Operationally, Obama also erred by imposing self-defeating constraints on the U.S. military. Although American forces dominated the initial attacks, they were later restricted to mainly intelligence, logistical and support functions, while our allies carried out the bulk of the subsequent strikes. This display of multilateralism has unquestionably extended what could have been a short, sharp encounter into one that has now lasted more than 100 days.
Because of these missteps, Gaddafi still has control over parts of Libya. With no end in sight, the President and Congress have sent our NATO allies, Gaddafi’s government and the Libyan opposition a clear message in their confusion: That our resolve is weak, our commitment is uncertain, and our willingness to establish a pro-Western regime is minimal.
In turn, Gaddafi will likely remain determined to fight, and NATO will grow wobbly and negotiate a settlement that leaves the Libyan leader with at least partial control. And while the Libyan opposition undoubtedly contains more desirable alternatives to Gaddafi, opposition leaders admit there is a substantial terrorist presence within their ranks, and our blunders have increased the possibility that Islamic extremists will take over.