to teach them to sing “Together We Thrive” in unison over burning tires??

ted c on March 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Care for some arugula with your turd sandwich, Barry?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/29/3176608.htm

AZCoyote on March 31, 2011 at 11:45 AM

I think if obaka sends US troops in, the howling will start. The people in favor of this action are in favor of it, IMHO, because they don’t think we will suffer any casualties.

ladyingray on March 31, 2011 at 11:45 AM

What’s worse? That we backed a tiny group of ragtag rebels, or that Gadhafi was pinned down in Tripoli for three days by those same rebels?

KingGold on March 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

If you haven’t read “The Fall of Baghdad,” written by Jon Lee Anderson, it’s really exceptional. Genuine, compelling journalism.

Patrick Ishmael on March 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Incidentally, this isn’t quite as impossible as it looks.

Have each of those men train five additional men. You’re taken a force of 1,000 and made it into a force of 5,000. Have each of those men train another 2 each, and so on and so forth.

How do you think we trained our revolutionaries back in ’76?

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Now all they need are the men and the time, and it looks like they have neither.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

NATO won’t fire on civilian vehicles on the road

And they can up the ante from there -start using ambulances as assault vehicles as has been done before.

taznar on March 31, 2011 at 11:47 AM

The good news is that it is a small enough group that they can be provided with the extra “Together We Thrive” and “Win The Future” t-shirts left over memorial service/campaign rallies.

myrenovations on March 31, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Another way to look at it…

We are the rebels.

taznar on March 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Yeah but how long is that going to take?

WisCon on March 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Depends on which aspects of training you consider crucial at this point (about to be overrun).

You don’t need to put them through an extended boot camp. They don’t need to know how to march, salute, learn military or international law, study military history, or anything along those lines.

They have to know how to aim, be prepared to kill, pick up on urban warfare lessons learned by the Primary 1,000, and other aspects related only to the fight they’re about to enter.

They’re not preparing to fight any war going forward as our soldiers are. They’re being prepared to fight a very specific war against a very specific enemy using very specific tactics. And they only need to do so for a limited amount of time.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Heh, no wonder Obama didn’t want to tell anyone in Congress what he was doing.

vcferlita on March 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Now all they need are the men and the time, and it looks like they have neither.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Benghazi is a safe zone protected by the coalition, and it’s home to 1.1 million people. Get creative.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Might be a few cracks appearing in that coalition, if this turns out to be true.
AlJazeera:

2:36pm
Some key points from the first half of the NATO press briefings by Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, the chairman of NATO’s military committee, and Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, the commander of the operation in Libya:

–NATO is aware of a report of civilian casualties in Tripoli. The top Vatican official in the Libyan capital, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, told Catholic news agency Fides that at least 40 civilians died in Tripoli when a building collapsed. He also said air strikes had “indirectly” hit hospitals, including one in Mizda, 145km southwest of Tripoli. General Bouchard said NATO is investigating to determine whether its forces were involved.

a capella on March 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Libyan rebels number less than 1,000?

Hey, wouldn’t it be hilarious if the rebels didn’t represent the majority of Libyans?

flipflop on March 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM

This is a complete, and utter embarrasment. How could Obama, or anyone in the coalition not have known this before starting this up, risking lives, and spending millions?

Was this just a way to give a one up to the AQ?

capejasmine on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Get your head out of your ass the sand.

Obama is not trying to make America look strong in the World, just the opposite…

…his goal is to neuter this country and make us just another participant in the “New World Order” He’s SOOOOOO DREAMMY!!!!

SayNo2-O on March 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Now all they need are the men and the time, and it looks like they have neither.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Benghazi is a safe zone protected by the coalition, and it’s home to 1.1 million people. Get creative.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Benghazi’s population will be dropping shortly if Daffy’s forces start shelling the city like they’re doing with rebel strongholds in places such as Misrata.

teke184 on March 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Benghazi is a safe zone protected by the coalition, and it’s home to 1.1 million people. Get creative.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Protected for how long? The coalition ain’t in this for the long haul. The political will isn’t there.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

They shifted their transports to pickup trucks and other passenger vehicles, betting that NATO won’t fire on civilian vehicles on the road.

Hey NATO, Gadhafi is using SUVs! Fire at will.

This is an utter custerfluck.

rbj on March 31, 2011 at 11:55 AM

If there are less than 1000 then even arming them is an exercise in futility. So unless Obama is planning on providing them with the support of US ground troops, Gaddafi is gonna win this thing in a rout.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:39 AM

If Barry sends in ground troops, I predict approvals down under 40% as his base starts to leave him. Question is, will they be there next year for re-election.

