Category Archives: Libya

Boots on the ground in Libya

What do CIA operatives wear on their feet when they go into North Africa? Depending on the answer to that question, the United States may already have boots on the ground in Libya. President Barack Obama has told the nation that American troops would not get involved in that nation’s conflict. Our involvement was ostensibly to pursue and then enforce a no-fly zone, then to hand it all over to NATO – which we substantially supply and sponsor.

However, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the president authorized the CIA to explore ways to assist the opposition, and that the agency “has placed covert operatives on the ground in parts of Libya, feeding intelligence on ground targets to the U.S. military and coalition forces for airstrikes and reaching out to rebels aligned against Col. Moammar Gadhafi, officials say.” Reporter Adam Entous, who quotes unnamed officials throughout the piece, writes:

“There are a variety of ways in which the CIA could aid the rebels, from supplying them with intelligence from satellites and informants to helping arrange arms transfers.”

I’ve added the italics for effect.

To take out anti-aircraft targets and other positions, it’s good to have intelligence. There’s not really a tactical argument against sending in operatives, other than the normal risks assumed. However, this should be a wake-up call to everybody that it’s hard to just dip your toes  in the water with something like this. It can easily suck you in.




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Who is the opposition?

The president didn’t do much to answer that question tonight in his speech to the nation. He also didn’t clearly explain why it is in the U.S. national interest to intervene. He said it is in our interest to do so, but what he meant was that he believes that a R2P (responsibility to protect) is a moral value basis of American foreign policy.

If that’s the case being made – that we’re going to war because its an American value to protect human rights – that’s fine. But don’t try to confuse people. So, the question remains. Why are we fighting in Libya? What is our national interest in doing so? Is it human rights alone? Or also something else?

Byron York writes for the Washington Examiner that Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, an opposition leader, fought in Afghanistan against American forces. This begs the question, who is the opposition? Do we know who we’re supporting? Yes, Ghaddafi is a bad guy, doing bad things in Libya. But there are a lot of bad guys who could do bad things in Libya. Are we confident that we’re not supporting some of those bad guys?

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