Libya Operation "Odyssey Dawn" news & analysis

    Going to use this thread to post information on topic in comments rather than clog up the "In the News" section with multiple posts. And others are welcome to contribute if they'd like.

    First item from Al Jazeera's Libya Live Blog:

    (All times are local in Libya GMT+2)
    Timestamp: 10:12pm

          The Pentagon says that the UAE and Qatar will also be involved in military operations in Libya, but will announce their involvement themselves.

          The operation falls under the operational command of the US African Command, under General Carter Hamm. Tactical execution is being run out of the USS Mount Whitney, Admiral Sam Locklear commanding.

          Off the coast of Libya, there are: 11 vessels from Italy, 11 from the US (including three submarines, each with 100 missiles on board), one from the UK, one from France and one from Canada.

          The no-fly zone will encompass Tripoli, Sabha, Natoura, Misurata and Benghazi.


    First wave of allied assault: 112 cruise missiles
    By Robert Burns, AP National Security Writer © 2011 The Associated Press.

    March 19, 2011, 5:19PM

    WASHINGTON — U.S. and British ships and submarines launched the first phase of a missile assault on Libyan air defenses, firing 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles Saturday at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya's air force.....

    Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff, told reporters the cruise missile assault was the "leading edge" of a coalition campaign dubbed Operation Odyssey Dawn....

    Video: Pentagon: Libya is 'multi-phase operation'

    BBC News, 19 March 2011 Last updated at 17:22 ET

    ....Speaking from the Pentagon, Vice Admiral Gortney....

    Video: Rebels Only Fighter plane shot down over Benghazi, Saturday 19 March 2011

    Footage shows the rebels' only fighter jet being downed over the Libyan city of Benghazi on Saturday, and shelling in the town of Misurata, despite the announcement of a ceasefire

    Video: Gaddafi's 'letters' to Obama and France, the UK and the UN

    BBC News, 19 March 2011 Last updated at 07:24 ET

    A spokesman has read out a letter on behalf of the Libyan leader Col Gaddafi to US President Barack Obama, closely followed by one jointly aimed at France, the UK and the UN.

    The tone of the messages was markedly different. The one to President Obama stuck a consolatory tone, while the other was more aggressive - accusing David Cameron, Nicholas Sarkozy and the Ban ki-Moon of meddling in Libyan affairs.

    The statement, made by Mussa Ibrahim, came amid reports that Pro-Gaddafi tanks have entered the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

    I can't think why you believe that Obama isn't in charge; all I read is that he IS, and that the rest is cover, though I do get that he was reticent.  I also know you like Pepe Escobar, and just ran into his 'Club Med War' piece.  Haven't read it yet.

    Once the Obama administration changed its mind, only a couple of days ago, and decided to push for the UN vote, it was a fait accompli that the U.S. military would be chosen for the command.  Especially as NATO was not, because of Turkey. (I see on Google news that Turkey's foreign minister has just been muttering something along the lines of we didn't really mean that, we are going to be involved though I was going to wait to post it until someone had more time to write up in more detail what he said.) Simply because we have all the military "infrastructure."

    I am still not convinced from what I see about meetings in the hours since the UN vote that the tactical decisions aren't being made via group consensus with the Europeans and the UAE and Qatar. I still don't get a sense that there's a Dictator Obama here as regards what General Hamm was instructed to do., rather it was decided  sort of by "committee" with input from all players. So far I even have seen some confused reports about France possibly jumping the gun. (See Juan Cole's post cited below on that.) Certainly France and the UK have been doing some serious military planning on this for weeks.

    I do think the U.S. media's natural Amero-centric bent will make it seem like this is a project by the US and everyone else involved is a lackey and checking other media sources will help clarify whether that is reality.

    As to Pepe Escobar I think he is a reputable analyst but also one that almost always has an agenda of looking for the worst aspects of US dominance, while ignoring faults in other governments and actors and ending up not looking at big picture because of that agenda  I don't always agree with him. If I was looking for an objective analysis about a story, I certainly wouldn't go to him first. I would however eventually look at what he's got because he's got good sources and handles them honorably, he just doesn't try to get all aspects or all sides. He's basically very much of an advocate of a certain ideological position.

    Did you read Escobar, appraiser? Most of his criticisms of the intervention relate to the financial/oil agendas of the countries pushing for a no-fly zone and (in almost equal measure) those of the BRICS countries that abstained. In other words, he's saying humanitarianism may have been a low priority for anyone in deciding which way to go on this issue. The U.S. and Obama get off pretty lightly.

    He's just as scathing about the hypocrisy of the Gulf states that are poised to take part, given that they've endorsed Saudi Arabia's crushing of Bahrain's democracy movement. I've made the same points in other threads, though not as trenchantly. All that being said, now that the lines are drawn, I'm hoping the coalition applies enough force to quickly drive Gaddafi from power. It will be a mess in his wake, but it will be a less solvable mess if he stays.

    Yes I read it. I think anyone who thinks by this date that bleeeding heart humanitarism for the civiilians of Libya, (rather than the ramifications of the results of not trying to help them) was the main motivating factor must be uninformed.  So I don't find it particularly astute to say those things, it's just another rant to me. Or I should say just another useless sermon from a writer who thinks he could run the world better than those doing it.

    There are other kinds of "humanitarism," like worrying about what will happen to the world economy and the citizens of your own country if you let certain situations spin out of control causing world destabilization. I do not know if the right choice was made, but I doubt from reading that that Pepe Escobar knows either. I certainly would NOT want them to do it only for the reason he says in his first paragraph would be "uplifting":

    to support the beleaguered anti-Muammar Gaddafi movement with a no-fly zone, logistics, food, humanitarian aid and weapons. That would be the proof that the "international community" really "stands with the Libyan people in their quest for their universal human rights"

    Because that would be following Paul Wolfowitz's view of what foreign policy should be: go around the world supporting democracy movements with firepower.

    What don't people get about Gaddafi being a wild card maniac with delusions of grandeur unlike the other dictators in the region who are first and foremost interested in stability to a serious fault? Both are abusing human rights, but if you are to do foreign policy for enlightened self-interest, it's the one with delusions of grandeur that's dangerous to your own citizens future well being, as in, yes, money: trade contracts, food prices, oil prices, as well as other international considerations like policing of terrrorism etc.. He's a human earthquake; the one who won't even make an effort to look like he's working within basic UN standards, the one who tells the UN to go fuck itself.

    So much to disagree with, appraiser. If you don't mind, I'll skip over your equation of Escobar's mindset and that of Wolfowitz. That I can't begin to wrap my mind around. And get right to your categorization ogf good dictators and bad dictators. Both abuse human rights, we agree. What sets Gaddafi apart is apparently that he's "a wild card maniac with delusions of grandeur." Hey, we all have our faults.

    Put yourself in his place. He's spent the past eight years trying (with some success) to live down his youthful bad-boy image. Renouncing terrorism and abandoning WMDs led to warming relations with the U.S., to the point where embassies reopened and John McCain could spend a pleasant evening chatting with him in his tent. For the past five or six years, stability has been Muammar's middle name.

    Then suddenly, through no fault of his, pro-democracy movements break out to his east and his west, and suddenly he's told he too needs to quit and go into exile at a minimum, and maybe even face a war-crimes trial. So he lost his cool and said some inflammatory things about "rivers of blood."

    Let me play the devil's advocate. When Gaddafi says the UN resolution is interference in Libya's internal affairs, he is absolutely correct. If an armed rebellion breaks out in one part of your country, any government has the right to suppress it. If the rebels prevail, they were right. If you win, you were right. Gaddafi's only mistake is that, over his 40-plus years in power, he's pissed off so many people that he has no real allies in the Arab world. Or anywhere, really.

    But that's not an indication of insanity; it's just a very, very bad strategic miscalculation. One he'll pay dearly for. By contrast, little Bahrain can turn for aid to big brother Saudi Arabia, which in turn has the U.S. by the energy balls. Genocide? Why the hell not?


    To play devil's advocate back. The international community really did sit by while he imported a LOT of mercenaries from other countries because his own people had rejected his rule ... then he attacked those cities with war planes, ships and rockets. By all rights the "rebels" appear to have overwhelmingly risen up from within their own cities to control the majority of the country. Qaddafi was winning because he placed all significant military assets in units under the direct control of his family members - and in the end winning would require killing thousands and thousands of civilians in every city that rebelled (most of them).

    When Qaddafi was at the same point causing civilian carnage as they are in Bahrain (or Egypt - where many were also killed) we were pretty stand-offish on the intervention. That said, a 40% minority importing the Saudi army because they can't legitimately maintain their own country is just as fucked up. I do sort of think maybe we have some other pressure points to work in that situation before asking France to blow up Saudi armored personnel carriers though. IMO, ALL of our allies in that region are kind of sucky at this point (no offense to any non-sucky allies my geographically-challenged butt may not realize exist).

    But yeah. Bad, bad miscalculation. Once he lost Italy's support he was done and should have known it. At some point it has become suicidal ... I really do question his sanity at this stage. He should have taken the out to Venezuela when he had a chance. All he did was ensure his children also saw their lives destroyed.

    He's doing what Egypt and Tunisia didn't do...stand his ground. It's not as if no one was aware he ruled with an iron fist so why all of a sudden is everyone getting a hard-on? Oil...pure, sweet and simple. It's an opportune time to wrestle control of Libya's oil fields away for private control. Shock doctrine stuff is behind it all...war is just a means by which they bring about the changes necessary for global corporations to sweep in and take advantage of the situation after the bombs and bullets stop flying for pennies on the dollar.

