President Obama has issued orders to allow the United States military to strike Lybian integrated air-defense systems while the French launched their own air-strikes earlier in the day. The Pentagon is briefing the media now. We will update here at TheLobbyist accordingly… stay tuned…
The Pentagon says that the point of the strikes with both older Tomahawk Cruise missiles and the newer-generation Tomahawks which have the ability to “loiter” in a given area while commanders decide on a target via internal cameras, was to create an atmosphere to establish a no-fly zone over the city of Benghazi to support of the Lybian rebels under assault from Qhaddafi’s forces.
The American Tomahawks were launched after the French launched their air-strikes against Qhaddafi’s forces earlier Saturday morning. The United States does NOT have troops on the ground guiding missiles, and the US does NOT have planes in the air enforcing a no-fly zone at this time.
Reperesentative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced via Twitter:
@jasoninthehouseJason Chaffetz I disagree with the use of US force in Libya.
@jaketapper Jake Tapper 112 Tomahawks launched from mix of US subs and surface ships + 1 UK sub. Over 20 Libyan air defense targets.
According to Yahoo News,?“US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be breaking international laws against summary executions, the UN’s top investigator of such crimes said.” UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston?has now decided the United States’ Predator drone strikes?might be?”?operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law.?
In the article, concerns about how many people the United States is killing with drones is Alston’s main concern. Note to Alston: we are trying to kill terrorists- the same people who want to violate (and do violate) international law all the time by targeting civilians as their sole goal. Meanwhile, Ed Morrisey at HotAir.com noted that Alston makes no distinction about the hundreds of civilian deaths versus the many terrorist deaths the drones have caused. Instead, he is worried about?America being willing to open up about the program, and saying,?”‘OK, we’re willing to discuss some aspects of this program.'” Alston also says that without the opening up by American officials, “…you have the really problematic bottom line that the CIA is running a program that is killing significant numbers of people and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws.””
A couple of questions for Alston: first, since when are we supposed to capture and put through a fair trial civilian-targeting terrorists? It’s not like they come peacefully. Secondly, WHAT international law? There are no international laws regarding how to kill terrorists, as far as I know, because the UN lacks judicial and regulatory power and has no real authority given its positions and non-resistance against terrorists and their supporting nations (Iran, anyone?). If the individual countries we enter have an issue (such as Pakistan), it can be taken up with America on a bilateral basis. Let’s hope President Obama doesn’t listen to this fool.
A few weeks back, I joked with friends about Secretary Hillary Clinton?s explosion over a mistranslated question from a young man who was asking how the President felt about a particular situation, but the Secretary thought he was asking what Former President Bill Clinton thought.? What I found to be particularly funny about that situation was the fact that it was the first time that the Obama Administration was willing to take a strong stance on something regarding foreign affairs.? No strong stance when Iran killed Pro-democracy demonstrators; no strong stance when North Korea launched missiles after being asked not to by the international community; hell, our President claims to need to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and now he can?t even decide on that!? Nevertheless, this administration will NOT tolerate the degrading of our Secretary of State by inquiring as to her husband?s thoughts? though that wasn?t even the case.
So my friends and I shared a few laughs: It is no longer funny now.
One can point out the interesting infatuation America?s enemies had for President Obama?s electoral outcome.? President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent President Obama a warm letter of congratulations following his election win; President Chavez made the comment at the UN this past week that the podium no longer smelled of ?sulfur? as it had following President Bush, but rather ?smelled of Hope;? and just recently Cuban President Fidel Castro praised President Obama?s climate change policy.? To be fair, criticism of the President over others? applause for him is unfair, because we can?t choose the people who root for us.? Remember the nefarious David Duke?s endorsement of former President Ronald Reagan?? Rather, Conservatives and moderates, and people with half a mind for foreign policy (which discredits failed National Security Advisor Brzezinsky and his call to shoot down Israeli jets), need to start addressing our President?s austere manner in which he seems to be throwing allies under the bus.? The Czech Republic, Poland and Israel are now starting the club for countries unpleasantly surprised by the new direction of American international relations.? I cannot help to point out that even if the United States didlegitimately believe it strategically necessary to drop the compact with Poland regarding our missile defense shield, the?timing and manner in?which we did it demonstrates our willingness to be more diplomatic with enemies, and less so with our friends.? Despite these grievances, the particular situation?that needs to be immediately addressed?is the growing hostilities in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is at its tipping point.? What happens in the coming months is going to decide the outcome of our endeavor, one way or another.? We must listen to General McChrystal?s request for more troops in order to fully exercise his comprehensive counter-insurgency strategy, we must give our forces over there all of the equipment and personnel they need and we must throw the gauntlet down onto the rocky terrain?to demonstrate?that we are willing to do what it takes to win this battle.? If we fail to do these things, then we will?fail at winning the war.? We cannot win a war based on the perception and respect of an indigenous population that knows only to follow a regime that demands respect, if we are to continue to look weak and emasculated.? Sadly, this is due not only to our soft-bellied liberal friends, but a toned-down effort in Afghanistan was fairly-recently advocated by leading Conservative intellectual George Will.? Almost everyone in favor of de-escalation (including Paleoconservatives, George Will and some liberals to name a few) advocates a replacement?policy of limited off-shore presence and limited direct action.
There is something romantic about special operations forces and the idea of limited engagement.? Special operations is what we see in the movies and read in books; the former tending to exaggerate the ease of which such Direct Action missions are carried out.? We enjoy the movies with Chuck Norris and Charlie Sheen (and one of my personal favorites, the opening scene from Air Force One) that embellish the Direct Action capabilities of our Special Operations Forces and give no regard to their more important uses.? Foreign Internal Defense, Civil Affairs, and force multiplying aspects of SOF community are considered by those in the military and in policy the most important.? General McChrystal, a prior Special Operator, knows this and that is why he is advocating a policy that turns conventional units into units that will be better able to carry out these three important missions.? You cannot do this with Navy ships, Tomahawks, and DA missions alone.
There is one more thing that should be addressed; that carries a weight of importance equivalent to the outcome of the mission through tactics.? Imagine yourself overseas in Afghanistan at this moment, or imagine a loved one there currently.? For many, the latter scenario is not far from reality.? How are our troops and their families supposed to carry out a mission when even their own President’s fortitude is flailing?? It is one thing to second guess strategy, but President Obama is second guessing intent and necessity; leaving anyone over there in a sort of?purgatory, because what has now been planted into the hearts and heads of our men and women is a feeling so dichotomous to hope, they are left asking themselves ?if I were to fall tomorrow, and the President pull out next month, what will I have died for??? Having a second-guessing President raises these doubts and makes accomplishing the mission at hand all the more difficult.? If there is anything harder than losing a loved one, it?s losing a loved one right before a withdrawal; which invariable leaves their loss feeling less hollowed and more for nothing.? Our troops deserve better than this.? They deserve a leader.? They are getting the opposite.?