Can air power end Libya war?
Libyan rebels carry away a comrade wounded during fighting with forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on June 7.
June 30th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

Can air power end Libya war?

By Moni Basu, CNN

It was supposed to have been over in a few days. World powers would go in with fighter jets and the world's most sophisticated precision-guided weapons to render Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi powerless.

But that's not the way things happened.

As NATO's airstrikes crossed the 100-day mark, analysts blamed a host of faulty assumptions, including success based solely on surgical airstrikes, for a protracted war that some fear could drag on for more months.

"It's absolutely wrong to think that an air campaign can win this," said Andrew McGregor of the Jamestown Foundation and director of Aberfoyle International Security, a Toronto-based agency specializing in security issues related to the Islamic world.

The basic problem, McGregor said, stemmed from presuppositions about the fortitude of the Libyan opposition.

Buoyed by the successful uprisings to the east in Egypt and to the west in Tunisia, Libyan rebels believed they had the mettle to bring down Gadhafi. Western powers believed that with a little help, Libya could be freed from totalitarian rule.

But rebels launched an armed insurrection against a man who had spent four long decades preparing his state for unforeseen challenges. This wasn't a peaceful revolution of the masses against a government that had no public support.

"This revolt never really had the strength to succeed," McGregor said. "There was this feeling among the rebels that all we have to do is show up. But you should take a couple of years to get it organized first. If you're just going to run out on the streets, the results will be predictable."

Four months on, the rebels are not capable of supporting themselves, McGregor said. They are out of fuel, oil production has shut down, and they have few available resources. They will soon face even shortages of food and water, McGregor said.

President Barack Obama faces pressure at home to withdraw U.S. forces. There is debate, too, in Europe over the expensive air campaign.

The war may have been morally right, but NATO, said McGregor, is facing a conundrum.

Part of that failure was a lack of consideration of the makeup of the Libyan population, said University of Texas political scientist Alan J. Kuperman, author of "The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention."

"The fundamental error by the White House and NATO was to imagine that the Libyan people were united in opposition to Gadhafi," he said.

"In reality, Libya is divided along lines of clan and tribe, some of whom benefit greatly from Gadhafi, and therefore defend him fiercely," he said. "Any expert on ethnic conflict and intervention could have told the White House that ahead of time."

In that respect, said Thomas Donnelly, director of the Center for Defense Studies, the Libyan war has the potential for fallout that is worse than what happened after President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" weeks after Saddam Hussein's 2003 ouster in the Iraq war.

"To imagine that Libyans are going to come together - is a hope, but not a plan," Donnelly said. "It was a mistake to get involved in such a feckless way."

Behind the rhetorical rallying cry of protecting civilians, Donnelly said, has always been the real aim of NATO - to kill Gadhafi.

"If you made me bet my mortgage at gunpoint, I'd say we probably will get Gadhafi," he said.

But the question is when. And if it doesn't happen in a timely fashion, then NATO risks the erosion of public support for its campaign, Donnelly said.

"In some sense, 100 days is a short period of time," he said. "But when your political support is so tenuous and thin, and when your operations have heretofore been ineffective in achieving campaign goals, then taking ground forces off the table has not made the war any shorter or any less bloody."

The Libyan regime has also proven itself to be more robust and resilient than anyone imagined. It would be a mistake, said Donnelly, to assume that killing Gadhafi would mean a collapse of the entire system.

The Libya conflict has sometimes been compared to NATO's air war in the Balkans in the 1990s. Many people thought the Serbs would go down instantly once NATO began bombing. They didn't. And eventually, it was the threat of a ground invasion that led to the capitulation of then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Gadhafi, however, faces no such threat. And some believe the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court this week will only help strengthen his resolve to stay in power.

"If Barack Obama had thought a hundred days ago that he would be where he is now, you have to wonder whether he would have made the same decision," Donnelly said. "How can you tell the American people we're going to start jumping over the fence and we have no idea where we are going to come down?"

But not everyone is pessimistic about prospects in Libya.

Ali Ahmida, for one, stands by his belief that the Libyan opposition can defeat Gadhafi.

The rebels, he said, have made noticeable gains with the support of NATO air power. He cited recent rebel takeovers of western towns in the Nafusa Mountains and said Gadhafi is more isolated now than ever before.

"The Libyan people are capable of fighting this fight," said Ahmida, an analyst at the University of New England. "The consequences of this, even though it is more painful and brutal, will have a positive outcome in the end."

It has not been easy for Ahmida to watch the conflict unfold in Libya. But he is a strong proponent for self-determination who feels strongly that the Libyan people, not outside forces, must determine their fate.

"I warned against this from the start, that Libyan public opinion would not like it," he said, referring to the possibility of foreign boots on the ground. And Ahmida still questions the motivation of Western powers and the agendas of exiles who he fears may want to exploit oil-rich Libya.