    Oy, your opinion is shocking for someone that seems to be such a great fan of the Egyptian revolution.. Alas poor poor Mubarak didn't know enough to hire the toughest thugs and mercenaries and keep at it with them until the UN did something about it, and after half of the standard army left him to start an armed rebellion, he could cry an attack on his sovereignity.

    And you top yourself with

    Then suddenly, through no fault of his, pro-democracy movements break out to his east and his west,

    Seriously, "through no fault of his own"?!! Even if you're not saying that in your own voice but in his, it's really ridiculous. I believe he's crazy, but not a dolt. No fault of his own?

    Basically, your whole argument is that he's a innocent dolt, who did the best he could as a benign dictator.. I don't agree. I think he's been torturing not just his own people but the entire international community with his games for decades. That's why he has no friends,.

    If you wish to respond rest assured you'll have the last word because I don't find this sort of discussion a very good use of time when there's so much good information out there to read and interpret. Suffice it to say I disagree with you. I do very much appreciate your comments regarding news items. To be honest with you, I don't understand why anyone would want to know my opinion on what should be done about this or that, I don't get the usefulness of that. I only answered  to be polite because you asked.

    I was, as you suspect, answering in Gaddafi's voice, appraiser. That why I began "Put yourself in his place," and got a bit flippant about "rivers of blood." Look, he really did think he'd charted a solid path to international respectability, meeting with world leaders who'd previously shunned him (Sarkozy, McCain, Berlusconi, etc.) and even signing a treaty of friendship with Italy in 2007. (Probably at Seif's urging, but still.) He'd been on his best behavior for the past five-eight years or so, and then Tunisia and Egypt go all democratic, and the contagion spills over into his own country. I'll happily agree that it's karma biting him in the ass, but he's thinking how unfair it all is.So yeah, he blusters about turning the Mediterranean into a lake of fire. Doesn't make him a madman; he's an aging tyrant who suddenly finds his back against the wall, fighting literally for his life. In his position, I'd suggest maybe battling to the death is as rational an option as any other he has.

    In all honesty, Wolfowitz's view of what foreign policy should be was America should push it's global dominance by any means available at it's disposal. When that got leaked to our European allies ... he had to go in for a bit of re-branding.

    Juan Cole:

    French Jets Defend Benghazi

    Posted on 03/19/2011 by Juan

    Aljazeera English is reporting that French fighter jets have destroyed 4 tanks....

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy surprised observers by announcing that French fighter jets were patrolling Libya’s skies already. The deployment was expected later on Saturday or on Sunday, in the wake of the meeting of a 22-nation spontaneous alliance formed to meet the UN Security Council’s mandate....

    Aljazeera Arabic interviewed Brigadier Gen. Safwat El Zayat (rtd.), an Egyptian military analyst and supporter of the Egyptian revolution, on the military situation in Libya. He was asked about the report that French fighter jets had taken out 4 Libyan tanks near Benghazi. Zayat said that pro-Qaddafi armor had moved up from Ajdabiya toward Benghazi in two columns, with the intent of breaching the rebel stronghold’s defenses and occupying the city center. The 32nd Special Forces Brigade, supported by tanks and led by Qaddafi’s son, Khamis, attacked on Friday and Saturday from the southwest. Another brigade, supported by tanks and heavy artillery and led by another Qaddafi son, Saadi, attacked from the southeast.....

    The French were attempting to deprive these elite brigades of their armored support and so level the playing ground for the rebel defenders of Benghazi. Given this air intervention, Gen. Zayat said....

    Worth reading the whole thing for Cole's further summary of what the Egyptian general said on Al Jazeera Arabic.

    I have to admit that I haven't been following this as closely as maybe I should, just because it is just getting to me the edge, but it seems to me the French are really pushing this, and being more highly involved than past "coalition" endeavors over the past decades (so I could be wrong).  But what springs to mind is the struggle they have between their secular government approach and the Muslim immigrant population in their country, and is there some connection. 

    There are so many possible agendas and vendettas with Gaddafi, one could go as mad as he is trying to psychoanalyze all the players. Because he is just devilish, there's no two ways around that, there's a history of him fucking with nearly everyone else's head. There's Italy all entwined in all kinds of business with him, the scandal over the UK's return of the PanAm bomber to him, the to do about himi wanting his money back from Sarkozy, that the west not so long ago crowing about the new reformed WMD-free Gaddafi. Then what is the deal between him and Lebanon? They ended up happily volunteering to sponsor and co-author the UN just could go on and on. Then there's something I saw in the stories from the BBC reporters who were held by Gaddafi forces, the slurs against Palestinians by the Gaddafi bigwig, what's that all about? I had no idea the Gaddafi regime had a hard on about Palestinians for some reason. Certainly the hard core Venezuelan opposition to Chavez would be cheering on his downfall, same for Ortega   Now if you check his "letters to Obama and others" above, he seems to be courting Obama and damning the others....

    One could posit that this maddening matrix of agendas and vendettas (where's Shakespeare when you need him) is alway there, everyday, at every diplomatic champagne gathering, and only once in a while something like Libya in its own way is able pull the curtain back to show us what is happening.  Or should I say push back the screens, ala Genet?

    9.50pm: The New York Times has significant behind-the-scenes details from the Paris summit, with claims that France's unilateral decision to strike Libya "angered some of the countries gathered at the summit meeting" – and suggestions that France blocked earlier Nato action.

    The implication is that Nicolas Sarkozy wanted the limelight while the Paris summit was under-way.

    The New York Times reports:

    That news [of French air strikes] came even before the Paris summit meeting adjourned, with President Nicolas Sarkozy announcing that French warplanes had begun reconnaissance missions around Benghazi, and the French military saying that a Rafale jet fighter had destroyed a government tank near there.

    Even though the leaders at the Paris summit meeting were united in supporting military action, there were signs of disagreement over how it would proceed.

    Two senior Western diplomats said the Paris meeting, which was organized by Mr Sarkozy, may actually have delayed allied operations to stop Colonel Gaddafi's troops as they were approaching Benghazi. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the matter.

    The initial French air sorties, which were not coordinated with other countries, angered some of the countries gathered at the summit meeting, according to a senior Nato-country diplomat. Information about the movement of Gaddafi troops toward Benghazi had been clear on Friday, but France blocked any Nato agreement on airstrikes until the Paris meeting, the diplomat said, suggesting that overflights could have begun Friday night before Mr Gaddafi's troops reached the city.

    from The Guardian's Libya no-fly zone – live updates, March 19

    Yeah, appraiser. That's one of the things that has been too lightly reported on: the domestic political calculations that are skewing the whole operation. Foremost is the calculations by electorally struggling Sarkozy and British PM Cameron that a quick little war will gain them popular support, like the Falklands did for Lady Thatcher. Conversely, Obama has to play down (or even reduce) the U.S. role because 6 in 10 Americans oppose further foreign conflicts. Same goes for Merkel. Toronto Star had a piece a few days back saying Canada's participation might be just the ticket for PM Stephen Harper to finally win a majority in the election everyone expects in a few months.

    Staging his Paris "emergency summit" photo op so France could get credit for striking first sounds like Sarkozy. He's not alone in his cynical manipulation of other people's lives, though. Remember Reagan secretly telling the Iranians to hold off releasing the hostages till he was sworn in?

    Lebanon files complaint to the UN over attack on embassy in Libya
    March 19, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    Beirut - Lebanon filed a complaint Saturday to the UN Security Council over the attack on the Lebanese embassy in Tripoli and the burning of the Lebanese flag....

    On day one, from accounts I've read, the U.S. has fired more than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles.  Those cost half a million apiece back in 1999.  So at least $60 million down the drain.  That would pay for a lot of teacher pensions.

    I read your blog on why we shouldn't get involved.  And I'm with you.  But I'm curious.  If you were president, given the public mood, what you do if you were in Obama's position, which in some way translates to how would articulate to the press why you didn't act?

    I think Obama has played this one about right so far. Our logistics and platform are being used as pivotal HQ but we really are kind of in a supporting role in many regards. The situation had reached the point where It would have been more than justifying inaction - we would almost have to come up with an explanation for blocking the actions of France and Britain (and Canada?).

    I'm willing to give this one a bit and see where it goes before I start bitching. I see all the competing threads here, and sure not everyone has perfect motivations ...  but I'm not of the opinion if we can't/won't intervene in Bahrain it's somehow highest hypocrisy unless we allow the Libyan opposition to be slaughtered as well.

    Tough question.  I guess I'd make a few points...

    1) We should be winding down wars, not starting new ones.

    2) Not right to spend money on Libya while calling for sacrifice at home.

    3) Why Libya and not Bahrain or the Ivory Coast?

    As for the current political mood... seems that a majority of Americans oppose our involvement in Libya.

    1. Sounds great. Seems to be largely a function of events not entirely within our control though. Good as a rule of thumb bad as a truism.

    2. But then, we've already addressed the fact that the calls to sacrifice at home are largely top-end greed based and not particularly based in reality. Kind of an odd thing to hang one's hat on. The solution is to adopt a domestic narrative that is a little less bullshit-based (true regardless action in Lybia).

    3. Because there is a confluence of international partners and other real-world factors that make action in Lybia tenable where the other two hypothetical nations you toss out simply are not (or at least I have not heard a plausible intervention scenario floated). If there are three babies floating down the river in a flood - if you could save one, do you let it die anyway because the other two can not be retrieved?

