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The PJ Tatler

by
Dan Miller

Bio

March 23, 2011 - 6:54 am

It has been reported that twenty-two hundred Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) at Camp Lejuene

are joining the fight against Libya. . . . Their mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people. “In Libya right now they are doing exactly what we need them to do. They are doing what they are told and right now that’s protecting Libyan people against Qadhafi forces,” said Captain Timothy Patrick, a marine with the 26th MEU.

“The fight against Libya?”I hadn’t previously seen it phrased quite like that before.

Still, if anybody can do it and pull President Obama’s fat out of the fire, the Marines can. However, since they are going to do “what they are told” by their commanders (as one would expect them to do), what have they been and what will they be told to do? Go protect Libyans but don’t hurt anybody except yourselves? Collateral damage is worse than unacceptable and if it happens you will be subject to trial by court martial? What are the rules of engagement? Are they as clear and workable as those in Afghanistan? Will the world see photos of some dead or maimed “innocent civilians” – maybe of Col. Qadhafi “irregulars” and maybe of others used as human shields?

It is not very heroic of President Obama to send elements of the Marine Corpse Corps into harm’s way to help clean up the mess there, after blithering and dithering and making it worse, without clear rules of engagement or with rules which are self-defeating and can be unnecessarily deadly for them.

Dan Miller graduated from Yale University in 1963 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1966. He retired from the practice of law in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and has lived in a rural area in Panama since 2002.
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