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Thread: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    I think that would be a bad idea. What going to happen during the post war period if every runway in the country is unusable? It could inadvertantly create a humanitarian crisis, because of an inability to move supplies in a timely manner.

    Even so, that still leaves helos that will have to be lazed and blazed.
    It's a tactic that's been discussed, i'm not sure how rapidly runways can be repaired but you have a point. I agree bout the helos.
    Nobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.

    Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.

    All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
    - Colonel Paul Yingling

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    On top of that they need some serious firepower, it would be more than simply arming everyone with a rifle, they need anti aircraft weapons, anti tank weapons, explosives, maybe even artillery and vehicles of their own, serious stuff which not only requires training and leadership to use effective but also is very risky to put into people's hands whom you do not control. Who knows where a crate of anti tank missiles that disappears is going to end up?
    I believe that if they were well trained in light infantry tactics and had the right leadership, they could pull this off without heavy weapons and vehicles, but it would definitely cause things to drag on, possibly for years.

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    I just think, before we decide to arm the rebels...figure out who these guys are and what they want. We all know they hate Gaddafi, that's fine. But we sure as hell don't want to be arming just any dude who hates Gaddafi, we need to find out who these people are, what their post-war agenda is if they win, and what they're fighting for. That's my two cents.

    not to mention apdst's great point about training and weaponry.
    Nobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.

    Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.

    All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
    - Colonel Paul Yingling

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    It's a tactic that's been discussed, i'm not sure how rapidly runways can be repaired but you have a point. I agree bout the helos.
    My brother-n-law and I discussed Libya this weekend and he suggested detroying the runways. While I agree that it could effective ground fixed wing aircraft, I also believe that it would cause bigger problems down the road. I say, just light up the aircraft and leave the runways intact for future use.

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    I just think, before we decide to arm the rebels...figure out who these guys are and what they want. We all know they hate Gaddafi, that's fine. But we sure as hell don't want to be arming just any dude who hates Gaddafi, we need to find out who these people are, what their post-war agenda is if they win, and what they're fighting for. That's my two cents.

    not to mention apdst's great point about training and weaponry.
    I still say let the Euros handle it. They've been bitching about how we've been doing things; here's there big chance to show us how it's done. Perhaps the Chicoms, or the Rooskies could take on the mission. Then, we can see how all the America haters think of how they handle the situation. I'm fairly certain, they won't be pleased with their methods, or the end result.

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    I still say let the Euros handle it. They've been bitching about how we've been doing things; here's there big chance to show us how it's done. Perhaps the Chicoms, or the Rooskies could take on the mission. Then, we can see how all the America haters think of how they handle the situation. I'm fairly certain, they won't be pleased with their methods, or the end result.
    Any intervention in the form of a no-fly zone will be inherently open-ended...only God knows, if we get involved, how long it's going to be in place and I guarantee if this thing drags out long enough Americans themselves will be tired of it after the initial emotional outcry. I don't think the Russians or Chinese give a ****, really, and maybe the EU and the Arab League and AU could do it if they really wanted to. I really don't think this is our piece of cake right now.
    Nobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.

    Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.

    All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
    - Colonel Paul Yingling

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    Any intervention in the form of a no-fly zone will be inherently open-ended...only God knows, if we get involved, how long it's going to be in place and I guarantee if this thing drags out long enough Americans themselves will be tired of it after the initial emotional outcry. I don't think the Russians or Chinese give a ****, really, and maybe the EU and the Arab League and AU could do it if they really wanted to. I really don't think this is our piece of cake right now.
    Unless we're going in to take the place over, I say we stay the **** out of it and let them see how they like the lack of American intervention.

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    George Friedman hits it right on the head:

    How a Libyan No-fly Zone Could Backfire

    March 8, 2011 | 1550 GMT
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    By George Friedman

    Calls are growing for a no-fly zone over Libya, but a power or coalition of powers willing to enforce one remains elusive.

    In evaluating such calls, it is useful to remember that in war, Murphy’s Law always lurks. What can go wrong will go wrong, in Libya as in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Complications to Airstrikes

    It has been pointed out that a no-fly zone is not an antiseptic act. In order to protect the aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone, one must begin by suppressing enemy air defenses. This in turn poses an intelligence problem. Precisely what are Libyan air defenses and where are they located? It is possible to assert that Libya has no effective air defenses and that an SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) attack is therefore unnecessary. But that makes assumptions that cannot be demonstrated without testing, and the test is dangerous. At the same time, collecting definitive intelligence on air defenses is not as easy as it might appear — particularly as the opposition and thieves alike have managed to capture heavy weapons and armored vehicles, meaning that air defense assets are on the move and under uncertain control.

    Therefore, a no-fly zone would begin with airstrikes on known air defense sites. But it would likely continue with sustained patrols by SEAD aircraft armed with anti-radiation missiles poised to rapidly confront any subsequent threat that pops up. Keeping those aircraft on station for an extended period of time would be necessary, along with an unknown number of strikes. It is uncertain where the radars and missiles are located, and those airstrikes would not be without error. When search radars and especially targeting radars are turned on, the response must be instantaneous, while the radar is radiating (and therefore vulnerable) and before it can engage. That means there will be no opportunity to determine whether the sites are located in residential areas or close to public facilities such as schools or hospitals.

    Previous regimes, hoping to garner international support, have deliberately placed their systems near such facilities to force what the international media would consider an atrocity. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi does not seem like someone who would hesitate to cause civilian casualties for political advantage. Thus, the imposition of a no-fly zone could rapidly deteriorate into condemnations for killing civilians of those enforcing the zone ostensibly for humanitarian purposes. Indeed, attacks on air defenses could cause substantial casualties, turning a humanitarian action into one of considerable consequence in both humanitarian and political terms.