This man and his administration are the most incompetent group I have ever seen. Imagine if Bush had acted this way…

davek70 on March 31, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Amerpundit,
This isn’t a pyramid ponzi scheme…
This a war by proxy that backed a “force” without knowing who the hell they were…

mjbrooks3 on March 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

think the egyptian army will finally enter the fight? I wonder if the MB pulls some strings and forces them in

offroadaz on March 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I think if obaka sends US troops in, the howling will start. The people in favor of this action are in favor of it, IMHO, because they don’t think we will suffer any casualties.

ladyingray on March 31, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Oh, absolutely. Scooter makes the same mistake most politicans make, he wants a war on the cheap, ’cause it doesn’t cost votes. They fall in love with the concept of surgical strikes from 30,000 feet.

a capella on March 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Protected for how long? The coalition ain’t in this for the long haul. The political will isn’t there.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Then that’s a factor controlled by the coalition rather than time or resources on the ground. That’s a voluntary result rather than inevitable result.

We’re talking about impossibilities, as I mentioned in my first posting. If Obama really wanted to ditch Gaddafi, he can. Protect Benghazi, allowing the Primary 1,000 to train five or ten men each. It’s not impossible.

Now, if we’re not really in it to overthrow Gaddafi without boots on the ground, then don’t even bother helping them now. Get it over with, because they’re on the verge of being overrun otherwise.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Amerpundit,
This isn’t a pyramid ponzi scheme…
This a war by proxy that backed a “force” without knowing who the hell they were…

mjbrooks3 on March 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

If our primary objective is ditching Gaddafi, we put boots on the ground, kill him outright, or rely on the rebels and take the risk.

If our primary objective is stopping Islamist radicals from having a say in the next government, then stop this thing right now. Because a free system in an Arab Muslim country will inevitably have Islamist radical elements.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Amerpundit,
The untrained training the untrained?
You can not accopmlish strategic military goals with “leadership” by proxy…

mjbrooks3 on March 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Libyan rebels number less than 1,000?

Wasn’t the estimate of Al-Qaeda members among the rebels in the high-hundreds?

steveegg on March 31, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Amerpundit,
The untrained training the untrained?
You can not accopmlish strategic military goals with “leadership” by proxy…

mjbrooks3 on March 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM

The trained 1,000 training the untrained until they’re trained. Been done before.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Gaddafi is using classic insurgency tactics. Hide his guys within the rebel forces. Given the disorganization of the rebels, it is hard to see how even outside ground forces can differentiate over the short haul. Hell, I’ll bet the rebels themselves don’t even know who all is fighting on their side.

a capella on March 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM

This isn’t our embarrassment – our military was “volunteered by others”.

Sowell Disciple on March 31, 2011 at 12:05 PM

the number of opposition fighters on the front lines are fewer than anyone would think and that they are poorly armed and badly trained.

No problem…

Reinforcements are on the way:


Al Qaeda’s Libya Pilgrimage

by Sami Yousafzai
& Ron Moreau
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-03-30/al-qaedas-libya-pilgrimage/#

Since the anti-Gaddafi revolution began last month, al Qaeda—especially Libyan-born affiliates—have viewed the fighting as an opportunity to spread their radical Islamist ideology. Indeed, as one Afghan Taliban operative who helps facilitate the movement of al Qaeda militants between the tribal area and Pakistani cities told The Daily Beast earlier this month: “This rebellion is the fresh breeze they’ve been waiting years for. They realize that if they don’t use this opportunity, it could be the end of their chances to turn Libya toward a real Islamic state, as Afghanistan once was.” 
If Yahya is successful in reaching rebel-held territory inside Libya, at least he’ll be able to operate with relative freedom, without worrying about Gaddafi’s secret police.

….Al-qaeda is celebrating “smart power” the same way the muslim brotherhood was celebrating it in Egypt:

EDITORIAL: Al Qaeda to Obama: Thanks
Toppling Arab governments feeds Islamist revolution
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/30/al-qaeda-to-obama-thanks/print/

Al Qaeda central’s views are detailed in the latest issue of their English-language propaganda magazine Inspire, which features a special section on “The Revolution.” American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki writes in an essay entitled “The Tsunami of Change” that, “Our mujahideen brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation. For the scholars and activists of Egypt to be able to speak again freely, it would represent a great leap forward for the mujahideen.

…Nothing exemplifies “smart power” like doing everything you can to help terrorist take over oil rich countries to further their goals of the modern Caliphate.

