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Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Eight Million Dollar Man

March 31st, 2011 - 9:08 pm

Brother Khadaffi lent $8 million dollars to Louis Farrakhan, a Press Association report says. “Mr Farrakhan portrayed Gaddafi as a fellow revolutionary and long-time friend to the Nation of Islam, which used £1.9 million it borrowed from Libya in the 1970s to acquire its opulent headquarters on Chicago’s South Side. Years later, a £3 million loan was used to pay back taxes and costs for the home of the movement’s former leader Elijah Muhammad.”

The leader of the Nation of Islam asked “where are all the bodies?”


It’s Really a Pâté Sandwich

March 31st, 2011 - 2:46 pm

The NYT’s Ross Douthat eloquently catalogs three lessons learned from the Libyan kinetic military event that might have been gleaned from a trip to any used car salesman. Before buying a car, look under the hood. He writes, “First, judging by events on the battlefield, its fighters probably won’t be able to topple Qaddafi’s government unless we find a way to significantly step our support.”

Next, make sure the engine works and it’s not really being pushed by someone in back on the test drive. “Second, we’ve already offered them more support than anyone realized, since it turns out that the C.I.A. has been assisting the rebel leadership since well before the United Nations resolution that officially justifies our involvement in this conflict”.

Lastly, take reasonable precautions to ensure the car’s not hot before you buy it. Douthat writes, “and third, the jihadist presence within the rebellion, while not dominant by any means, may nonetheless be real and meaningful — and growing apace, perhaps, as the civil war drags on.” Otherwise you might have trouble down the pike. Like Secretary Robert Gates, who Wired says, may already be sensing something bad and  edging towards the exit. Not that you’d blame him.


We Don’t Need No Stinkin Badges

March 30th, 2011 - 3:47 pm

The newspapers are reporting that President Obama has signed a secret directive to overthrow Muhammer Khadaffi. Citing a government source, Reuters says:

President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday … Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.


Scorched Earth

March 30th, 2011 - 11:41 am

Aviation Week describes how combat in Libya is being shaped by principally by sensor-weapon fusion, rather than by any cooperation with rebel ground forces.  As matters stand, the rebels are useful principally to lure Khadaffi’s forces out into the open. They are bait.  The more tempting a military target the rebel forces are, the worse for Khadaffi.


Wrong Men Armed

March 29th, 2011 - 6:37 pm

CNN reports “President Barack Obama made clear in interviews Tuesday with the three major US television networks that he was open to arming the rebel fighters.” This comes as leaders in London declared they were not unalterably opposed to the Duck of Death going into exile.


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Beads on a String

March 29th, 2011 - 11:31 am

The AP reports that Libyan rebels are on the retreat after an hour-long battle with Khadaffi forces near Sirte. The rebels claimed they couldn’t advance without air cover and yelled “Sarkozy, where are you?” Sarkozy has apparently answered — well not quite — with the deployment of USAF AC-130s and A-10 ground attack aircraft; and even that came with conditions.

At this morning’s NFZ ops brief, Vice Admiral “Shortney” Gortney allowed that Spectres and Warthogs had been “employed” but only in support of the UN-backed resolutions to protect Libyan civilians.

“We’re not in direct support of the opposition, that’s not part of our mandate, and we’re not coordinating with the opposition,” he said.


The Fog of War

March 28th, 2011 - 11:46 pm

When Clausewitz talked about the “fog of war”, he meant not only the uncertainty which surrounds specific events on the battlefield, but the overlapping, contradictory aims which combatants strive for. Even objects in war take on different values. Take weapons. Weapons are a particularly popular possession in Yemen just now. Seventy-five people were killed after an arms  factory previously looted by al-Qaeda blew up. The factory had been seized by al-Qaeda on the day previous.  The desire to possess guns in a country in turmoil is a natural one.


An Historic Resolution

March 28th, 2011 - 6:57 pm

The President explains the Libyan mission at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.  It is a confusing speech, but no passage is more perplexing than the one below. The key word has been highlighted.

Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.

… I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.


The Big Top

March 28th, 2011 - 12:29 pm

Jay Cost argues at The Weekly Standard that President Obama can’t build a winning coalition on the economy he will have in the 2012 election. Moreover, he cannot change the economy before then. The problem is: maybe the Republican’s can’t either.

There are three significant issues or factors that will keep President Obama from forging a coalition of almost-everybody, à la Reagan in 1984 or Johnson in 1964, in the 2012 election. The first is the continuing weakness of the economy. Obviously, jobs remain a problem – and this weakness is also manifested in the rising cost of gasoline and food. The second is the president’s health care bill. And the third is the budget deficit.


Protect and Serve

March 25th, 2011 - 5:02 pm

Sixty four imaginary dollars will be awarded to the person who answers this question: who feeds North Korea?