US general says it’s beginning to look a lot like stalemate in Libya

posted at 3:35 pm on April 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

From the beginning of the Libyan adventure, the one point on which everyone agreed was that a stalemate would be the worst possible outcome.  If the mission was to protect civilian populations, a stalemate traps them in a war without any visible end in sight.  Most of those living in cities would have to evacuate or find themselves living in the middle of battlefields.  The resulting instability would create a failed state, and an opening for radical groups to recruit and train for operations around the world.  No one wanted a stalemate, but according to the man who commanded the opening act of Operation Odyssey Dawn, that’s exactly where we’re heading:

The U.S. general who led the initial phases of the Libyan mission says the operation is largely a stalemate and is more likely to remain that way now that Washington has transferred control to NATO.

One reason is that Moammar Gaddafi’s military has made a rather obvious adaptation to the air-only war waged by NATO:

Army Gen. Carter Ham said in a new tactic, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s forces are making airstrikes more difficult by placing military forces and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques.

The Washington Post reported this earlier today with a more colorful description of the tactics as “human shields”:

Libyan military commanders loyal to Moammar Gaddafi are blunting the impact of NATO’s air campaign by hiding tanks and artillery in densely populated areas where the alliance’s fighter planes cannot easily reach them, U.S. and European diplomats said Wednesday.

The shift in tactics has meant fewer targets for NATO warplanes, fueling complaints by rebels who say the quality of air support has plummeted since the United States turned over command of Libyan operations to NATO. Opposition leaders say Gaddafi’s forces are inflicting particularly heavy casualties on civilians in the rebel-held city of Misurata, where dug-in loyalists have been operating with little interference from NATO missiles and bombs.

NATO officials in Brussels acknowledged carrying out fewer strikes around Misurata because of fears of inadvertently killing civilians in areas where the Libyan military was cheek by jowl with civilians.

Put aside the still-unanswered questions of who and what the rebels represent in Libya, which is an argument about intervention in general.  The timing of the NATO operation practically dictated this outcome.  An air war might have worked had it started before Gaddafi’s forces broke out of the Tripoli area.  They would have been struck while in the clear. By waiting the three or four weeks that it took for the UN to act, the opportunity for a quick resolution to the war had already passed.  The only way to protect civilians now would be to put boots on the ground between Gaddafi’s forces and the cities, and the only way to push them out of the cities now would be to conduct urban warfare to dislodge them.

It’s still not out of the question that Gaddafi and his son will flee or get killed, which would put an end to this civil war.  That now has a lot more to do with luck than skill for NATO, thanks to the predictably inhumane tactics his forces have adopted.  NATO now faces more likely outcomes of either seeming too impotent to do much about Gaddafi, or to escalate this into an Iraq War-like confrontation with a massive invasion to end Gaddafi’s reign.  Don’t expect the Western nations to adopt the latter strategy.

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We’re less kinetic by the day.

Cicero43 on April 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

time-limited, scope-limited and results-limited action??

ted c on April 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM

hypokinetic.

ted c on April 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Odyssey Down

ted c on April 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Stalemate: the exact opposite of “time-limited, scope-limited”

Scrappy on April 7, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Odious Dumb

chimney sweep on April 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM


… Qaddafi’s forces are … placing military forces and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques.

Hmmm, that’s a new one! I don’t think we’ve ever dealt with an enemy who’d endanger his own people like this before!

Tony737 on April 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM

i’d send in hypnofrog..undercover of course.

DrW on April 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Years not months

cmsinaz on April 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM

For those of you who might have missed it, Mark Steyn’s take on this is priceless.

pain train on April 7, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Obama abandoned this whatever-it’s-called before it began.

Odyssey Dawn, aka The Beginning of a Long Journey will go on without him.

Fools of the world, rejoice!

Much as I despise all dictators of the world, I admire Gaddafi, grudgingly, because he is smarter than Samantha Power.

The Eunuch in Chief is henpecked by stupid women, and the world deserves him.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Bunga, Bunga…

Rocks on April 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Obowma’s war…

… It has his stink all over it.