Baxter Greene on March 31, 2011 at 12:06 PM

It sure looks like Osama is winning the “Great War on Terror.” But I did not in my wildest dreams think that he would have a coalition of the US, Great Britain and France bleeding themselves dry to assist him in this enterprise…

PatriotRider on March 31, 2011 at 12:06 PM

If our primary objective is ditching Gaddafi, we put boots on the ground, kill him outright, or rely on the rebels and take the risk.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Which ain’t happening. We can even admit that’s our goal, yet we’re openly saying we won’t commit ground troops. This is all a waste of time and money.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Which ain’t happening. We can even admit that’s our goal, yet we’re openly saying we won’t commit ground troops. This is all a waste of time and money.

Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Then again, it’s a voluntary loss — not an inevitable one.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Sowell Disciple on March 31, 2011 at 12:05 PM

I’m not sure if you’re referring to my earlier post, but I meant no disrespect to our men and women in uniform. My comment rests solely on Obama’s lap. He’s the embarrassment. He has no clue as to what he’s doing, and it seems we’re all just supposed to look the other way, and let him continue down this destructive path, with no repurcussions.

capejasmine on March 31, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Let’s not forget that there was a time, mere weeks ago, when credible reports were that the military brass was one nod from Obama away from deserting Gadhafi – indeed, as the entire Libyan UN mission had done. Obama dawdled inexcusably, then amid daily confusion, contradiction and incoherence committed American blood and treasure. This is a case of a viable cause gone bad. He who hesitates is lost.

paul1149 on March 31, 2011 at 12:10 PM

ayfkm? We need to broker a deal and close this shameful episode.

perries on March 31, 2011 at 12:12 PM

The trained 1,000 training the untrained until they’re trained. Been done before.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM

You do know that Libya is desert terrain?

mjbrooks3 on March 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM

If the Libyan revolutionaries have numbered at most in the low single digit thousands all along, doesn’t this prove that the meme of ‘everyone wants to get rid of Kaddafi’, therefore we must support the rebels, is extremely questionable if not outright false? What if Tim McVeigh and his militia were going at it with Obama and government troops, should the Brits jump in with close air support (if they had it)? Sure, all us regular folks want to be rid of Obama, but it doesn’t follow that we want McVeigh and his militia in charge either.

Also, why is anyone taking the word of the “rebels” about massacres at this point- or ever frankly. Conflict of interest? This whole thing appears, and has from the start, to be an overly hyped story by the media which has lead to a behind the fact-curve chain reaction by the amateurs running the government.

JimP on March 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Oh the irony…the dopes back in Congress are going to cut the budget by what???….somewhere between 33 and 61 Billion???….meanwhile, by the time this Libyan fiasco is over we will have spent many times that amount, all the while the “war” or “kinetic action” was done without the Consent of Congress.

PatriotRider on March 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM

ted c on March 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

I have something better for you to consider…

Barack Hussein Obama
hmmmmm hmmmmm hmmmm

antisocial on March 31, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Meanwhile, Marines from Camp Lejeune are packing their sandals to join the rebels, they can’t take boots. This is a training facility so our military must be stretched pretty thin if they are sending men who just graduated into battle. This isn’t mission creep, our dear leader is digging a hole he can’t find a way out of. This is why he claims killing Qadaffi isn’t the objective.

Kissmygrits on March 31, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Here we have a fighting force using civilians as shields. Any enemy of the United States would be called out on this activity as a war crime. yet, here we are supporting them. Every combatant against Ghadaffi is being called civillian thus, Ghaddafi can do nothing other than kill civillians, making him out worse than he really is. This PR is complete BS and should not be tolerated by conservatives. We should be all about the truth, especially when it could very well be that we are supporting Al Qaeda operatives in this case.

astonerii on March 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM

You do know that Libya is desert terrain?

mjbrooks3 on March 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM

No, I was under the impression that a backwards Arab socialist country in northern Africa was an exact copy of the swamp terrain of Louisiana.

Of course I am. But their targets at the moment are (relatively) urban environments, and they’ve captured them before. Their problem has been holding those environments. They’ve been pushed out and back from them.

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Look on the bright side. This means there are < 1000 AQ fighters in Libya.

Kenosha Kid on March 31, 2011 at 12:28 PM

If this goes fubar with our troops involved, I can envision it spreading. The West is weak…

WitchDoctor on March 31, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Parity from the Wrath of Khan…..

Gaddafi: [hailing Obama] This is Col.Gaddafi. We tried it once your way, Obama, are you game for a rematch? Obama, I’m laughing at the “superior intellect.”

Obama: Full smart power!

Clinton: No, sir! You have NATO! You can have whatever…

Obama: [grabs Clinton in anger] FULL SMART POWER! DAMN YOU!

mechkiller_k on March 31, 2011 at 12:33 PM

THEN NO BLOOD FOR BUSH’S OIL BUDDIES!!

