Ed Driscoll

Libya: Mission Creep Already?

“And We’re Off,” Drew M. writes at Ace of Spades:

And the “No Fly Zone” opens with a French attack on Libyan…tanks. I did not know tanks could fly. It’s like some governments were dishonest about the scope of this adventure from the start.

CDRSalamander takes a look at the forces in play and/or expected in the region. He seems to have more questions than answers.

If you have to project any type of power ashore with ranges such as here (see post from 01MAR) – the CVN is the indispensable ship. As we have waited to the 11th hour to do anything, I still stand by my statements from 17 days ago; without more than 1 CVN you will not have an effective NFZ-L. We don’t have that yet, and may never.So, if that is where we stand; are we just relying on hope and best case scenarios? Is the NFZ-L just for show and a half-hearted effort? Are we ready for the time and effort for a sustained NFZ-L? Are our allies? Are we going to just let the Europeans fail as they did in AFG from ’06-’08 and then try to fix it later?

Finally there is this questions that many seem to want to avoid. We set up a NFZ-L and Gadaffi still wins in the face of it; what is our Branch Plan, or Sequel? What are the second and third order effects of an ineffective NFZ-L that results in a Gadaffi win?

(Added) The Navy is preparing missile strikes against Libyan air defense targets.

[And according to MSNBC has used them — Ed]

There are things I don’t like about this mess.

First, I think it’s too late or so late the job has become exponentially harder. If Obama wanted to get results, he shouldn’t have had such a fetish for the UN and a French led coalition. If action were required and the best way to do it was unilaterally, then so be it. If the political fallout of that was too high, then maybe the goal isn’t that important after all.

Second, as I wrote yesterday, I’m not sure what the hell we’re doing. Is protecting civilians from Qadaffi the goal? If so, then we’ve basically signed on to a mission that will last as long as he’s in power. That could be awhile.

The only way to ensure that civilians are protected from Gadaffi is to get rid of Khadaffi. Except…nobody in the administration is saying that. If the administration believes regime change is the end state of this operation, they need to be honest with the public and say that.

It’s not easy when “The United States, according to one … diplomat, appeared ‘semi-detached,’” which is a perfect metaphor for the Obama administration — or whoever is currently running the store.