    I read it's a million apiece these days. On the bright side ... we already paid for 'em anyhow - at least they weren't wasted. :-|

    On Spain, UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Denmark, Canada:

    From Al Jazeera's Libya Live Blog - March 20

    (All times are local in Libya GMT+2)


    Spain's defence ministry in a statement said four F-18 fighter jets and refuelling aircraft have been sent to the Italian base on the island of Sardinia as part of international air raids on Libya. It will also deploy an F-100 frigate, an S-74 submarine and a CN-235 maritime surveillance plane.

    The statement said:

        These planes will carry out patrol mission and will be operational from tomorrow, Sunday.


    AFP reports that the United Arab Emirates will be contributing 24 fighter jets (Mirage 2000-9s and F-16s) and Qatar will contribute between four and six Mirage 2000-5s, citing a French official.

    From The Guardian's Libya no-fly zone – live updates, March 19

    12.56am: Qatar's prime minister has told local new channel al-Jazeera that Qatar will definitively participate in the military action in Libya

    "Qatar will participate in military action because we believe there must be Arab states undertaking this action, because the situation there is intolerable.... it has become an open war involving mercenaries. I think that this is an issue that must stop very quickly," Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said, adding:

        We do not accept any harm coming to the Libyan people. We are not targeting the Libyan people, or targeting even the colonel [Gaddafi] or his sons, quite the opposite. How can we stop the bloodshed, this is our intention.

    12.29am: Turkey appears to be ready to aid the military action against Libya, despite earlier public disapproval of the UN sanctioned intervention.

    But now Turkey says it will make "the necessary and appropriate national contribution" to implementing a UN no-fly zone over Libya and protect civilians, its foreign ministry said in a statement: "Within that framework the necessary preparations and studies are being made by civil and military authorities".

    11.40pm: A correspondent for al-Jazeera reports seeing Danish, Spanish and Canadian planes at the Italian air force base in Sigonella, Sicily, being refueled.

    10.50pm: Qatar and the UAE will be sending forces to the no-fly zone. AFP is reporting that the United Arab Emirates will be contributing 24 fighter jets – Mirage 2000-9s and F-16s – while Qatar will contribute between four and six Mirage 2000-5s, according to a French official.

    Thanks for this live blogging.

    Et tu Turkey?

    These announcements are bound to affect those Qaddafi supporters who are simply front runners.I've seen no hard data on that. Ten days ago we read a lot that the Libyan Army was disaffected and might shift sides .That seemed to have been soft peddled since then . But if it's true this drum beat of  increasing  support might be a trigger. Hope so . 

    The Libyan forces that attacked Benghazi yesterday were two special brigades personally commanded by two of Muammar's sons -- not regular army at all. Col. Gaddafi has never trusted the Libyan military ever since it overthrew King Idris and put him in power. Much of the military in the east of the country has already defected. That jet that got shot down over Benghazi yesterday was being flown for the rebels by a defecting air force pilot. Looks like it was accidentally hit by rebel AA fire.

    We are waiting for you and so are the fishs (sic.)

    From Reuters via New York Times video: Gaddafi Backers Defiant as Allies Strike

    available @

    At Qaddafi Compound, a Human Shield
    By David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, March 19, 2011

    TRIPOLI, Libya — Even as the allied intervention began, a group of foreign journalists were bused on a rare visit inside Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound — a labyrinth of concrete barracks, fortified walls and barbed wire designed to deter potential military coups.

    There, hundreds of supporters offered themselves up as human shields, cheering to newly minted dance songs about their adoration for their leader. “House by house, ally by ally,” the catchiest song went, quoting a Qaddafi speech. “Disinfect the germs from each house and each room.”

    The crowd included many women and children, and some said they had family in Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. They said they had come to protect Colonel Qaddafi’s compound from bombing by volunteering to be shields....

    The thing about Libya is that it has way more geography than it has people.

    I don't know if Seif Gaddafi is well read on Libya's history as a World War II battleground, but I can't read current reports without thinking: linear country, stretched supply lines, lack of air superiority -- I think I know how this ends.

    I think they were gambling on getting heavy armor into all the contested cities before the allies managed to deploy. It seems like the instant the UN resolution was announced they started an all-out sprint.

    My guess is they figured once within the cities it would reduce the ability for allied air power to challenge without civilian damage and at the same time seriously undermine claims of uncontested peaceful control by the local populations in upcoming propaganda wars. In the best case, they could demand the ceasefire be enforced on both sides and by default assert legal control/jurisdiction just by being there at the correct moment. They have already started trying to float some arguments along these lines.

    That was definitely the plan. But as I wrote elsewhere, Obama in his speech called for withdrawal of government forces some distance around a number of cities, including Zawiya, which Gaddafi appears to have recaptured more than a week ago -- not likely to happen. Gaddafi has also called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council, presumably to haggle over "details" of the ceasefire. I doubt that request is going anywhere.

    They apparently don't have anyone with standing to request the meeting.

    Gaddafi appointed Treki as his UN envoy on March 4, after Libya's previous representatives to the UN, Abdurrahman Mohamed Shelgham, and Ibrahim Dabbashi, distanced themselves from Gaddafi and played an instrumental role in passing Resolution 1970.

    The US refused to allow Treki to travel to New York to take up the post. Treki must present himself in person to the Secretary-General in order to be accredited as his country's new ambassador.

    In the meantime, Gaddafi has no representative at the UN, meaning he has no legal way to lobby support against block any resolutions concerning Libya.

    Ali Treki, is staying at the same Tunisian hotel where Ban Ki-Moon is booked when he arrives on Tuesday. Think he's trying to present himself for accreditation ... all process server stylie?

    The seemingly sanctioned White House narrative.


    Catching up on Georgia political news this am, found a brief Q&A with Sam Nunn from before the UN resolution.  As always on FP, a thoughtful and informative response.

    It is Nunn’s curse that, until the end of his days, Georgia will be asking him what to make world affairs. Before that luncheon, he was asked what to make of Muammar el-Qaddafi’s resurgence in Libya.

    Should the U.S. help establish a no-fly zone?

    In essence, Nunn said he wasn’t sure. “If I were in charge, I would certainly be asking the military why we shouldn’t. And I’d be listening carefully to reasons why they say we shouldn’t. And there are reasons,” Nunn said. “But I would be leaning forward on that one — particularly since the Arab League has requested it.”

    And yet he had doubts. “I don’t know if it’s too late or not. But you really have a hard time stopping helicopters,” Nunn said. “They can fly low, they can land quickly. It’s hard for F-16s to chase helicopters.”

    And what do you do if it doesn’t work? Nunn added. Under no terms does he think U.S. ground troops should be used. “We can’t do that,” he said.

    His was not a binary, black or white answer that would sell well on cable TV. But remember — that’s a good thing.


    Another version is <<here>>:

    Insider: Is it too late?

    Nunn: “I don’t know if it’s too late or not. But you really have a hard time stopping helicopters. They can fly low, they can land quickly. It’s hard for F-16s to chase helicopters.

    “My question is, do we really have a framework for when we go in with military? I think we’ve kind of lost that framework. I would divide our interests into three categories. One is ‘vital’ – that’s certainly the only case in which I would have on-the-ground intervention.

    “The second category I use for lack of a better term is ‘important.’ And the third category is ‘desirable.’ The latter two categories – I think we have to use other tools….

    “We are strung out. We’ve got military personnel that are going four and five times into Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve got a great increase in the suicide rate in our military. And we owe the world trillions of bucks.

    “If this was a business transaction, and we were thinking of intervening militarily, we’d have to go to our bankers and say, ‘Would you finance it?’ And the banker is, in most cases now, China.

    “The best thing we can do for democracy in the world, in my view now, is get our own fiscal house in order. If we don’t do that, America’s leadership in the world, even with successful interventions, is going to be in greater and greater doubt.”


    Not sure I agree with him on the finance/economics of the thing but he has spent a lifetime on the military / foreign policy issues.  And, as I said, he always provides new information or perspectives to news events.


    Nunn's smart.



    Still more Sam Nunn on the Middle East from Political Insider Jim Galloway


    Insider: We have Muammar el-Qaddafi resurgent in Libya and Saudi Arabia sending 1,000 troops into Bahrain. What do you see happening over there?

    Nunn: “The big one to watch is Egypt. As tragic as what’s happening in Libya now is – we certainly have every reason to be concerned about it – the real effect of what’s going on in the Middle East will be determined more by Egypt than anywhere else.

    “And I would say the close second to that – in economic terms, probably first place – is probably Saudi Arabia. Politically, Egypt makes the most difference. Economically, Saudi Arabia makes the most difference.

    “So far, Saudi Arabians don’t have huge protests at home, but their intervention in Bahrain, which just happened, has got to be shaking up the marketplaces, because it indicates the situation in Bahrain is being viewed more as a Sunni-Shiite type of confrontation. And that spells trouble in a lot of areas, including – the Saudis have a very large presence of Shiites in their oil area. They’re a distinct minority, but they’re in very crucial areas.

    “I’m sure the market today and what’s happening is reflecting not just what’s happening in Japan, but also the instability that’s becoming increasingly apparent in the Middle East….

    “I think the trend in the Middle East is not going to be a one-time situation. I think it’s going to continue to fester.”


    Insider:  And what about Libya?

    Nunn: “Now, Libya is a difficult case because Libya has such weak institutions. They don’t have the history that Egypt does, Their military, instead of identifiying with and protecting the people [has sided with the regime.] That’s why I have a lot of hope for Egypt. Because the military retained its credibility. In Libya, they’re not going to retain their credibility. They’re being used in a brutal way against people. And that means instability in Libya is going to continue, one way or the other, for quite a while.

