Sunday, April 03, 2011

Where the push for ground troops may come from ...

One of the worst case scenario in Libya from a POL/MIL POV - besides AQ finding some way to take power via a Popular Front gambit over a few years - would be Gaddafi remaining in power after all the international effort against him.

Not just CANUKUS + FRA against him, no.
Just from the air;
Six Lockheed Martin F-16s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force have been flown from Leeuwarden air base to Decimomannu on Sardinia, launching a commitment of up to three month with a total of 180 personnel. Four of the fighters will be ready for use at any one time, with a McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 tanker to also be available from 4 April.
BELGIUM - Six F-16 fighter jets, based in Araxos, Greece, are taking part in the ground strikes.
...six F-16s and six Dassault Mirage 2000-9s, which arrived from the UAE on 27 March. Their arrival follows that of six Qatar Emiri Air Force Mirage 2000-5s, the first of which made their debut sortie in support of the Libyan campaign from Souda Bay, Crete, two days earlier
Four Italian air force Eurofighters and four navy Boeing AV-8B Harrier IIs also flew their first missions in support of the Libyan campaign on 29 March, respectively operating from Trapani and the aircraft carrier Garibaldi.
Overnight on 23-24 March, France launched a 10-aircraft sortie to attack an air base 250km (135nm) south of the Libyan coast. The package included two air force Mirage 2000Ds and two Rafales from French bases, plus two navy Rafales operating from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
CANADA - Ottawa has deployed seven CF-18 jets, which conducted bombing missions, as well as two CC-150 Polaris air refuellers and two CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft.
RAF Tornado GR4s used their precision-guided weapons against multiple ground targets during a period of less than a week. Largely performed using MBDA dual-mode seeker-equipped Brimstone air-to-surface missiles, the strikes neutralised more than 30 main battle tanks, armoured fighting vehicles and artillery pieces, primarily near the towns of Ajdabiyah and Misrata.
Royal Danish Air Force F-16s also flew 26 missions by 26 March, attacking command centres, ammunition stores, surface-to-surface missile launch ramps, main battle tanks and mobile rocket launchers, the nation's defence ministry says.
Meanwhile, in a fresh boost to the NATO campaign, Partnership for Peace nation Sweden on 29 March secured parliamentary approval to deploy up to eight Saab Gripen fighters, a Lockheed KC-130H tanker and undisclosed reconnaissance assets to Sardinia or Sicily for a period of up to three months.
NORWAY - Six F-16 jets, based in Crete,
In addition to useless in No Fly Zone enforcement but premier ground attack aircraft including A-10 and AC-130,
Washington is still providing "80% of all air refuelling, almost 75% of aerial surveillance hours and 100% of electronic warfare missions", says US Navy Vice Adm William Gortney, director of the Joint Staff.
Not just the core NATO players, but Arab nation and the Swedes have thrown their hat in.

After all that - what if, as things are trending, the rebel forces simply cannot dislodge Kadafi and his sons from power? With no one left to save and unlikely to destroy Bengazi in order to save it - a lot of nations are left having attacked a nation with nothing to show for it to the world or their citizens.

Somewhere between a full collapse of the rebellion and a last stand - someone will point out what has been invested at this point and the danger of a Qadaffi family's survival and the shaming of all the coalition nations. All that good advice about, "If you are set on regicide, you must succeed." and "If you set out to take Vienna; take Vienna." will come to the front along with a healthy bit of, "You won't get a second chance."

Everyone will look to the USA. I think SECDEF Gates is not bluffing - and I don't think the CINC will put troops ashore.

The rest of the Coalition therefor will not do it - because they cannot do it militarily without the USA - and politically with their population. That is good.

Once again; Libya is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Now that we are in this - I support 100% all efforts to win this ... to a point. We do not need another occupation by USA forces of a Muslim nation.

If the rebellion continues to collapse, the push will come for ground troops ... and will pass. Uncle Sam will shrug - and I will support the President 100% saying "No."

I will fault him for getting involved in this folly to begin with - but will support his and SECDEF Gates's wise decision to let this opportunity for imperial humanitarianism pass.

Will it be a complete POL/MIL mess with second and third order effects that will be exceptionally distasteful? Yes. That is why you don't do things like this.

There is wisdom in the line in The Tao of Salamander; "Don't just do something - stand there."

The watchful indifference of wei wu wei is highly underrated. At times, it is the best path.

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