"I'm optimistic but guarded," he said.

Ahmida said the bad news is that NATO lacked clarity in its mission and also in a negotiated exit for Gadhafi, which he said is more difficult now because of the arrest warrant for alleged crimes against humanity.

Still, Gadhafi's regime will fall, he said. Then the real battle for the future of Libya will just be starting.

Post by:
Topics: Libya • Military • NATO

soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Galtinator

    Oh – So there is a war going on in Libya? According to President Obama there "are very little hostilities". I never thought I'dd be saying this but I am rooting for Moammar Ghadhafi. Until President Obama gets authorization from congress I consider him a war criminal.

    June 30, 2011 at 11:06 am | Reply
    • Onesmallvoice

      I totally agree with you, Galtinator. 75% of all the civilian deaths in Libya are caused by the NATO air strikes and don't let the right-wing media kid you otherwise! Besides, anyone with half a brain would know that since the Libyan air force has been virtually eliminated early in the conflict.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • Al deen

        75% ehmm ehmm (clearing throat) Where did you get your numbers? I'm libyan and what you are saying is 100% crap. I would like to see where you get your info...Gadhafi is a dictator and a murderer who sends libyans to get killed all the time for decades. Women are being raped and children killed. I understand what a war means...I guess that's something you probably won't , but in a war thousands of people will die for sure (from both sides) but the outcome at least will end all the killings. Gadhafi's people are telling everyone that NATO is killing more so NATO gets out. Now, I'm not a big supporter of NATO either because I don't trust their interests, but as long as Gadhafi dissapears forever then I'm happy. Believe me, at least 10,000 people have been killed by Gadhafi and it is not just NOW, it has been going on ever since he took power. The whole country lives in poverty and people die from poverty while Gadhafi's family enjoys their billions and makes 5 million dollar parties all the time.

        July 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
      • levend

        Aren't the Rebels part of the French Foreign Legion? Doubt they really care if civilians die as long as France gets the oil. You can not honestly tell me France has not signed oil contracts already. Even the blind can see that, Rebels are puppets. I do not support Gadhafi but I the rebels are not clean either, support 1 dictator to replace another not going to happen.

        July 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
      • Sos

        How many male personnel that are in Libya right now that are not fighting for or against Gadaffi? How many are not doing anything at all? Why the hell would people even consider to have foreign ground troops to fall on that field? Why don't the Libyan men actually get off their behinds and do something? I know a lot are, but if they were to get everyone on board then it would be a finished project. Anyways, the end result would be....Libya did not overthrow Gadaffi, NATO and the US did so they cannot claim that.

        July 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
      • shah islam

        Honesty, sincerity and patience can solve this issue in no time. To learn how to, you may contact me (Mr. Shah Islam) @ Please feel free!

        July 5, 2011 at 1:53 am |
      • shah islam

        It is an Original comment and not duplicate.
        lHonesty, sincerity and patience can solve this issue in no time. To learn how to, you may contact me (Mr. Shah Islam) @ Please feel free!

        July 5, 2011 at 1:55 am |
      • shah islam

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        July 5, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Baton rougian

      I'm rooting for Ghadafi too 🙂 Obama is the criminal

      July 1, 2011 at 11:07 am | Reply
      • Orion

        right... and i bet you were one of those that believed Bush when he said Iraq had WMDs. =]
        just say it... you don't like Obama for other (non white) reasons.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
      • Lagos

        Funny. When a republican president goes into a war without a perfect plan and it drags out more than expected, he's accused of lying, stealing oil, and various other drivel. When a democratic president does the same thing, suddenly the arguments everyone made against Bush aren't fair game anymore, and it's all about race.

        July 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
      • DeltaBravo

        Suddam was putting on a front that he had WMDs to scare Iran. So since he said he had WMDs, 'Merica moved in for the kill. Eff yeah!

        July 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • putzcockle

      Oboma needs to stand trial for HIGH TREASON toward the US and be courtmartialed, then strung up by tha ballz!!! All three of 'em!!!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:20 am | Reply
      • Orion

        right... and i bet you were one of those that believed Bush when he said Iraq had Weapons of Mass Descrution. =]
        just say it... you don't like Obama for other (non white) reasons.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
      • putzcockle

        to the orion IDIOT who questioned me...u r a stupid little black punk for what I can smell. I am white and voted for the black negor Oboma and it was a mistake...u chew on it u piece of shytt!

        July 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Specter619

      I hope gaddafi hires some more terrorists to bomb the next plain you and your family get on.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
      • sherman

        I don't fly... na na na na na na... she sticks her tongue out at him – which in his country is a very serious insult.

