Libya rebels beg NATO to save Misrata

posted at 3:35 pm on April 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Libyan rebels warned that their only bastion in the Western region, Misrata, would fall without more support from NATO.  Moammar Gaddafi’s forces rained artillery fire on the city earlier today, reportedly killing dozens of civilians in an attempt to force the rebels out of the coastal city.  The rebels called it a “massacre”:

Libyan rebels begged for more NATO air strikes on Thursday, saying they faced a massacre from government artillery barrages on the besieged city of Misrata, but Western allies squabbled over how to respond.

Rebels said a hail of Grad rockets fired by besieging forces into a residential district of Misrata, Libya’s third largest city, had killed 23 civilians, mostly women and children.

Aid organizations warn of a humanitarian disaster in Misrata, the lone rebel bastion in western Libya, where hundreds of civilians are said to have died in a six-week siege.

NATO finally responded, but with airstrikes on Tripoli rather than anywhere near Misrata:

NATO warplanes launched air strikes on the Libyan capital Tripoli on Thursday and state-run Al-Libiya TV channel reported that there were casualties.

“Tripoli is now subjected to air strikes. There are civilian casualties,” a presenter said.

Reuters correspondents reported hearing four blasts and saw plumes of smoke rising from the southeast of the city.

Heavy anti-aircraft fire was also heard, before and after the blasts.

This calls into question yet again the mission of NATO.  If the mission is to protect civilians from the depredations of Gaddafi’s forces, why bomb Tripoli?  Why not strike the siege on Misrata and attempt to take out the artillery instead?  The bombing of Tripoli looks like an attempt to decapitate the regime directly, or to convince Tripoli residents to conduct a coup and rid themselves of Gaddafi and his regime.

NATO met today in Doha, Qatar, where confusion seems to reign.  According to the Reuters report, France and the UK want more assets in the air to attack Gaddafi, but the rest of the coalition has balked.  They want to stick to the UN mandate of protecting civilians rather than intervene explicitly on behalf of the rebels.  Some spoke of sending “non-lethal” weapons to the rebels, as if that would halt artillery and armor.

Where is the US?  Hillary Clinton warned about “atrocities” in Misrata, but offered no further assistance to intervene.  Coalition members had hoped to get the US to fly specialized missions to strike Gaddafi’s forces and force a pullback.  However, a group of five nations that include Russia, India, and China want NATO to stop its air strikes and end the conflict.

In short, it’s a mess.  Barack Obama helped launch this war, and then pulled American leadership and forces to the sidelines.  What has followed is a sorry example of Western diplomatic and military leadership in the absence of American strength.  Even apart from the question of who exactly these rebels are — a question good enough to keep the US from recognizing them — the lack of clear goals and commitment to meet them has been an eye-opening experience, as foes of the West have also no doubt concluded.


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Barry to Libyan rebels: Take one for The Gipper!

Christien on April 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

This is a cluster****. SNAFU soon to be FUBAR.

Joe Mama on April 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Some spoke of sending “non-lethal” weapons to the rebels…

Do we need to be heavy drug users to understand what this means, or does someone actually know?

sharrukin on April 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

And again, this weakness, this post American posturing is not going unnoticed in all the most dangerous corners of the world.

WitchDoctor on April 14, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Anti-tank tasers.

Bishop on April 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

from captain of the football team to cheerleader all under dear leaders reign

cmsinaz on April 14, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Where is the US?

We are deeply concerned and worried. Isn’t that good enough?

WashJeff on April 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

What has followed is a sorry example of Western diplomatic and military leadership in the absence of American strength.

We have a BINGO!

JetBoy on April 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

According to the Reuters report, France and the UK want more assets in the air to attack Gaddafi, but the rest of the coalition has balked.

Do the fickle French need to take the lead, to protect “Les Misratables”?

With friends like the US, Libyan rebels don’t need enemies!

Steve Z on April 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

There are civilian casualties

 
Hope and chainguns.

rogerb on April 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Quaddafi is waving at his subjects, from an open car.

This is a big finger at the U.S. and NATO, one fully deserved by the naive fools who ‘lead’ today.

Obama approval at 5-months low.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 3:55 PM

False pretenses in Libya.

Obama is henpecked by women and transitioned into a chicken, that is if he ever was a man.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM

The Frogs have a nuclear carrier. The Brits possess Apache choppers with Hellfires.Match them up and take out Qadaffy’s arty and armor.I mean, how hard is this?!

xkaydet65 on April 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Barry to Libyan rebels: Take one for The Gipper!

Christien on April 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

More like

Take one for the ‘Skipper’.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Barry just wants to diminish NATO, the U.S. military, and the presidency. He’s doing a bang-up job of it, too!

Christien on April 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Where is the media in all this? Oh I forgot a Democrat started this war.

WisCon on April 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

The rebels want 2 billion now. Make sure you don’t get fooled into sending them.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

According to the Reuters report, France and the UK want more assets in the air to attack Gaddafi, but the rest of the coalition has balked. They want to stick to the UN mandate of protecting civilians rather than intervene explicitly on behalf of the rebels. Some spoke of sending “non-lethal” weapons to the rebels, as if that would halt artillery and armor.