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM

I don’t care if it’s a war or a street fight, when you run away in the middle of the fight you’ll never be a winner. This poorly thought out fiasco was a loser from day one.

rplat on April 7, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Plus, Obama won’t pay the Soldiers, now in 3 wars.

In the meanwhile, the Loretta Sanchez female-congresscritter from CA says she can’t “live without her paycheck” in a shutdown.

Rejoicy, U.S. America. Fools vote for fools then wonder what they’ve got.

I hate the most the Noonans and Althouses of the world. YOU made this idiocy, with your own foolishness. Suffer for eternity for what you have done.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 3:48 PM


… Qaddafi’s forces are … placing military forces and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques.

That’s why we need to deploy THIS … the SDB, “Small Diameter Bomb”…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VplddV722wo

Tony737 on April 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

General Carter Ham, former CG of the 1st ID, now commander AFRICOM, should have seen this a mile away on Day One.

I have to believe that similar to the disaster at Desert One, back in ’79, he had to deal with a President (or White House) that was making changes over changes up to and past the last minute on this one.

One look at who the rebels were when the Libya mess started within Libya a month ago would have clearly indicated that they were no effective fighting force nor could they become one in the near term. “Ragtag” is the kindest adjective I’ve seen thus far to describe them.

The only game changer on Day One would have been to put the 1st ID on the ground in Tripoli.

But, we were just, according to our President, establishing a no-fly zone and preventing the slaughtewr of civilians, nothing more.

This, this is what the Samantha Power Doctrine of using our armed forces solely for humanitarian missions looks like.

Next stop, Gaza…Bill Ayers is already on his way out there…give that some thought.

coldwarrior on April 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Bull
The civlilians are seeking protection from the trigger happy rebels. This is protecting civilians who support Gaddafi from armed Islamic extremist rebels.
That does not amount to “human sheilds”

LeeSeneca on April 7, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Next, the fool is going to dictate how many kids you’re going to have. Listen to the end.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 3:57 PM

This, this is what the Samantha Power Doctrine of using our armed forces solely for humanitarian missions looks like. – Cold

Looks a lot like the Klintoon Doctrine to me.

Tony737 on April 7, 2011 at 3:57 PM

So, will the Gov pay our military and then send them to Lybia?

Or will there be a “calling” of those men who signed for Selective Service to go somewhere we all don’t want to be in, in the first place.

upinak on April 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM

US general says it’s beginning to look a lot like stalemate in Libya

ALTERNATE HEADLINE:

Moammar Gaddafi easily pwns Obama!!!

landlines on April 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Shocking.

mad saint jack on April 7, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Ten years of kicking jihadi butt and blown to heck in 30 days of wishy washy hang wringing.

now that’s change alQ can believe in…thanks Barry.

DrW on April 7, 2011 at 3:59 PM

The whole thing is so absurd. What the heck are we doing mixed up in a Libyan civil war on al Qaeda’s side? Between Q’daffy and al Qaeda, al Qaeda has killed more American’s, and Q’daffy is no longer a threat to us while AQ still is—and we’re siding with them against Q’daffy?

Don’t get me wrong, I hate both enemies and am for bombing both if people really want to, but perhaps we should help Q’daffy kill off all the al Qaeda and Islamists types first, then settle with Q’d after.

FloatingRock on April 7, 2011 at 4:02 PM

The U.S. general who led the initial phases of the Libyan mission says the operation is largely a stalemate and is more likely to remain that way now that Washington has transferred control to NATO.

Yeah, but the stalemate will only last days not weeks.

1. Stalemate
2. …..
3. NATO backed rebels win!

Dusty on April 7, 2011 at 4:04 PM

OT: Breaking News!..Prosser has moved into the lead in Wisconsin!..Per Capt. Ed on his show..:)

Dire Straits on April 7, 2011 at 4:05 PM

They told me if I voted for McCain…

Drained Brain on April 7, 2011 at 4:05 PM

FloatingRock on April 7, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Obama’s numbers on foreign policy were tanking…Power (with no foreign policy nor military experience, ever) came to the conclusion that Obama needed a quick “win” in that arena, and using our military in such an open “humanitarian” way would win us friends all over the region and Obama would jump double digits in handling foreign policy.