NOW: A LITTLE MARINE BLOOD IS OK FOR OBAMA’S AQ BUDDIES

angryed on March 31, 2011 at 12:38 PM

mechkiller_k on March 31, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Wow. I think you nailed it. Scary, but funny too. I’m LOL.

JimP on March 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Brackets
Bombs
Brazil
??????
$$$$$$!!!

Chuck Schick on March 31, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Shouldn’t Al Qaida at least pay us for all those cruise missiles we have used to support their side in the Libyan civil war? Seems like that’s the least they could do. They could get it from their rich Saudi friends if they are having any cash flow problems right now because of other commitments.

Heckle on March 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Smart power. It’s disturbing to watch it in action.

Snake307 on March 31, 2011 at 12:56 PM

1000 kooky extremists doesn’t exactly sound like a massive grass roots groundswell of an uprising, maybe Barry jumped on the bandwagon a little early.

Alden Pyle on March 31, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I’m starting to visualize the barricade battle from Les Miserables.

xkaydet65 on March 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Protected for how long? The coalition ain’t in this for the long haul. The political will isn’t there.
Doughboy on March 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Since Obama has stressed over and over that nobody, least of all us, is in it for even the short haul, much less the long haul, who in their right mind would join the “rebels”/terrorists only to have the rug pulled out from under them when we never come?

I think ordinary Libyans will hunker down, stay neutral, and bear with whatever Allah wills.

marybel on March 31, 2011 at 1:25 PM

And of the 1000, how many are ‘free-lance jihadists’?

petefrt on March 31, 2011 at 1:27 PM

chalk up another big win for the Kenyan.

james23 on March 31, 2011 at 1:29 PM

This doesn’t surprise me at all. I think that about 90% of the photo’s of “the rebel fighters” I’ve seen in the media show the same damn white dodge pickup with pink/purple fender graphics, chrome pipe running boards, and a .50 cal mounted in the bed.

bofh on March 31, 2011 at 1:32 PM

There may be 1,000 on the front, but NPR is reporting there are 30,000 rebels in Benghazi being trained by former Libyan army and the CIA.

BohicaTwentyTwo on March 31, 2011 at 1:33 PM

It seems someone in the admin thought they could recreate the liberation of Afghanistan.Air assets, Spec Ops,Fwd Observers, and the Northern Alliance.Unfortunately the Libyan rebels bear no similarity with the hardened, well led forces of the Northern Alliance.

xkaydet65 on March 31, 2011 at 1:34 PM

So basically, Obama and his band of tough girls (in the loosest sense of the word) are being played by a 68 year old goofball who gets his uniform ideas from Broadway shows and a bunch of guys in pick up trucks.
Sounds about right.

jjshaka on March 31, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Coulda sworn we were told a couple weeks ago that it was the Libyan people yearning to be free.

So, if the rebels constitute but a force of 1000, give or take, what is that? Out of a population of over 6 and a half million?

We’ve got more Tea Party guys in this county than we have rebels running around Libya. We could use a little support. How ’bout it, Washington?

coldwarrior on March 31, 2011 at 2:11 PM

The claims that there are only a thousand are ludicrous. Look at the pictures of the Ran Lanuf road, there are thousands in that one shot alone.

TallDave on March 31, 2011 at 2:14 PM

How do you think we trained our revolutionaries back in ’76?

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

You forgot the missing element of leadership (read character!) and Providence.

It was a miracle we won the war.

INC on March 31, 2011 at 2:16 PM

It was a miracle we won the war.

INC on March 31, 2011 at 2:16 PM

If you look at the record, the British lost the war. Bad generalship and interference a large anti-war segment of Parliament in London was probably more responsible for a rebel win back in 1781. We got terribly lucky.

coldwarrior on March 31, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Anderson says, “Effective number of fighting men, well under 1,000.

Into the valley of death rode the six hundred Libyans.

Does Gaddafi have more enemies fighting him in NATO than in Libya?

Steve Z on March 31, 2011 at 2:47 PM

In no time the number of civilians killed will surpass 1000.

Nice math U.N., U.S. and other assorted idiots.

Schadenfreude on March 31, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Might be a few cracks appearing in that coalition, if this turns out to be true.
AlJazeera:

2:36pm
Some key points from the first half of the NATO press briefings by Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, the chairman of NATO’s military committee, and Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, the commander of the operation in Libya:

–NATO is aware of a report of civilian casualties in Tripoli. The top Vatican official in the Libyan capital, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, told Catholic news agency Fides that at least 40 civilians died in Tripoli when a building collapsed. He also said air strikes had “indirectly” hit hospitals, including one in Mizda, 145km southwest of Tripoli. General Bouchard said NATO is investigating to determine whether its forces were involved.