WTF?

Count to 10 on April 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

In short, it’s a mess. Barack Obama helped launch this war, and then pulled American leadership and forces to the sidelines.

-
And Barry shall forever get a pass on this mess… The MSM will under-report this… It is a clear example of a BHO failure… His lame attempt at foreign policy in action.
-

RalphyBoy on April 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Where is the media in all this? Oh I forgot a Democrat started this war.

WisCon on April 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

They’re in Obama’s ars and may they suffocate from what they consume there.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Some spoke of sending “non-lethal” weapons to the rebels…
Do we need to be heavy drug users to understand what this means, or does someone actually know?

sharrukin on April 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Squirt guns, those frozen “missle pops” you buy from the the cream man, sling shots, moon pies shaped like land mines and Mardi Gras beads for throwing at the enemy tanks.

kringeesmom on April 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Anti-tank tasers.

Bishop on April 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Well, I suppose a non-nuclear EMP would be non-lethal. How many pacemakers can there be in Libya?

Count to 10 on April 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

NATO coalition failing in Libya.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Squirt guns, those frozen “missle pops” you buy from the the cream man, sling shots, moon pies shaped like land mines and Mardi Gras beads for throwing at the enemy tanks.

kringeesmom on April 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

After reviewing my previous post, I have determined that this is not equipment for war, it is equipment for a party.

kringeesmom on April 14, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Non-lethal weapons?

Anyone think BB guns, stun guns, spit balls are gonna help?

marybel on April 14, 2011 at 4:16 PM

You know what would fix this right up? Another Obama speech on education or bullying.

a capella on April 14, 2011 at 4:16 PM

The president announced that he would support the Libyan rebels. He pointed to United Nations and Arab League authorizations to establish a no-fly zone and stop Qaddafi from killing his opponents. Helping the rebels win means using force to remove Qaddafi. Yet regime change is a mission that we insist is not our goal and would not be authorized by the international bodies to which we subordinate ourselves.

In truth, the Obama administration intervened without knowing who or what the Libyan rebels were, apparently on the theory that they were close to winning and seemed a far better option than Qaddafi. The first premise proved wrong; the second could be true but is still subject to debate. So we took a breather and quit military operations, hoping the Libyan mess would just go away, in the same way that dictators voluntarily stepped down in Egypt and Tunisia.

The U.S. government is no longer supposed to use hurtful vocabulary like “War on Terror,” “Islamic terrorism,” or “jihadist.” But some unnamed groups are still apparently trying to kill us. Otherwise, why would the White House keep the demonized Guantanamo Bay facility open? And for what purpose, and against whom, are we still employing the once-hated military tribunals, renditions, and preventive detention?

Fantasy apparently seems preferable to reality. In our new dream world, borrowed money need not be paid back. Cars may run on nasty gas, but only if it is produced in faraway places. Mean dictators should flee when told to leave. And radical Muslims are not really trying to kill us.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Days not weeks…

sandee on April 14, 2011 at 4:22 PM

OT: WOW Watching Cavuto. 28 lawmakers (demoncrats/libs) are going on a fast to protest $8B in cuts in state and federal aid programs. Moron congresswoman from MD on there saying: “if the children can’t get their food, they won’t be able to learn in school.” IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!! BLECH! Fasting only huh, why not just go on a hunger strike and be done with it…..

sicoit on April 14, 2011 at 4:23 PM

sicoit on April 14, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Sounds like winner.

a capella on April 14, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Message to all those US unilateral action haters, if we don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.

Speakup on April 14, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Thus continues the administration’s laughable pattern of (1) initially ignoring a problem; (2) recognizing it after the MSM tells them they might need to; (3) making a speech where they act like they were on top of things the entire time and are leading the way to a solution; (4) dropping it like a hot potato two weeks later when it’s no longer on the front page.

Erich66 on April 14, 2011 at 4:29 PM

This is only happening because those evil Republicans won’t let our undocumented president have a Lybia Czar.

slickwillie2001 on April 14, 2011 at 4:32 PM

reportedly killing dozens of civilians in an attempt to force the rebels out of the coastal city. The rebels called it a “massacre”:

So I guess next time some jihadi blows himself up in a market and kills dozens, we can call them “massacre bombers”? Same for when Palistinian rockets kill a couple dozen Isrealis, we can call it a massacre and finally condemn those Pali’s as they so rightly deserve?

Big John on April 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Bammie Lied, People Died: Obama Grossly Exaggerated the Humanitarian Threat to Take Us into Libya

slickwillie2001 on April 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM

sicoit on April 14, 2011 at 4:23 PM

cripe…peanuts is what we are cutting…peanuts…

we truly have to fail for these maroons to wake up

cmsinaz on April 14, 2011 at 4:45 PM

According to the Reuters report, France and the UK want more assets in the air to attack Gaddafi, but the rest of the coalition has balked.

Note to France and UK: Rebuild your own freak’n military so you can defend your own oil supply.

elfman on April 14, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Bammie Lied, People Died: Obama Grossly Exaggerated the Humanitarian Threat to Take Us into Libya

slickwillie2001 on April 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Wow, the original article comes from the NYT-owned Boston Glob. I’m surprised they printed it.