    Airstrikes vs. Ground Operations

    The more important question is what exactly a no-fly zone would achieve. Certainly, it would ground Gadhafi’s air force, but it would not come close to ending the fighting nor erode Gadhafi’s other substantial advantages. His forces appear to be better organized and trained than his opponents, who are politically divided and far less organized. Not long ago, Gadhafi largely was written off, but he has more than held his own — and he has held his own through the employment of ground combat forces. What remains of his air force has been used for limited harassment, so the imposition of a no-fly zone would not change the military situation on the ground. Even with a no-fly zone, Gadhafi would still be difficult for the rebels to defeat, and Gadhafi might still defeat the rebels.

    The attractiveness of the no-fly zone in Iraq was that it provided the political illusion that steps were being taken, without creating substantial risks, or for that matter, actually doing substantial damage to Saddam Hussein’s control over Iraq. The no-fly zone remained in place for about 12 years without forcing change in Saddam’s policies, let alone regime change. The same is likely to be true in Libya. The no-fly zone is a low-risk action with little ability to change the military reality that creates an impression of decisive action. It does, as we argue, have a substantial downside, in that it entails costs and risks — including a high likelihood of at least some civilian casualties — without clear benefit or meaningful impact. The magnitude of the potential civilian toll is unknown, but its likelihood, oddly, is not in the hands of those imposing the no-fly zone, but in the hands of Gadhafi. Add to this human error and other failures inherent in war, and the outcome becomes unclear.

    A more significant action would be intervention on the ground, an invasion of Libya designed to destroy Gadhafi’s military and force regime change. This would require a substantial force — and it should be remembered from Iraq that it would require a substantial occupation force to stabilize and build a new regime to govern Libya. Unlike in Egypt, Gadhafi is the regime, and sectarian elements that have been kept in check under his regime already are coming to the fore. The ability of the country to provide and administer basic government functions is also unknown. And it must also be borne in mind that Gadhafi clearly has substantial support as well as opposition. His supporters will not go without a fight and could choose to wage some form of post-invasion resistance, as in Iraq. Thus, while the initial costs in terms of casualties might be low, the long-term costs might be much higher.

    It should also be remembered that the same international community that condemned Saddam Hussein as a brutal dictator quite easily turned to condemn the United States both for deposing him and for the steps its military took in trying to deal with the subsequent insurgency. It is not difficult to imagine a situation where there is extended Libyan resistance to the occupying force followed by international condemnation of the counterinsurgency effort.

    Having toppled a regime, it is difficult to simply leave. The idea that this would be a quick, surgical and short-term invasion is certainly one scenario, but it is neither certain nor even the most likely scenario. In the same sense, the casualties caused by the no-fly zone would be unknown. The difference is that while a no-fly zone could be terminated easily, it is unlikely that it would have any impact on ground operations. An invasion would certainly have a substantial impact but would not be terminable.

    Stopping a civil war is viable if it can be done without increasing casualties beyond what they might be if the war ran its course. The no-fly zone likely does that, without ending the civil war. If properly resourced, the invasion option could end the civil war, but it opens the door to extended low-intensity conflict.

    The National Interest

    It is difficult to perceive the U.S. national interest in Libya. The interests of some European countries, like Italy, are more substantial, but it is not clear that they are prepared to undertake the burden without the United States.

    We would argue that war as a humanitarian action should be undertaken only with the clear understanding that in the end it might cause more suffering than the civil war. It should also be undertaken with the clear understanding that the inhabitants might prove less than grateful, and the rest of the world would not applaud nearly as much as might be liked — and would be faster to condemn the occupier when things went wrong. Indeed, the recently formed opposition council based out of Benghazi — the same group that is leading the calls from eastern Libya for foreign airstrikes against Gadhafi’s air force — has explicitly warned against any military intervention involving troops on the ground.

    In the end, the use of force must have the national interest in mind. And the historical record of armed humanitarian interventions is mixed at best.

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    In part, Mr. Friedman writes, "It is difficult to perceive the U.S. national interest in Libya." I agree. That is why I oppose direct offensive military operations. The national interest isn't sufficient. That it also is clear that the revolution is not broad-based further adds to the arguments against such military operations. While U.S. communications strategy has been clumsy at times on Libya, I believe the U.S. failure to send military forces into Libya has been the correct strategy.

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    Re: Libyan rebels urge west to assassinate Gaddafi as his forces near Benghazi

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Without the training an orginization that an effective military unit possesses, those weapons would be useless.

    There are four elements of combat power--firepower, communication, maneuver and leadership--if one those is missing, then a unit's effectiveness is greatly diminished. Lose two of those and a unit becomes combat ineffective.
    I've previously addressed that issue. I'm well aware that there has to training. There are ways to provide it without sending perhaps even a handful of trainers to Libya on a very temporary basis. One need only look back to how it was handled in Afghanistan during the 1980s. And no, there were not hundreds, or more U.S. trainers there. Instead, many Afghans were flown out of the country, trained offshore, then returned to become trainers there. So, there is not a one-size fits all method for accomplishing training.

    In any case, as the revolution is not broadly supported by Libya's people and tribal leaders--it is largely a regional phenomenon with only localized tribal support--I do not believe the U.S. should wage the anti-Gadhafi forces' fighting for them. There should be no offensive military action, no targeted strikes on Mr. Gadhafi or his sons, no attacks on Mr. Gadhafi's armored columns, fighter jets, etc.
    Last edited by donsutherland1; 03-16-11 at 08:19 AM.

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