    “Whether we should do the no-fly zone — if I were in charge I would certainly be asking the military why we shouldn’t. And I’d be listening carefully to reasons why they say we shouldn’t. And there are reasons. But I would be leaning forward on that one – particularly since the Arab League has requested it.”

    Insider: Is it too late?

    Nunn: “I don’t know if it’s too late or not. But you really have a hard time stopping helicopters. They can fly low, they can land quickly. It’s hard for F-16s to chase helicopters.

    “My question is, do we really have a framework for when we go in with military? I think we’ve kind of lost that framework. I would divide our interests into three categories. One is ‘vital’ – that’s certainly the only case in which I would have on-the-ground intervention.

    “The second category I use for lack of a better term is ‘important.’ And the third category is ‘desirable.’ The latter two categories – I think we have to use other tools….

    “We are strung out. We’ve got military personnel that are going four and five times into Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve got a great increase in the suicide rate in our military. And we owe the world trillions of bucks.

    “If this was a business transaction, and we were thinking of intervening militarily, we’d have to go to our bankers and say, ‘Would you finance it?’ And the banker is, in most cases now, China.

    “The best thing we can do for democracy in the world, in my view now, is get our own fiscal house in order. If we don’t do that, America’s leadership in the world, even with successful interventions, is going to be in greater and greater doubt.”

    Insider: Part of what you just said sounds like what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said at West Point only a few days ago.

    Nunn: “I think we ought to listen to Gates.

    “That brings to mind a Richard Russell quote from many years ago. He was briefed on the plans for the C-5 aircraft, before it was going to be built in Georgia. They were trying to sell him on the concept.

    “They came down hard, and said, ‘Senator Russell, if we build that aircraft, we can project American military force everywhere in the world when we want to.’ And Senator Russell said, ‘That’s exactly the problem.’

    “…But I think it’s absolutely clear, if we do the no-fly zone, assuming it’s not too late, it’s essential that we say this is not a vital interest of the United States. So if it doesn’t work – the next step is that people all over the world will be demanding that we go in with ground forces. We can’t do that.”


    Interesting stuff, however, to access US involvement, one needs access to view what's in the pipeline. Depending on where one looks, the view tells a partial story of what's going on, who the players are, what they're capable of and so forth. It's all missing in these reports. Some of the stuff I read doesn't quite agree with what's I've heard, seen, read and so forth from more reliable resources. Also haven't heard a word about embedded correspondents, have you? The subtly is worth noting over the noise being generated. And note too, the French were the first strikers and there was tons of info about the Brits too gearing up with Tornado's, but nothing much other than naval forces on the US side positioning themselves as well as naval air stations Sigonella and partial reference to Souda Bay giving air support...the US has much more assets that aren't even being mentioned which may or may no be participating.

    And just to add some spice to the mix, I suspect the only reason why the US is even involved is because of their NATO membership...if NATO decides it's an issue they need to be involved in, the US has little choice but to follow their lead. Puts US involvement in a whole new ballpark and a whole new game.

    It's not NATO, so far it's three European countries and Canada. Some Gulf Arabs and some Scandinavians may join in later. The National Journal article kgb quotes upthread sounds credible: the Security Council wouldn't have passed a no-fly resolution (much less the robust "all measures" language) if Obama hadn't decided to go all-in. I can see why Obama wants to take the line "We're just facilitators," but it's tough to swallow when the operation has an American commander.

    Spain and Italy are phrasing their base contributions as as "opening them to NATO" (Italy, at least, committing air assets as well).  It kind of looks like Turkey is positioning itself as interlocutor (which actually answers a few nagging concerns - and leaves a way to negotiate exit), but they are recognizing the UN resolution not blocking NATO involvement.

    I'm not discounting our participation ... but I'm not seeing this as a unilateralist move by any stretch of the imagination either. I can't find the link but there were nearly a dozen countries with air/sea assets committed for combat missions as of last night - many from across Europe. Germany seems to be the only one not supportive.

    Germany seems to be the only one not supportive.

    Let's just say late last night there were an awful lot of low flying aircraft running with full afterburner and they weren't Americans.

    Embeds with who? There are no coalition troops on the ground.  What might you be thinking of? Embeds with French bomber pilots? Embeds on one of the ships in the Mediterranean? "Embeds" with the rebels in Benghazi?

    I guess you could say the reporters in Tripoli are embeds with the Gaddafi goons. They've been complaining about that in their reports for quite some time, i.e., they are not letting us leave the hotel right now, they took us to see another pitiful Potemkin Village demonstration of Gaddafi supporters, etc.

    So you have a problem seeing the forest because all those trees are blocking your view, eh?

    It appears that Arab League support for what is taking place might be eroding. Reuter's reports:


     In comments carried by Egypt's official state news agency, [Arab League and possible candidate for the Eqyptian presidency] Secretary-General Amr Moussa also said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss the situation in the Arab world and particularly Libya.

     "What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," he said.


    "He requested official reports about what happened in Libya in terms of aerial and marine bombardment that led to the deaths and injuries of many Libyan civilians. He pointed out that he asked for the full data to know what actually happened," MENA said.

    Until somebody else demurs, that's just Moussa. The Gulf states pushed hardest for the no-fly zone, and I'm sure they were kept in the loop as to what the resolution would say, and what it implied. Much like the the UN vote, the Arab League was "unanimous" but with abstentions. I can't see much likelihood of a reversal now. Still, quite an unholy mess.

    Sarkozy, merci beaucoup, Obama, merci beaucoup:

    Uploaded by Al Jazeera English, March 20, 2011

    That bit at the end about them expecting this to be "their air force" now was rather ominous. Pretty high expectations. Ahhh well. Just a few hours ago those people figured they were fucked and had resigned themselves to some flavor of brutal death, they've got to be pretty pumped up.

    That bit at the end

    Maybe a bit of reporter's spin of what they said.. On the other hand, I noticed he was mostly dealing with young guys hanging around the scene after the fact, and hopefully the rebel commanders who are busy with um, other things, especially those that are defectors from the actual military, aren't that naive. Unless they got something similar to the French Resistance in WWII getting secret messages out to the bombers, which I doubt, if there's no communication about where/.what tis going on, there's going to either be a lot of fubar or they are not going to do much more than what was done in the Iraq no fly zone of the pre-W .Bush years. The UN gave them the green light to do more, but I am starting to wonder if they will if they don't have good intel. I'm not that savvy on military ops, though, maybe once they have knocked everything out they can set up communications? I'm sure we'll be finding out eventually.

    I spoke too soon:

    Allies Target Qaddafi’s Ground Forces as Libyan Rebels Regroup

    By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and ELISABETH BUMILLER, New York Times, March 20, 2011

    TRIPOLI, Libya — American and European militaries intensified their barrage of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces by air and sea on Sunday, as the mission moved beyond taking away his ability to use Libyan airspace, to obliterating his hold on the ground as well, allied officials said....

    I still stand by the basic point I was raising,though, which is--this is where it's not so easy to avoid civilian and friendly fire casualties, especially without very good intel.

    The coalition forces can get pretty good intel. They already had excellent satellite surveillance, and to the extent they now have near-total air superiority, they can fly reconnaissance missions at will. And that includes helicopters, not just fixed-wing craft. The good thing about choppers is you can land them long enough to liaise with rebels on the ground. I checked the actual UN resolution and it merely rules out "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory." Which I take to mean any permanent troop presence, not a 15-minute stop to confer with the local rebel commander. I have no clue if that's part of the coalition plans; I'm just saying the UN resolution doesn't specifically rule it out.

    On intel from the rebels, the U.S. military strongly and repeatedly denied Monday that they are getting it or using it for strikes. From Bumiller and Fahim's March 21/22 New York Times piece (also cited downthread)

    ....United States military commanders repeated throughout the day that they were not communicating with Libyan rebels, even as a spokesman for the rebel military, Khaled El-Sayeh, asserted that rebel officers had been providing the allies with coordinates for their airstrikes. “We give them the coordinates, and we give them the location that needs to be bombed,” Mr. Sayeh told reporters.

    On Monday night, a United States military official responded that “we know of no instances where this has occurred.”

    Earlier in the day, General Ham repeatedly said in answer to questions from reporters that the United States was not working with the rebels. “Our mission is not to support any opposition forces,” General Ham said by video feed to the Pentagon from the headquarters of Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany....

    Mr. Sayeh said that there were no Western military trainers advising the rebel fighters, but that he would welcome such help. He added, with evident frustration, that the rebel fighters on the front in Ajdabiya “didn’t take orders from anybody.”

    Like other rebel military officials, Mr. Sayeh said the rebels had been working to better organize their ranks to include members of specialized units from the Libyan Army that would attack Colonel Qaddafi’s forces when the time was right. But evidence of such a force has yet to materialize.

    The rebels appeared to have fallen into some disarray as they returned from Ajdabiya...

    [....] Apparently this role of taking out Qaddafi’s air defenses is the primary one envisaged for the US, after which it will fade into the background and allow other UN allies to take the lead. In Paris, the Qatari foreign minister announced that Qatari jets would join the mission, but did not say when.[....]

    --By Juan Cole, "UN Allies Bombard Libya to Proctect Protesters," Informed Comment, March 20, 2011

    [...].Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned against widening the current allied operations to include a direct attack on Gadhafi, who earlier Sunday labeled the coalition "terrorists."