Consider the source. Al Jazeera. Take with a ton of salt.

Steve Z on March 31, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Maybe we should offer free flights from Kandahar to Lybia for any al Qaeda or Tollyban that wants to join the fight?

slickwillie2001 on March 31, 2011 at 3:22 PM

1000?

A high school prom dance?

WTF?

percysunshine on March 31, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Not to worry, Obama is probably airlifting in al Qaeda from Iraq & Afghanistan to help their al Qaeda brothers in Libya…

albill on March 31, 2011 at 3:58 PM

capejasmine on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

I think this is one that gross incompetency trumps some sort of evil plan. Granted the results are the same.

Obama should have acted in the first few days, the Rebels had the momentum, AQ would have been blocked, thousands of good Libyans would have joined and stayed with the fight.

The fact that our air power has routed Daffys troops proves Daffys troops don’t have the will or the skill to fight.

It is hard to believe the Rebels in the early days were AQ veterans, as AQ veterans would have put up a much better fight.

DSchoen on March 31, 2011 at 4:17 PM

These “rebels” can’t even qualify as a paper tiger. More like a paper kitten.

They have a few defectors from the military that took (stole) military equipment. That’s about it.

ButterflyDragon on March 31, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Maybe we should just be sending over gangs out of a few of our major cities. They are pretty well armed and well seasoned.

katiejane on March 31, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Prediction: within two weeks U.S. Marines will be on the ground in Libya in a “limited, humanitarian action” to relieve “beleaguered, trapped” anti Gaddafi forces. Mr. Obama will blame the Gaddafi bunch for various atrocities that make it necessary we intervene. He will engage in circumlocution, dissembling and saying,”Oh! Look over there, a parrot!” as he announces this action. The MSM will give him a tongue bath and marvel at the nuances of the Obama Doctrine and the savagery on the part of the bad Libyans that made it necessary. It will be discovered – but not reported – that the “rebel” group is so small and weak as to be laughable (two bank tellers and a ribbon clerk) other than a sizable al Qaida component that is attempting to gain traction and acquire weapons such a shoulder fired ground to air missiles. This untenable situation will necessitate Gaddafi’s death at the hands of American forces or other agents and then the fabrication of another governance group (basically the same old guys) given a trumped up American blessing that will allow the US to withdraw in “record time” save for certain advisers and diplomats left behind – the kind that carry concealed weapons.

This action will involve the Marines killing as many of these folks as they can, but with heavy hearts and in the nicest possible way.

Mason on March 31, 2011 at 4:43 PM

So if the rebels win who could possibly claim a legitimate governance with so few people?

$50 says that if the rebels win Libya turns into Somalia on the Mediterranean or they replace Qaddafi with someone far worse anyways.

clement on March 31, 2011 at 5:05 PM

I wonder if this unfortunate turn of events has Obama running down to Walgreens for a pack of Newports?

tpitman on March 31, 2011 at 6:16 PM

“The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That’s how many guns were sold – including some 50-calibers they let walk.”

50-caliber weapons are fearsome. For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios begging and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: “Negative. Stand down.”

Check the rebels for 50- caliber.

journeyintothewhirlwind on March 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM

amerpundit on March 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM

I’m going to presume that you’re “not as hopeless as it seems” line is tongue-in-cheek, because otherwise it’s a poor joke, as well as bad math. If 1,000 men each train five more, that’s now 6,000 total.

These men don’t look well trained themselves, they are horribly unlikely to train anyone else, even if they found another 1,000 who were truly sympathetic to them.

In the larger sense, this is all good news. It’s quite likely that AQ was hoping to take over the oil riches of a rogue terrorist nation by staging this “protest” against a man who has run his country with an iron fist for over 40 years. Had we done any real investigating regarding the truth in Libya (such as the extensive investigating which wasn’t even enough for one Sen. Obama in 2003), any sane military commander would have avoided it at all cost.

Certainly K-Daffy needs to assume room temperature at the earliest possible date, but if we aren’t going to invade swiftly and decisively as we did in Iraq, we shouldn’t go at all.

By the way, I haven’t said it in far too long. Everyone loves to refer to the ongoing “war” in Iraq. There’s no such thing. We invaded, took over, and ended the major conflict for control of the country very quickly. What we have done there since then is provide military support for their attempts to craft a more free nation, in opposition to terrorist insurgents. The war was over when the national army submitted. The U.S. was always on the side of the freedom-wishing Iraqis.

Freelancer on March 31, 2011 at 10:36 PM