The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Obama’s Libyan Stalemate

Posted on | April 12, 2011 | 1 Comment

The New York Times catches a whiff of the massive failure:

Three weeks ago, President Obama ordered American troops into the first “humanitarian war” on his watch, vowing to stop the forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from massacring their own people. Mr. Obama’s hope was that a quick application of power from the air would tip the balance, and the Libyan rebels would do the rest.
Now . . . the question in Washington has boiled down to this: Can Mr. Obama live with a stalemate? . . .
If the country’s civil war drags on, Mr. Obama will almost certainly have to answer a rising chorus of critics that he entered the battle too late, began to exit too early, and overestimated a very inexperienced, disorganized rebel movement.

Hillary Clinton is still talking tough:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton renewed the United States’ call for Khaddafy to step down and to leave Libya.
Clinton said the U.S. believes “there needs to be a transition that reflects the will of the Libyan people and the departure of Khaddafy from power and from Libya.”

Military officials appear much less confident that Qaddafi can be forced out of power by the Libyan rebels:

After weeks of U.S. and NATO bombardment, about one-third of Moammar Gadhafi’s ground armor has been destroyed, as well as most of the fixed air defense sites and aircraft, but a stalemate between government and rebel forces is emerging and could last for some time, according to a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the latest military assessments. . . .
The official said the latest U.S. and NATO view is that both sides essentially remain in their fixed positions — the rebels near Ajdabiya and the pro-government forces near al-Brega. . . .
“Neither side has the wherewithal to move,” the official said.
Rebels do not have the manpower, vehicles or weapons to make major advances. And while Gadhafi’s forces continue their attacks, especially in Misrata, the source said they are suffering from a lack of supplies, ammunition and fuel because of airstrikes. The official said that a major ground force movement would put Gadhafi’s units in the cross hairs of NATO airstrikes. . . .
While [the rebels] are holding on to Ajdabiya for the moment, the senior official said it is hard to imagine them making any further gains toward Tripoli.


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