    Anything that goes beyond enforcement of the no-fly zone and prevention of new military attacks on rebels risks disrupting the "very diverse coalition" that agreed to the attacks, said Gates, adding there was unanimous agreement in the top echelons of the Obama administration to push forward with military action in Libya.

    U.S. officials said they plan to hand over operational control of the military mission in coming days..[....]

    National Security Adviser Tom Donilon scoffed at the report of the cease-fire, saying, "It isn't true or it was immediately violated."

    "We are not going after Gadhafi," Gortney said at a Pentagon press briefing. "Regime forces are more pressed and less free to maneuver."

    Asked about reports of smoke rising from the area of Gadhafi's palace, Gortney said, "We are not targeting his residence."

    The Libyan government has claimed that 48 people, including women, children and clerics, have died in allied attacks.

    A member of the Libyan opposition told CNN that the Gadhafi government collected bodies of people killed in fighting in the past week and displayed them over the weekend, trying to show they were killed by coalition airstrikes.

    The claim by Ahmed Gebreel, who cited eyewitnesses and medical officials, could not be verified by CNN..[....]

    But Arab League chief of staff Hisham Youssef said Moussa's comments did not signify a shift by the organization.

    "The Arab League position has not changed. We fully support the implementation of a no-fly zone," Youssef said. "Our ultimate aim is to end the bloodshed and achieve the aspirations of the Libyan people." [....]

    Gadhafi had said the strikes were a confrontation between the Libyan people and "the new Nazis," and promised "a long-drawn war."

    "You have proven to the world that you are not civilized, that you are terrorists -- animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you," Gadhafi had said in an earlier televised speech.

    Gadhafi did not appear on screen during his address, leading Robertson to speculate that the Libyan leader did not want to give the allies clues about his location.

    At the same time Gadhafi spoke, his regime was shelling Misrata using tanks, artillery and cannons, a witness said.

    "They are destroying the city," said the witness, who is not being identified for safety reasons. He said rebels were fighting back.

    Sounds of heavy gunfire could be heard during a telephone conversation with the man. There was no immediate word on casualties. [.....]

    ---By CNN's  Nic Robertson, Arwa Damon, Yousif Basil, Charley Keys, Chris Lawrence, Jill Dougherty, Elise Labott, Ed Henry, Larry Shaughnessy, Jim Bittermann, Paula Newton, Richard Roth, Maxim Tkachenko, Niki Cook and journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy,

    Building in Gadhafi compound possibly struck by cruise missiles, March 21, 2011

    More on Gaddafi as a target and the regime change questions:

    News Analysis: Target in Libya Is Clear; Intent Is Not

    By Helen Cooper and David E. Sanger, New York Times, March 20, 2011

    The above covers a lot of bases but I note on Google News just now there is is this new item past the deadline for the above article, countering the U.S. command messages:

    Libya crisis: Gaddafi could be targeted, says Liam Fox

    BBC News, 21 March 2011 Last updated at 03:56 ET

    Defence Secretary Liam Fox has said making Col Gaddafi a target during raids by allied forces could "potentially be a possibility".

    though it should be noted that combining "potentially" with "possibility" is an awful lot of qualifiers, suggesting something to me akin to the diplomatic use of : all options remain on the table, i.e., you should fear that we could do things to you beyond your imagination, so just give up whydoncha.

    And it also be a case of nobody in charge of the messaging, not exactly an unheard of thing in the recent past as regards more than one government or two much less an ad hoc international coalition.

    This "blow by blow" of the Libya business is just another endless replay of the same old shoit we have been living since the end of the Cold War. We are really getting to be a tired old harlot of a superpower, aren't we? I wonder how long we can keep up this bombing people to make them "free"?

    BTW... something that was very much noticed outside the USA, but completely ignored by US media is that Lula pointedly didn't attend the lunch that Dilma Rousseff held for Obama and that this was so important for the Brazilian press, that Rousseff had to cancel the joint press conference that she and Obama were scheduled to have held. So that is some interesting fall out from the Libyan affair, POTUS gets stood up by someone he has defined as "the world's most popular politician". This is really important and no American media has even mentioned it.

    I looked on-line for some concrete statement that Lula made about the affair, but I couldn't find any (maybe my google-fu is just weak this morning). Do you have a link indicating that Lula "pointedly" didn't attend, or is it just that he didn't attend, and some journalists are speculating that he didn't do so "pointedly"? If the latter, that's less journalism than opinion writing, not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Yeah, if you've got a link, David, please share. Was Lula actually invited to the lunch and declined? Or was there just a widespread expectation in the media that he would be? Rousseff has diverged from some of her predecessor's policies, and I could see a conscious decision on her part to exclude him just to emphasize that she's her own woman. Or maybe it's Lula opting to keep a low profile for once. I don't see how it's automatically linked to the Libya vote; it's not like Brazil voted for the resolution -- which might have justifiably led Lula to snub both Rousseff and Obama.

    Lula? What office does he hold? Isn't that more or less the same as saying a world leader came to America and George Bush wasn't on hand to greet them?

    I hope you are wrong. Aside from what the ex-president being placed in a position to stomp on the new administration's opening foreign policy moves would say about governance in Brazil, acting as you propose would reduce Lula from being the only arguable statesman ever associated with ALBA into pretty much a pathetic little bitch.

    Thank you for that; well said.

    My opinion is that reality has nothing to do with the continuous Seaton search of the internet for stories to fit the thematic narratives in his head, there must be the patterns he is looking for out there and he must find them. In Brazil, it can't just be that leaders are meeting to discuss economic business like grownups, there has to be some secret underlying plot all about the moral outrage about the Libyan situation.

    I disagree that this thread is blow by blow. There's a ton of info. missing from it that would be necessary to categorize it as such.

    I am glad that the US media did not spend a lot of time reporting on who attended the lunch for Obama. There's a lot more important things going on in the world, and the Libya story is just one of them, Brazil lunch attendees not so much.

    As one of your blog commentators recently said: "what does this have to do with Mossad?" Sorry the tea leaves you are looking for are so scarce that you have to search so hard.

    Surely you have to admit that the details of a lunch in Brazil are far more important than what bombs are dropped where, don't you?

    In quotes: House of Commons debate on Libya action

    BBC News, 21 March 2011 Last updated at 17:59 ET

    Here are some of the key quotes from the debate over military action in Libya in the UK House of Commons

    U.S. may already be starting the process of exiting the program?

    Tripoli Hit Again as Europeans Feud Over Leadership
    By David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim, New York Times, March 21, 2011

    TRIPOLI, Libya — Explosions and anti-aircraft fire could be heard in and around Tripoli Monday in a third straight night of attacks there against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, while European nations feuded over who should take command of the no-fly zone. On the ground in Libya, pro-Qaddafi forces were holding out against the allied campaign and an amateurish rebel counterattack.

    Pentagon officials said there were fewer American and coalition airstrikes in Libya Sunday night and Monday, and that the number was likely to decline further in coming days. But Gen. Carter F. Ham, the head of United States Africa Command, who is in charge of the coalition effort, said there would be coalition airstrikes on Colonel Qaddafi’s mobile air defenses and that some 80 sorties — only half of them by the United States — had been flown on Monday....

    Rachel Maddow seems to be opening her show this evening on theme of the U.S. is not going to be in charge. She has a slide up of Obama saying U.S. intervention would be over  "in a matter of days not weeks," and is talking about how Obama is purposefully not giving Libya his number one attention....along the lines of Bush promised humble foregin policy, but Obama s doing it, that's he actually is "walking the walk," he is far from interested in intervening in another Arab country but was very reluctant and is not afraid to show the reluctance, and that the White House is trying to broadcast that desire for as little interventionism as possible,  that the Libya intervention is going to be very short term, and the GOP realizes that and is criticizing it as losing status as the world power, etc. etc.

    Looks like the international press corps is not NEARLY as accommodating of Fox's .... unique ... brand of fact conveyance as their domestic counterparts.

    Those Fox guys are fucking idiots. Playing games gets journalists killed. Don't they realize exactly how much danger all journalists in Libya are facing right now?

    Good on Nic Robertson for calling out Fox News: "This allegation is outrageous and it's absolutely hypocritical." Journalists, especially war correspondents, go out of their way not to step on each others' turf or needlessly embarrass their rivals. That Robertson did so shows how out of line Fox was. 

    Well, I imagine they are happy when journalists have to leave. They'd like to cover such things from the anchor room so facts from the ground  in Libya won't get in the way of the chosen narrative.

    Speaking of reporters leaving, some news--

    The captured New York Times group of four just got out; their stories are nearly as gruesome as those of the BBC reporters:

    Libya Releases 4 New York Times Journalists
    By Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, March 22, 2011

    The Libyan government freed four New York Times journalists on Monday, six days after they were captured while covering the conflict between government and rebel forces in the eastern city of Ajdabiya. They were released into the custody of Turkish diplomats and crossed safely into Tunisia in the late afternoon, from where they provided a harrowing account of their captivity....

    Though Addario's reports of abuse touch me as a woman, what really gets me is the mentions of beatings including rifle butts in their back. I think we are desentisized to the whole rifle butt thing from seeing it depicted as in war movies as if doing that can't crack bones and spines and damage organs worse than many bullet wounds. Permanent back pain for the rest of your life, gee what a nice price to pay for angering some thug or soldier. And no doubt it's happened to a multitude of Libyans in the past and is happening now as I write.

