One really doesn’t need much of an excuse to want to see Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi blown to kingdom come.
Gaddafi’s regime through acts of terrorism is responsible for the murder of American servicemen and civilians. And the man Ronald Reagan dubbed the “mad dog of the Middle East” has reminded the world of his willingness to order the slaughter of his fellow Libyans for the crime of objecting to his four decades plus of iron-fisted rule.
And while working to destabilize Gaddafi’s grip on power is in itself unobjectionable concept, there are questions that need to be answered, specifically how long are we going to fire rockets into Libya and what’s the ultimate purpose?
A no-fly zone and a temporary bombardment via tomahawk missiles won’t be enough to bring Gaddafi down.
Gaddafi still wields control of the Libyan armed forces and while he won’t be able to utilize his air force and send tank columns to immediately suppress the insurrection, all the colonel needs to do is wait the West out.
Give Gaddafi a bunker filled with netflicks and a few months worth of Triscuits and he will emerge from the rubble wrapped in his favorite shower curtain still holding whatever grandiose title he has apportioned to himself after the West has lost interest in Libyan human rights.
Saddam Hussein survived not only a catastrophic military humiliation as his army was quickly driven out of Kuwait but also the domestic uprising that was supposed to have been enabled with a no-fly zone that didn’t work out so well for the rebels.
Those insurgents in Basra who were inspired to revolt against the Hussein tyranny after the Allied Coalition’s pummeling of the Republican Guard were rewarded with sadistic executions once Baghdad reasserted control of the south. That bit of history probably isn’t lost on either Gaddafi or the leading rabble-rousers in Benghazi.
Hussein wasn’t toppled by an indigenous rebellion but through a full-fledged American-led “boots on the ground” invasion.
Short of the US Marines once again landing on the shores of Tripoli, Gaddafi will be able to bide his time and maintain his position of authority.
It appears the Libyan adventure is currently limited to the standard liberal noble goal of merely “doing something”.
Sure some tanks have gone up in smoke and a handful of military structures have been wrecked, but the Libyan rebels are still nowhere closer to effecting regime change.
Right now the military action in Libya is not much more than then-President Bill Clinton’s cruise missile attack on Iraq’s intelligence headquarters in response to a busted Iraqi plot to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush during a visit to Kuwait in 1993.
Shock and awe it isn’t; the strikes have been more like an “Aw Shucks” offensive that has shown we care but not enough to do what’s required.
Gaddafi, not trusting his native military to do the dirty work of mowing his own people down, has shrewdly recruited foreign mercenaries who have a vested interest in the survival of the current government, since the checks are sure to stop coming if the dictator is killed or books a one-way flight to Caracas.
The Obama Administration’s all-too public grasping at a Libya Policy has exhibited indecisiveness, with America following in France’s rhetorical and military wake.
Yes France, the very country that refused to allow American jets to fly over their air space while en route to paying Gaddafi a surprise visit in 1986 in the form of a retaliatory strike after Libyan agents bombed a West Berlin discotheque frequented by American military personnel.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy was the first world leader to publicly call for Gaddafi’s ouster and it was a French warplane that struck the first blow against the Libyan military in the current operation.
So what’s the objective and most importantly, who is going to decide what it is?
Will it be regime change via direct action by the western powers or will the US limit its involvement to creating opportunities for the rebels or simply keeping Gaddafi’s forces at bay, at least for the time being.
Shall the US defer to the United Nations on setting the end game or is an agreement between Washington, Paris and London a broad enough consensus?
It’s much more important that we impress with our actions not Gaddafi & Co. but the individuals occupying high military and foreign relations posts in Beijing, Tehran, Pyongyang and Moscow, as the consequences of the Obama Administration’s handling of the Libyan situation will manifest themselves far away from the Sahara.
While Gaddafi is taking his lumps, others are taking notes.