Mission Creep In Libya: It Has Begun

One of the problems with getting involved in a country militarily is that the whole business has a tendency to take on a life of its own, one that you don’t always expect, particularly if it’s not clearly defined. Welcome to mission creep, boys and girls.

…This time around, Obama has bungled the whole thing worse than most people realize by having such an open-ended mission. Not even the people in the coalition, which is already fracturing, seem to be agreed on why we’re there. Are we there to protect civilians? Are we there to get rid of Gaddafi? Are we there to institute democracy? No one seems to know for sure — even in the White House.

…So, despite the fact that the best thing Obama could do at this point would be to just get the hell out of there, it won’t be so easy. That’s because if let’s say, the coalition falls apart, Obama will be blamed. If Gadaffi stays in power, Obama will be blamed. If Gadaffi slaughters the rebels, Obama will be blamed. If Gadaffi is overthrown and the country becomes an Islamic Republic or splits into squabbling parts, Obama will be blamed. That’s the price you pay for being the biggest dog in the pack. You can tell everybody you’re just another poodle, but everybody knows better.

That’s why sadly, tragically, Obama is about to get an education in that line from the Godfather, “I try to get out and they keep pulling me back in.” Let’s hope that Obama has gotten enough on-the-job training at this point to keep our troops home and just take any PR hits that may come.” — John Hawkins, March 23, 2011

Here we are, just three weeks later, and guess what? There’s already talk of sending in ground troops.

The United States may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, according to the general who led the military mission until NATO took over.

Army Gen. Carter Ham also told lawmakers Thursday that added American participation would not be ideal, and ground troops could erode the international coalition and make it more difficult to get Arab support for operations in Libya.

Ham said the operation was largely stalemated now and was more likely to remain that way since America has transferred control to NATO.

…Asked if the U.S. would provide troops, Ham said, “I suspect there might be some consideration of that. My personal view at this point would be that that’s probably not the ideal circumstance, again for the regional reaction that having American boots on the ground would entail.”

President Barack Obama has said repeatedly there will be no U.S. troops on the ground in Libya, although there are reports of small CIA teams in the country. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told lawmakers last week that there would be no American ground troops in Libya “as long as I am in this job.”

So if there’s really no way that we’d consider putting troops on the ground, then why do we have a general publicly saying we might put troops on the ground? Could it be that despite the fact they’re publicly saying that’s absolutely, positively not going to happen, they’re actually considering it? Of course, they are. If there’s anything we’ve learned about Obama by now it’s that every promise comes with an expiration date.

PS: If Obama choose not to get congressional approval to continue the mission or decides to put troops on the ground, I favor cutting off the funds for the mission. That wouldn’t be putting our troops at risk, it would be protecting them for risk in a pointless waste that has absolutely nothing to do with America’s interests.

PS #2: The fact that NATO is so incompetent that they can’t handle something like this without America doing all the heavy lifting tells you a lot about their real military capabilities and none of it is good.

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