    To be selfish, I think It is a damn shame for us that Shadid and Farrell have to leave for their own recuperation and safety and aren''t able to cover things there for the Times. Shadid has unique background for this, knows Arabic, is Pulitzer-prize winning quality on that part of the world. Farrell was the one abducted and held by the Taliban for a long spell so he has those insights to draw on. The Times coverage was really shorted these past days by this happening to the inital group, they had to send Kirkpatrick and Fahim to replace them. Kirkpatrick really doesn't have anywhere near equivalent background and ability to develop sources. Also they had to divert a lot of manpower to investigate where the group was to try to get them back and they couldn't share that kind of information with the world until they were safely out. Stuff like this happening automatically censors what we all get to know. The journalists end up self-censoring, the editors and producers second guess who should be sent, where they should be allowed to go, whether security will be too costly, and wonder what should should be withheld from publication or broadcast for safety reasons.

    Three AFP Journalists Reported Nabbed by Libyan Loyalist Forces
    Voice of America News, March 22, 2011

    Obama's War Powers Resolution letter to Congress from My bold highlighting:

    Letter from the President regarding the commencement of operations in Libya


    March 21, 2011

    Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

    At approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on March 19, 2011, at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya. As part of the multilateral response authorized under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, U.S. military forces, under the command of Commander, U.S. Africa Command, began a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone. These strikes will be limited in their nature, duration, and scope. Their purpose is to support an international coalition as it takes all necessary measures to enforce the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. These limited U.S. actions will set the stage for further action by other coalition partners.

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized Member States, under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya, including the establishment and enforcement of a "no-fly zone" in the airspace of Libya. United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S. military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution.

    Muammar Qadhafi was provided a very clear message that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. The international community made clear that all attacks against civilians had to stop; Qadhafi had to stop his forces from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies to all areas. Finally, humanitarian assistance had to be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

    Although Qadhafi's Foreign Minister announced an immediate cease-fire, Qadhafi and his forces made no attempt to implement such a cease-fire, and instead continued attacks on Misrata and advanced on Benghazi. Qadhafi's continued attacks and threats against civilians and civilian populated areas are of grave concern to neighboring Arab nations and, as expressly stated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, constitute a threat to the region and to international peace and security. His illegitimate use of force not only is causing the deaths of substantial numbers of civilians among his own people, but also is forcing many others to flee to neighboring countries, thereby destabilizing the peace and security of the region. Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous consequences to the national security interests of the United States. Qadhafi's defiance of the Arab League, as well as the broader international community moreover, represents a lawless challenge to the authority of the Security Council and its efforts to preserve stability in the region. Qadhafi has forfeited his responsibility to protect his own citizens and created a serious need for immediate humanitarian assistance and protection, with any delay only putting more civilians at risk.

    The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya. United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime's air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi's armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

    For these purposes, I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

    I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.

    American Warplane Crashes in Libya as Ground Fighting Continues
    By Elisabeth Bumiller, Kareem Fahim and Alan Cowelll, New York Times, March 22, 2011

    Elisabeth Bumiller reported from Washington, Kareem Fahim from Benghazi, Libya, and Alan Cowell from Paris. Contributing reporting were David D. Kirkpatrick from Tripoli, Libya; Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker from Washington; Steven Erlanger from Paris; Clifford J. Levy from Moscow; and Julia Werdigier from London.

    WASHINGTON — An American F-15E fighter jet crashed in Libya overnight and one crew member has been recovered while the other is “in the process of recovery,” according to a spokesman for the American military’s Africa Command and a British reporter who saw the wreckage.

    The crash was likely caused by mechanical failure and not hostile fire, the spokesman, Vince Crawley, told Reuters. Details of the incident remained sparse. The crash was the first known setback for the international coalition attacking Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces in three days of strikes authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

    The military campaign to destroy air defenses and establish a no-fly zone over Libya has nearly accomplished its initial objectives, and the United States is moving swiftly to hand command to allies in Europe, American officials said on Monday, but fighting continued on Tuesday as reports began to emerge of the crash of the American warplane.....

    Crew members of crashed U.S. jet are safe:

    U.S. fighter jet crashes in Libya; crew members safe

    By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2011

    The F-15E Strike Eagle crashed in northeast Libya after experiencing 'equipment malfunction,' a U.S. statement says. One crew member is rescued by an American search team and the other by Libyan rebels.

    Libyan air force 'no longer exists'
    Coalition forces "operating with impunity" over Libya, British official claims, but fighting still rages on the ground.
    Al Jazeera, 23 Mar 2011 22:33 GMT

    Turkish navy to help enforce Libya embargo
    Ankara offers ships and submarine to help enforce arms embargo on Libya as talks over NATO's role in Libya continue.
    Al Jazeera, 23 Mar 2011 16:24 GMT

    NATO nations fail to reach agreement on Libya
    Third day of talks ends without consensus over role for military alliance in imposing no-fly zone operation over Libya.
    Al Jazeera, 23 Mar 2011 20:01 GMT

    More clarification of Turkey's stance:

    Turkey warns against coalition 'hidden agenda' on Libya
    BBC News, March 23, 2011, 09:28 ET

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul has warned the coalition forces taking action in Libya against pursuing any hidden agenda.

    Without naming any states, he said it was "obvious" that some coalition members perceived the conflict as an opportunity for themselves.

    He also urged Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to resign.

    Scepticism about the coalition's aims has also been voiced at a session of the Russian parliament.

    Turkey, Nato's only predominantly Muslim member and a key player in the Middle East, offered on Wednesday to send five ships and a submarine to join a naval operation to enforce an arms embargo off Libya.

    However, the country has publicly questioned the wisdom of coalition air strikes.

    "We saw in the past such [military] operations increasing the loss of lives," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, pledging that his country would "never point guns at the Libyan people".

    On Wednesday, Mr Gul told reporters: "The issue is essentially about people's freedom and ending oppression... but unfortunately it is obvious that some countries are driven by opportunism.

    "Some who until yesterday were closest to the dictators and sought to take advantage of them... display an excessive behaviour today and raise suspicions of secret intentions."....

    This article from February 25 on Sarkozy's meeting with Gul offers interesting context and suggests things on this front are much more nuanced than they appear:

    Sarkozy Is Criticized on a Visit to Turkey
    By Sebnem Arsu and Steven Erlanger, New York Times, February 25, 2011

    ISTANBUL — President Nicolas Sarkozy of France made a six-hour visit to Turkey on Friday, and was greeted with criticism on Europe’s so-far limited reaction to the Libyan crackdown as well as Mr. Sarkozy’s own reluctance to bring Turkey into the European Union....

    Then it was Gul arguing that the EU wasn't intervening enough as regards supporting and protecting demonstrators and refugees Sarkozy saying military invention in Libya was not a good idea. Here's what I suspect is a key quote from that article::

    Turkish officials, meanwhile, said that the European Union had been too slow to respond to the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa and that it should respond more rapidly to the needs of people fleeing the conflict, instead of trying to keep them away from European shores.

    Gul suspects motives of Europeans and Sarkozy's flip flop as not just wanting the oil or the business they enjoyed with Libya but also of not wanting to deal with Arab immigrants or refugees

    Turkey and France clash over Libya air campaign
    Tension mounts over military action as Ankara accuses Sarkozy of pursuing French interests over liberation of Libyan people

    By Ian Traynor in Brussels,, 24 March 2011 16.20 GMT

    Turkey has launched a bitter attack on French president Nicolas Sarkozy's and France's leadership of the military campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, accusing the French of lacking a conscience in their conduct in the Libyan operations.

    The vitriolic criticism, from both the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the president, Abdullah Gül followed attacks from the Turkish government earlier this week and signalled an orchestrated attempt by Ankara to wreck Sarkozy's plans to lead the air campaign against Gaddafi.

    With France insisting that Nato should not be put in political charge of the UN-mandated air campaign, Turkey has come out emphatically behind sole Nato control of the operations.

    The row came as France confirmed that one of its fighter jets had destroyed a Libyan air force plane, the first to breach the no-fly zone since it was imposed on 19 March. The Libyan G2/Galeb trainer aircraft was destroyed by an air-to-ground missile just after it landed at an air base near the rebel-held town of Misrata, a French military spokesman said.

    The clash between Turkey and France over Libya is underpinned by acute frictions between Erdogan and Sarkozy, both impetuous and mercurial leaders who revel in the limelight, by fundamental disputes over Ankara's EU ambitions, and by economic interests in north Africa....
    Turkey backs NATO command of Libya operations
    Foreign minister says command of military operations in Libya will be transferred from US to NATO within a day or two.
    Al Jazeera, 24 Mar 2011 19:16

    Command of military operations in Libya will be transferred from the US to NATO within a day or two, Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, has announced.

    Turkey had helped to implement a naval blockade of Libya, but had earlier expressed concern about the alliance taking over operational command of the UN-backed no-fly zone from the US.

    Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Davutoglu said: "Compromise has been reached in principle in a very short time. "The operation will be handed over to NATO completely."....

    Related from Latest Updates on Libyan War and Mideast Protests, The Lede, March 24, 2011

    2:22 P.M. |French Statement on Strike Against Libyan Plane]

    As my colleagues David Kirkpatrick, Elisabeth Bumiller and Alan Cowell report, the French Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement posted online that one of its jets did carry out a strike on a Libyan government plane, "which was operating in violation of resolution 1973," on Thursday.

    The statement explains that a French Rafale fighter jet fired on the Libyan warplane, which had flown over the besieged city of Misurata. The Libyan plane was hit with a missile from the French jet shortly after it landed at the Misurata airbase.