Gadaffi got in the way. Big ooops on that one.

coldwarrior on April 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Dire Straits on April 7, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Best news I’ve heard all day! Confirmation?

coldwarrior on April 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Army Gen. Carter Ham said in a new tactic, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s forces are making airstrikes more difficult by placing military forces and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques.

New tactic? LOL. Maybe for Qadaffi’s troops, but this is SOP for Muslims.

Next up, switching to burkas as the uniform of choice.

Dusty on April 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Trump deals with the topic.

Plus, now a general says that U.S. is mulling troops in Libya. Change of topic from the shutdown.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Talk about cold hearted. That’s me. I think this is the best outcome not the worst- and there were no good outcomes, IMO. We should have stayed out of it, IMO. But since we didn’t, if they are in a standoff much of their time and energy will be occupied with the Muslims on the other side of the trench. Not on attacking the West. Terrorists were recruiting in Libya anyway so that looks like a wash at worst. The civilians will suffer, but we’ve been told for weeks now how they were suffering under Kaddafi already. So who can truly quantitatively say that they will suffer more in a stalemate. We can have the No Fly Pilots drop MRE’s and meds instead of bombs. Cheaper and it will “win hearts and minds”. Label the packs with “From Obama, With Love”

JimP on April 7, 2011 at 4:12 PM

What the heck are we doing mixed up in a Libyan civil war on al Qaeda’s side? – Float

A.Q.? These kids don’t even know how to fire what few weapons they can scrounge up. Not that A.Q. is as highly trained as Western troops are, but they at least know how to shoot their large stockpiles of AKs and RPGs.

Tony737 on April 7, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Same General…Carter Ham.

So, getting involved in a third land war in the Middle East is a good idea, against a target set that posed no threat to the United States nor NATO allies, and in support of Al Qaeda and the Ikhwan is a good move?

Maybe the plan is to overextend ourselves so when the stuff hits the fan in Gaza in about three or four weeks, we can honestly tell Israel that we are sorry and sympathize, but we got our hands tied?

coldwarrior on April 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM

… if they are in a standoff much of their time and energy will be occupied with the Muslims on the other side of the trench. Not on attacking the West. – Jim

Totally agree, Jim! It might send gas prices up, but not as much as getting hit again would.

Tony737 on April 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Gadaffi got in the way. Big ooops on that one.

coldwarrior on April 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM

…and we told them that at the time…they could pay us consulting fees :)

———
On WI, if the judge were as impertinent as the left, he’d declare victory now.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 4:15 PM

For those of you who might have missed it, Mark Steyn’s take on this is priceless.

pain train on April 7, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Absolutely hilarious. I love Steyn.

This is protecting civilians who support Gaddafi from armed Islamic extremist rebels.
That does not amount to “human sheilds”

LeeSeneca on April 7, 2011 at 3:54 PM

I thought it was about protecting innocent rebels from slaughter.
So which is it?

Badger40 on April 7, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Where are MacBamas three witches to guide us through? Anyone who can get the A-Rab League onside should be able to use their feminine whiles on a woman worshiper like the Duck of Death.

BL@KBIRD on April 7, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 3:57 PM

I listened to it. He seems smug about it.
But tries to joke it off some.
Maybe I’m just too pessimistic.
But has he given us anything else to go on?

Badger40 on April 7, 2011 at 4:22 PM

If it quags like a duck…

Dandapani on April 7, 2011 at 4:24 PM

I listened to it. He seems smug about it.
But tries to joke it off some.
Maybe I’m just too pessimistic.
But has he given us anything else to go on?

