Libya: US, coalition launch missiles and rain bombs on government targets
March 20, 2011 - 9:15 am
About 112 Tomahawk missiles and an untold number of air strikes, according to the Daily Mail. This is what it takes to prep for setting up a no-fly zone.
Air strikes and dozens of cruise missiles launched from U.S. and British ships pounded the Libyan capital into this morning as operation Odyssey Dawn began with a vengeance.
Explosions rocked Tripoli and other coastal cities, where anti-aircraft guns could be heard firing overnight.
American officials were eager to confirm the damage was extensive enough to allow air patrols to protect civilians being targeted by embattled strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Lots of photos at the link. We’ll likely soon be treated to the “Great Satan destroyed the baby milk factory” trick or some variant. Gaddafi is already claiming civilian casualties, including children, as a result of Saturday’s raids. Which is exactly what you’d expect him to do. The idea that a man who authorized the downing of Pan Am 103 cares a whit about children is ghoulishly laughable.
Left ambiguous, perhaps for strategic reasons, is The Plan. UK PM David Cameron:
The aim is clear: to put in place what has been required by the UN Security Council, which is a cessation of hostilities. It is the protection of lives and the protection of people. It is the prevention of a bloodbath in Benghazi. It is to make sure that arms do not get to Libya, that assets are frozen and that travel bans are imposed. It is all those things. Those are the aims, and they are what we must now pursue. Of course, like many other leaders the world over, we have all said that Gaddafi needs to go in order for Libya to have a peaceful, successful and democratic future, and that remains the case. It is almost impossible to envisage a future for Libya that includes him.
That’s obviously true, but it’s not what Sarkozy said prior to the launch of Operation Odyssey Dawn. He said that regime change isn’t part of the plan. Hopefully, in the background, the allies are actually on the same page and are just using public statements to keep Gaddafi even more off balance than nature has left him.