    In a television interview last week, just before the start of the international military action against Libya, one of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, complained that France was being hypocritical, saying: "Sarkozy, one month ago, he did invite me, he sent me an official letter to go there, he wants to convince me to buy the Rafale, the air fighter, the aircraft. He was like a pussy cat, yeah he was so nice."

    Rebels Report Gains as Qaddafi Forces Pull Back
    By David Kirkpatrick, Elisabeth Bumiller and Alan Cowell, New York Times, March 24, 2011

    TRIPOLI, Libya —[....]

    In Misurata, rebels say they are feeling reinvigorated by a second night of American and European air strikes against the Qaddafi forces that have besieged them. The rebels say they continue to battle a handful of Qaddafi gunmen in the city but that the armored units and artillery surrounding the city appeared to have pulled back, their supply and communication lines cut off by the air strikes.

    The Qaddafi warships that had closed the port have left, the rebels say, allowing them to make arrangements with the international aide group Doctors Without Borders to evacuate 50 of their wounded by boat to Malta on Sunday. Mohamed, a rebel spokesman in Misrata, said that only two residents were wounded Thursday, following 109 deaths over the previous six days.

    “The Americans and the French and the British have come to us in our hour of need,” he said. “We know now who our true friends are.”

    His last name was withheld to protect his family from reprisals, and he spoke by satellite phone powered by a hospital generator, since the city remains without electricity, water or telecommunications.

    In one of the first signs of breakdown in discipline among the Qaddafi forces, rebels near the eastern city of Ajdabiya said they were in negotiations with a unit of pro-Qaddafi troops who have offered to abandon their position and withdraw further west. The unit, stationed at the northern entrance to the city, had lost contact with its commanders, a rebel spokesman, Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani, said.

    The negotiations, which were being conducted through a local imam, had hit a snag on the issue of whether the troops would keep their weaponry and withdraw further west or simply surrender, as the rebels were demanding.


    New Juan Cole:

    Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone

    Informed Comment, Posted on 03/24/2011 by Juan

    NATO To Take Over No-Fly Zone in Libya
    Gen. Ham Says Gadhafi Intends to Wait Until U.S. Hands Over Lead of Coalition

    By Martha Raddatz, Alexander Marquardt and Luis Martinez, ABC News,

    Aboard the USS KEARSARGE, March 24, 2011

    Shady Dealings Helped Qaddafi Build Fortune and Regime
    Money Solidifies Hold; Some U.S. Companies Are Reported to Have Paid Kickbacks

    By Eric Lichtblau, David Rohde and James Risen, New York Times, March 23/24, 2011

    Since the United States reopened trade with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government in 2004, businesses have witnessed a Libyan culture rife with kickbacks, strong-arm tactics and political patronage.

    (Yeah I know, it's not about Operation Odyssey Dawn, but I want to be able to find the piece in the future.)

    Sanctions in 72 hours: How the U.S. pulled off a major freeze of Libyan assets
    (The surprise: in excess of $29.7 Billion, not $100 million as first thought)

    By Robert O’Harrow Jr., James V. Grimaldi and Brady Dennis, Washington Post, Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    The Treasury Department team had been working nonstop on a plan to freeze Libyan assets in U.S. banks, hoping they might snare $100 million or more and prevent Moammar Gaddafi from tapping it as he unleashed deadly attacks against protesters who wanted him gone.

    Now, at 2:22 Friday afternoon, Feb. 25, an e-mail arrived from a Treasury official with startling news. Their $100 million estimate was off — orders of magnitude off.

    The e-mail said there was in “excess of $29.7 Billion — yes, that’s a B.”

    And most of the money was at one bank.

    It was a piece of extraordinary good fortune for the Obama administration at a crucial moment in the efforts to address the bizarre and deadly events unfolding in Libya.

    Never before had U.S. officials so quickly launched economic sanctions affecting so many assets of a targeted country.

    The frenetic 72 hours leading up to the Executive Order 13566 illustrate how a process of identifying and freezing assets — something that customarily has taken weeks or months — has become one of the first tactical tools to employ in the midst of fast-breaking crises.


    Administration officials soon carried the executive order to the president’s private residence on the second floor of the White House, where he signed it. At 8 p.m. Feb. 25, the order took effect.

    Within minutes, dozens of employees at the nation’s largest banks, who had remained at their desks that night waiting for the signal, sprang into action. They began freezing more than $30 billion in an effort to cripple a violent dictator half a world away.


    Libya in its Arab Context
    By Marc Lynch, Abu Aardvak Blog @ March 21, 2011

    ....Libya's degeneration from protest movement into civil war has been at the center of the Arab public sphere for the last month. It is not an invention of the Obama administration, David Cameron or Nicholas Sarkozy.  Al-Jazeera has been covering events in Libya extremely closely, even before it tragically lost one of its veteran cameramen to Qaddafi's forces, and has placed it at the center of the evolving narrative of Arab uprisings.  Over the last month I have heard personally or read comments from an enormous number of Arab activists and protest organizers and intellectuals from across the region that events in Libya would directly affect their own willingness to challenge their regimes. The centrality of Libya to the Arab transformation undermines arguments  that Libya is not particularly important to the U.S. (it is, because it affects the entire region) or that Libya doesn't matter more than, say, Cote D'Ivoire (which is also horrible but lacks the broader regional impact)...

    The centrality of Libya to the Arab public sphere and to al-Jazeera carries a less attractive underside, though.  The focus on Libya has gone hand in hand with al-Jazeera's relative inattention to next-door Bahrain, where a GCC/Saudi  intervention has helped to brutally beat back a protest movement and tried to cast it as a sectarian, Iranian conspiracy rather than as part of the narrative of Arab popular uprisings.  It has also distracted attention from Yemen....

    I continue to have many, many reservations about the military intervention, especially about the risk that it will degenerate into an extended civil war which will require troops regardless of promises made today.  But as I noted on Twitter over the weekend, for all those reservations I keep remembering how I felt at the world's and America's failure in Bosnia and Rwanda. And I can't ignore the powerful place which Libya occupies in the emerging Arab transformations, and how the outcome there could shape the region's future. Failure to act would have damned Obama in the eyes of the emerging empowered Arab public, would have emboldened brutality across the region, and would have left Qaddafi in place to wreak great harm.  I would have preferred a non-military response-- as, I am quite sure, the Obama administration would have preferred.  But Qaddafi's military advances and the failure of the sanctions to split his regime left Obama and his allies with few choices.....

    Failure to act would have damned Obama in the eyes of the emerging empowered Arab public, would have emboldened brutality across the region, and would have left Qaddafi in place to wreak great harm.

    Of course, for better or worse, Obama will not be judged (by most people) on what would have happened had he not acted but on what does happen due to his actions. Of course, if he hadn't acted, the reverse would be true. As such, he has to act on what he thinks is the "best" course of action. (Best for whom, of course, is a whole other question.)

    The definitive histories are a long way away. Was thinking that if things don't go swimmingly enough in the meantime, we could also see blaming of three witches casting spells-Clinton, Power and Rice.

    Libya Dispatch: Rebel Twinkies fuel the struggle
    By Abu Ray,, March 22, 2011

    ....According to the rebels, the food comes to the checkpoints in regular deliveries, partly organized by the provisional council running the eastern cities, but also in a large part due to efforts by individuals.

    Many people who don't want to actually pick up a gun and join the fighting, instead go to nearby towns, stock up on staples like bread and tuna -- as well as plenty of junk food -- and deliver them to checkpoints.

    "Now we are eating Snickers bars, before we could only just look at them in the store," said Ayman Ahmed, a 23-year-old volunteer for the rebel forces who together with a group of friends took over the abandoned house of a oil refinery worker in the Ras Lanouf residential area.

    "We are really experiencing freedom now," he said, in a living room filled with discarded juice boxes and wrappers from packaged sweet cakes...

    "We are volunteers who came here and took on the responsibility of handing out the food while others pick up weapons and stand guard outside," said Walid Abu Hajara, a cheerful 27-year-old from Benghazi, who has been managing the makeshift kitchen for the last three days....

    At a gas station on the road to the front, a man handed out packets of dates stamped "a gift from Jalo for the Feb. 17 revolution," referring to desert town far to the south.

    At another stop, a local patiently gives out prepared sacks of food to passing motorists, even journalists, containing tuna sandwiches, an apple and banana and a twinkie.....

    At the Brega Hospital, where doctors wait for the latest dead and wounded from the fighting at Ras Lanouf, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west on the coastal road, a young man in a scout uniform hands out meals.

    The foil boxes contain rice and a fairly substantial piece of beef supplemented with more Libyan loaves.

    "My mother and my aunts, all of us worked on it together and we distribute it to the hospital, to the revolutionaries and others," said Essam al-Hamali, as he handed out the meals to waiting doctors in blue scrubs.

    He said today he and his family and fellow scouts put together about 700 meals.

    Other days, fighters say people just show up with aluminum pots filled with rice or pasta topped with meat or chicken.....

    Found this which certainly changed my perceptions about the Libyan 'rebels':

    In what may be the most significant development of the civil war since the Western airstrikes began, the rebels just declared the formation of a new “Libyan Oil Company,” and “the designation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya.”

    This is really important. It means that a rebel government, recognized by France, now has an oil company and a central bank.

    An oil company and central bank.  Sounds like at least some of the rebels have outside contacts.

    I followed links back to the original author and post, Why the Libyan rebels will (probably) win, an interesting blogger whose optimism is somewhat dampened by new information that he shares in How it could all go wrong in Libya:

     I seem to have been a bit sanguine about Gaddafi’s resources in mylast post. The IMF reports that Gaddafi is sitting on a 143.8-tonne $6.4-billion pot of gold. If correct, that’s a lot of ready cash. 