Badger40 on April 7, 2011 at 4:22 PM

He ‘jokes’ ’cause he has no clue how to answer such b/s. Those complex questions are something he’d read on prompter, not something he could formulate an intelligent answer to. He’s a dummy.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 4:25 PM

QUAGMIRE – QUAGMIRE – QUAGMIRE – QUAGMIRE – QUAGMIRE – QUAGMIRE

echosyst on April 7, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Well, duh. Experienced military analysts foresaw this from the beginning — along with the emerging “rebels are a ragtag, disorganized, not-an-army bunch” theme.

coldwarrior on April 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

I don’t see how General Ham could have failed to see this from day one. It looked to me like everyone in DOD, from Gates to the general and flag officers, was talking with stoic pain in his face as if navigating a rhetorical minefield. (Gates, in fact, simply disappeared from public view the weekend the air strikes started.)

Nothing is ever unsalvageable until the last piece of detritus has been burned or dumped overboard. But the Samantha Power/R2P motives that got us into this won’t get us out. The strategy will have to change. The wholly defensive R2P concept can’t produce a resolution, but it’s also unsustainable.

J.E. Dyer on April 7, 2011 at 4:26 PM

So Obama’s “war of choice” has has turned into a quagmire already. The First Brotha’s getting more like Bush with every day that passes.

HA!

Really Right on April 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM

“Next, the fool is going to dictate how many kids you’re going to have. Listen to the end.
Schadenfreude on April 7, 2011 at 3:57 PM”

Thanks for the link. His reelection campaign doesn’t appear to be off to such a good start. LOL

JimP on April 7, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Kaddaffy is playing chess while bam bam is playing checkers

we have never looked so Impotent in such a short time

the blame lies squarely on the leadership

and for that I’m glad since it strips another layer of disguise off of our commie in chief

Sonosam on April 7, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Quagmire?

BTW I just heard that Global Post photographer James Foley, who hails from here in NH, has apparently been captured in Libya. Prayers going out!

Del Dolemonte on April 7, 2011 at 5:05 PM

I wonder, since this mission was to save “innocent lives”, what comes next?

Another level of clusterfark or a, we’d like to help but our windsock spun180•

ha ha Barry sucks out loud for all to see

smart power

B+

roflmao

Sonosam on April 7, 2011 at 5:05 PM

It don’t matter. Obama is awsome. /s

MikeA on April 7, 2011 at 5:06 PM

What is so grotesque about this entire clusterfu*k is that Barry thought he could have a nice little election kick-off bit of shock and awe, and ride into the campaign as a tough guy. This was vanity politics from the beginning, and now we’re left with a mess for the next guy to clean up. If a Republican president were this go**amn transparent in his wag the dog efforts, the MSM and Congress would be crucifying him. Barry? Not so much.

Rational Thought on April 7, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Clinton got away with wag the dog, why not teh won?

WitchDoctor on April 7, 2011 at 5:15 PM

The great commie leader, Barry obama

funny watching him drown in his own recklessness

Just read that a daffy fighter defied the nofly zone, it’s an honor system I believe, and bombed 3 rebel tanks

ha ha

you suck bama, resign you effin dooshbag before you get someone killed

Sonosam on April 7, 2011 at 5:21 PM

As Rush said,

whatever room this idiot walks into, he is the least qualified

Sonosam on April 7, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Nearly Nobody on April 7, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Heh. Bill’s not likin’ the handwritin’ on the wall for his boy, is he? He wasn’t P.O,’d for the reason he stated,..he just didn’t like what The Donald said about Black Jesus.

a capella on April 7, 2011 at 5:43 PM

We have the world’s greatest military, we are the leader of the free world, and we can’t pound a rag tag bunch of camel jockeys into the sand. Seriously!

Kissmygrits on April 7, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Alternate headline: “Problems with Obama’s NOT WAR, War”

Maybe if Barry were to issue another ‘sternly worded memo’ to K-Daffy.

GarandFan on April 7, 2011 at 5:50 PM

But Obama is against “dumb wars“!

profitsbeard on April 7, 2011 at 6:44 PM

All together now–
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Stalemate
Everywhere you go….”

MaiDee on April 7, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Quagmire.

paulsur on April 7, 2011 at 10:54 PM