However, I’m not surprised at some of the Glob readers’ comments.

Well, who cares? Ten years after BushCo lied to get us into Iraq we’re still there throwing trillions into their economy–most of which can’t be accounted for–while our schools hold bake sales to buy pencils.

And my fave:

If we can only have more wars like these: zero U.S. dead, zero U.S. wounded, a couple of hundred million in cost. Versus 5,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 U.S. wounded, paraplegics, and amputees, with $2 trillion in cost from the morons in the last adminstration. I’ll take Obama’s wars anyday over Cheney and Bush’s.

But there are signs of sanity in some of the posts:

best arguement for obama’s libyan war is – Bush did it worse; or Bush lied- which i wondered how the ‘most stupid President ever’ was able tolie to the ever so smart democrats in the Senate and House.

Mr. Kuperman rightfully criticizes the exaggerated humanitarian claims Obama used to become involved in Libya. The most important reason has been swept under the rug. Hillary made him do it.

I’m pretty sure Obama went into Libya so we could all laugh at the peacenik hippies scrambling to defend him.

Leaders of the US and NATO should face trial for war crimes trials. Their crimes are exacerbated by the fact that they have in the past, and continue to rebuff efforts to bring about a negotiated ceasefire by the African Union, Turkey, and Venezuela.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Some spoke of sending “non-lethal” weapons to the rebels…

Do we need to be heavy drug users to understand what this means, or does someone actually know?

sharrukin on April 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

…It probably means he is sending the same “weapons” to the rebels that he arms our federal agents with that go into Mexico’s drug war……BEAN BAGS……

Baxter Greene on April 14, 2011 at 5:11 PM

cripe…peanuts is what we are cutting…peanuts…

we truly have to fail for these maroons to wake up

cmsinaz on April 14, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Biteth thy tongue!!!!! No fail allowed. Oh and by the by, I woke up this morning with the most horrible headache….what the heck did you put in that pitcher of drinky poos yesterday? Geeeeezzzzzz….it was well worth the headache my friend. Thanks again! :-)

sicoit on April 14, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Start of Libyan bombing 3/19/11. “Days not weeks.”

BTW Just how come it’s always, “… casualties were mainly women and children.” with these folks? Don’t any of their men actually fight?

Caststeel on April 14, 2011 at 5:15 PM

And my fave:

If we can only have more wars like these: zero U.S. dead, zero U.S. wounded,

…..and zero accomplished…..

a couple of hundred million in cost.

…Couple of hundred million????
……try over a billion already genius.

….But…But…But think of all the children and elderly people this money could have fed,medicated,and saved.

Obama’s wasting money in Libya that would have saved lives elsewhere……why does Obama hate children??????

Versus 5,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 U.S. wounded, paraplegics, and amputees, with $2 trillion in cost from the morons in the last adminstration. I’ll take Obama’s wars anyday over Cheney and Bush’s.

WWII:
….over 400,000 thousand killed…..tens of thousands more injured and maimed….millions of dollars that would have translated to billions in today’s dollar spent……millions killed in other countries like Russia,Britain, and France…..

……..yea…I will take Bush’s war over FDR’s war any day.

Only a dumba$$ liberal would go with this twisted logic.

Baxter Greene on April 14, 2011 at 5:22 PM

BTW Just how come it’s always, “… casualties were mainly women and children.” with these folks? Don’t any of their men actually fight?

Caststeel on April 14, 2011 at 5:15 PM

They are muslim….in war time…they use their women and children as human shields.

Baxter Greene on April 14, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Obama shouted “Khadaffy!” in a crowded theater (of war) and is now nowhere to be found.

Irresponsible Turd sandwich-in-Chief.

profitsbeard on April 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Excellent way for the left to rid the armed forces of the world of some of the high tech non-lethal’s we do have.

They send a bunch of sound cannons, MM wave generators and the sticky foam trucks over and they promptly fail because no one is properly trained in their use.

Ready made excuse to dump these systems next round of budget cuts as ineffective.

If that’s the leftists idea (they really hate these things), it’s a brilliant one.

Jason Coleman on April 14, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Barry to Libyan rebels: Take one for The Gipper!

Christien on April 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

More like

Take one for the ‘Skipper’.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM

More like

Take one for the ‘Hipster’.

Ogabe on April 14, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Non-lethal weapons to the rebels? Don’t give congress any ideas-they’ll start doing that to our own soldiers-after all they’d be 1 cheaper 2 non-toxic 3 would prevent the enemy from disliking Americans.

MaiDee on April 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM

As usual, the Europeans screwed up and expect us to pull their bacon out of the fire.

If we do pull their bacon out of the fire, WE should TAKE the oil and sell it at a significant markup to the Europeans. They might think twice the next time about trying to manipulate us. (Of course, a conservative Republican POTUS would simply laugh at the Europeans. It always seems to be the Democrats who get suckered into these things.)

{^_^}

herself on April 15, 2011 at 4:51 AM