    Another reason to wish the gold mythos would just die already.

    What are the odds that the proceeds of the LOC will go to the Libyan people rather than into the coffers of a select few?

    Probably zero directly. But indirectly the fact that the select few have gotten their claws on the LOC gives them  some extra motivation   (nah,they've got motivation enough trying to stay alive) extra bargaining chips to use to buy the allegiance of some of Qadaffi's less devoted followers. 

    What is the gold mythos?


    I am also unfamiliar with the term, but a Google search suggests that I should buy Mythos gold! (Somehow, I don't think that's what EmmaZahn is talking about, though.)

    I'm pretty sure she means all the gold standard maniac types and beyond that just the value that humans still give it, it makes no sense, its a fetish we hang on to from the ancient past, like there's other metals that are more intrinsicially valuable now and other commdodities that really do have incredible actual value that isn't just in our heads, like er, oil.  Hunk of yellow metal, not useful for a whole lot, and people still going crazy over it.....why silver gets so dissed in comparison, it's just as sparkly and you can do more with it....

    Actually, gold is an excellent conductor and is very useful in electronics… (but otherwise, I agree completely with the sentiment that it's over-valued)

    That a gold and gold-backed currency have some kind of super money power.  Why else would Gaddafi have accumulated 143.8 tonne of it?

     Why else would Gaddafi have accumulated 143.8 tonne of it?

    That's my point -- the belief, the myth that gold is special is what drove the price up.   Well, that and speculators preying on those who so believe.


     I assume that you use the word "myth" to mean an accepted story passed along by the culture rather than the with the incorrect definition of "false belief". A myth can be true. The myth [story] of golds value against paper currncy has been demonstrated too many times to disregard, IMO.

     I believe that every person investing is speculating. If you are thinking of gold and silver merchants stoking fear as "preying" , and some do, I would agree, but in that case the buyer who is scared can still buy at a world commodity price as long as he picks an honest dealer and does not fall for crap hype about coins.

    Neither the gold nor the paper are truly money.  They are only symbols representing money.

    AFAIK, no one is advocating a return to coins along with a return to a gold standard.  Most gold will be held in vaults and paper will be printed with the notation gold certificate to use as a medium of exchange.  Very few people will even notice the difference because the money of choice nowadays is plastic with a magnetic strip on the back that links back to a bank account. 

    The perceived advantage of gold to paper is its limited supply but that is also its own chief disadvantage.   Eventually gold hoarders will manage to draw enough actual gold or gold certirficates out of circulation to precipitate a 'crisis' and something will be done.



    When I spoke of coins I meant gold and silver coins sold at a very high premium over the bullion value for hoarding and/or investment rather than new coins minted for circulation.

    Most of gold's value, other than its limited supply is people's perception of its value.  A thing is actually worth what you can sell it for.

     I don't agree with your last sentence because I don't know of any vital need for gold so having 99% hid under peoples beds won't cause any crisis. I do believe that peoples fear "that something will be done", like confiscation, is the selling point for coins. Silver, on the other hand has many industrial uses and either more is mined or the supply diminishes even without anyone hoarding.

    Money is a tough concept for me to get a handle on but if gold and paper money are only symbols of money, what actually is money? I do know that ultimately you cannot eat either one of them.


    Yes, money is very hard to wrap one's head around but in my mind you defined it very well:  the perception of value that people give it.   Money can be gold or beads or paper or giant stones even distilled corn as long as those things are accepted as either a medium of exchange; a store of value or a unit of account.



    Thanks. The oil thing may be related to the Turkey not liking France's motives thing. France is the one that had the hots to recognize the rebels.

    I was just going to comment on Flavius thread on the oil thing but thought better of it.  Short form of what I was going to say was that if there wasn't the question of who is controlling the oil undecided, then you can quit a no fly zone after most of the big weapons are destroyed and just let them have at it, there's no need for planes to keep flying overhead. (Why I didn't comment there--I am not a fan of  the moral outrage reaction of "it's all about the oil". Drives me nuts. Because it's like duh, yeah, of course. Oil is power, oil is like land was in past wars, or the search for gold was once, of course it's about the oil, it's got to be if you don't want people blackmailing the world economy with it. That's just reality, if you're going to get outraged about it I hope you're living a 95% oil-less life.) But for the oil problem, where you have to end up with someone stable and not nuts controlling its sale, the intervention could stop with destroying the major weapons and sufficiently (not perfectly) maintaining a weapons blockade and freeze on Gaddafi's funds.

    Which bring up your gold point. How liquid or fungible is his pot of gold? Doesn't it devalue it some if you have to sort of fence it if it's in big gold bars? Doesn't he have to fire up a mint and make like collectible coins to pay people outside of Victor Bout types?I don't know, I'm asking. Who could/would take it and would it be at market value?

    In any case, isn't it still kinda hard to have one new tank or jet delivered without anyone knowing about it much less several?

    I guess you can always have your hired thugs use machetes like in Rwanda....

    Could you consider that some moral outrage is warranted when our government continues to involve itself militarily because of oil but says it is for other reasons? I think the "all about oil" conclusion is as obviously correct as you say it is, so when leaders choose to bomb other countries rather than invest the cost of the bombs in alternatives to oil, but they say the bombing is for the benefit of those being bombed, I get pretty damned pissed. Your phrase for that is "moral Outrage'. Why is that moral outrage so tiresome for you? Why, just because you see the "real" reason [a morally outrageous one, IMO] that it is "all about oil" are you only judgmental about the people who are pissed that it is "all about oil"? Or do you think it is okay to go to war for oil while not making an honest effort to position ourselves so that we do not feel the need and the justification to kill for it?
     If Saudi Arabia blows up and we try to stabilize it militarily and we are told that we have to go in with every option on the table because it has come to our attention that their women are forced to wear burkas, I will be pissed again. Will you be okay with it just because you know the obvious truth and only be pissed at people who are pissed about something bad that is obviously true?

    '. Why is that moral outrage so tiresome for you? Why, just because you see the "real" reason [a morally outrageous one, IMO] that it is "all about oil" are you only judgmental about the people who are pissed that it is "all about oil"? Or do you think it is okay to go to war for oil while not making an honest effort to position ourselves so that we do not feel the need and the justification to kill for it?


    Your moral outrage does you credit. But  do you agree that  if you  were living in Benghazi  ten days ago ,terrified that your  wife would be repeatedly  raped and your children killed you would have been overjoyed  when  the  US and French  planes and missiles  saved you ?

    I'm not suggesting  that that is the end of the discussion. Just trying to see whether you feel the way I do on this point.

     Of course I would expect to have been overjoyed by any relief from wherever it came if it saved my family. That is because I am a human being putting myself in the place of another  scared shitless human being, not because I am a "right thinking American" that knows what is best for other people to do in the world .

     I suppose we could go anywhere from here. maybe I would be overjoyed that my family was saved but recognize that the saving was just incidental to other motives on the side of the saviors and could have gone any other way and they wouldn't have given a flying fuck. Not really, because saving me wasn't really their first concern anyway.. I think I might have recognized that.  

     Look. I am really conflicted as to what to wish for in this case. It looks like a place where we might stop some very significant death and destruction. For a little while. In this case I don't know what I would have decided if I had been in the position of deciding. That hasn't been my situation for quite a few of our wars. I have been confident in what I thought our country should not do most of the time. I have commented almost zero about Libya because of my lack of conviction in this particular case. But, I absolutely do not want to support bombing people on any side based on  bullshit concocted reasons fed to me just to so I would buy into a short term solution that might keep us on the same path for a little longer. I am not a pacifist even if my first reflex is to be anti-war. I think we are on a bad path so I think that the sooner we change course the better. I am not trying to say that there is an obvious good or pragmatic course to take but I am thoroughly convinced that we, as a country have taken some that could be seen as obviously bad paths at the time the decision was made to take them.   The longer that we stay on what I think is the wrong course the more pissed off comments I will throw out into the cosmos.

    Fair enough.Thanks for making the effort to reply.

    I support what Obama did but  swing from a shamefully  adolescent satisfaction that our side is winning , to remembering that our side is killing real human being on the other side.

    I'm sufficiently blood thirsty to know I'd be pleased that Qaddafi was killed. But it's not hundreds or thousands versions of Qaddafi who've been  killed so far; it's been human beings, many of them mercenaries working at the only job with which they can support a wife and children.

    Would those same soldiers have raped and killed if they'd occupied Benghazi?. Some of them- that's what happens when   armies fight their way into a town.(When Singapore surrendered the Japanese  agreed the occupying force should be was composed of fresh arrivals, not ones who'd fought their way there) .

    But , when I am not in that unappealing state of pleasure in our win , I realize that many of  the occupiers would have behaved , even have tried to reduce the violence, and among the ones who didn't there'd be degrees of violence.

    I never reach the point of even considering "oil" because I don't get beyond this internal conflict about the need to kill in order to reduce the killing- I hope.. . 




    I really doubt Gaddafi has very much of that gold in pot(s) close to hand.   More likely it is in vaults around the globe in safekeeping with gold dealers so transfers would be in some form of paper or electronic medium -- just like regular money.  I do not know but would guess that there is a network of fellow thugs Gaddafi can deal with and through who still believe  there is something special about gold or gold certificates and belief is really all it takes to make something a medium of exchange.


    North Korea says: you shouldn't have given up your nuke program, ya moron:

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