        July 2, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      France dropping arms to the rebels is in direct violation of the NATO charter – NO NO NO NO NO and NO MORE GUNS IN A WAR ZONE – how are we going to disarm all the men when this is over?

      July 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • kls817

      Isn't it funny how the pacifist Obama became a hawk once he became president? That type of transformation seems to happen to anyone in the White House, regardless of party.
      We never should have gotten involved there. Europe got involved because it didn't want Libyan refugees but this is not our problem.
      In fact, we should get out of NATO entirely, as General Petraus suggested when he said only the US is covering the huge costs. Let Europe defend themselves, the lazy jerks. We need to close our bases there, bring the troops home and save all of the money for our country.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      Weird. Obama is criminal for not getting congress authorization. But Gadhafi, who has not had any elections for 42 years is not ? Gadhafi does not even have any congress to consult with and that is OK for you ?

      July 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Reply
      • joe

        its ok with me since he gives me free medical, free schooling, lowest gas prices in the world, subsidizes imported food, free dental and free housing assistance...Thats HOW he stayed in power..ANybody else would stay in power if the same was given to them.

        July 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
      • Tim

        Nomatter how terrible there will be,that is the libyans their own things,they will solve the problem bu themselves ,dont need the other countrys to solve,especially France and Americans,you give the libyans peace really???????the other countrys are good hearted really?NO NO.Just like Irak and Afghanistan,it is the war,kill numberless people ,they want to get what they needonly.

        July 22, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Gaadffly

      I agree that the air strikes were a stupid mistake. Air power alone has never decided the outcome of a conflict. Example: Britian survived th Blitz, Germany survived 5 years of allied bombing, Iraq survived the coalition air strikes. Now, France is dropping arms to the rebels in violation of the arms embargo. What a mess!! Remember what happened in Cuba?? The world supported Castro in taking over Cuba then he turned out to be a communist stooge. Stop the bombing and let them settle their internal affairs.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:15 am | Reply
    • jim

      He doesn't need congressional approval, except to actually "declare war".

      July 2, 2011 at 8:50 am | Reply
    • joe

      yes air power will do it, get NATO out and Kadaffis forces will get rid of the rebels in less than 2 weeks....Get out of Libya Now...God is on Gadaffi's side

      July 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • steeve-o

      Yes you nimrod, there is a war going on in Libya... but WE didn't declare war. WE are not engaged in a war in Libya, the Libyan people are. We provided aerial support to keep Gadhafi from firing upon civilians.

      July 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Reply
      • vadon

        once you got an RPG or an AK 47 you aren't considered to be a civilian. What do you really expect him to do, just give up the country to a bunch of hoodlums/rebels who were definitely financed by somebody and just leave???C'mon now, have some common sense.

        July 4, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • what?

      I thought Twitter was gonna end the war.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Reply
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        It will – this would have been a covert war.

        July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • You guys are idiots

      Woah you both are morons. Prob democrats too

      July 3, 2011 at 12:05 am | Reply
    • Hasselhoff

      At least he didn't lie to the people on why he went like George W. bush did! Go Obama take down all these dictators no one else will.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:41 am | Reply
    • Dan

      What CNN will not tell you is that the African Union will not honor the international arrest warrant for this man. Good enough reason to cut off aid to Africa for me

      July 3, 2011 at 12:56 am | Reply
      • stambo

        @dan You understand of course that the USA itself does not recogonize the International Criminal Court (ICC). In fact the USA voted WITH Libya AGAINST ratifying the ICC. American administration officials would ignore any warrants for arrest from the ICC as well, and you can be sure that American friendly governments would also not honour the warrant.

        If China were to start lobbying missles and bombs on Taiwan the USA would consider it an Act of War. When you drop bombs and send precision missles to military targets you are engaged in acts or war. You have to be the dumbest, most moronic, stupidist POS to believe anything otherwise.

        July 3, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Larry L

      When you "root" for the enemies of America you are in fact a traitor.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:43 am | Reply
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        you know who is are traitor Larry? Its the person who tells you who to believe and whom to love.

        July 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Alexander

      "Until President Obama gets authorization from congress I consider him a war criminal." - and what if he gets
      authorization from congress? Then it is the congress who becomes a bunch of war criminals?

      Most American people who disagree with the war (incl. the ones in Congress, with the exception of, perhaps,
      Dennis Kucinich) are just saying that "we cannot afford it", while still believen that US/NATO has "upper moral
      hand" to liberate Libya from brutal dictator.

      In reality it appears that a significant portion of Libyans actually like Gaddafi. Just picture this: Gaddafi rides
      standing in open truck during a rally in Tripoli, and all men in the cheering crowd have AK-47 and franticly shooting
      them into the air. Well, this is how Arabs express their happiness.

      Now imagine anybody from Western leaders, say Obama or Sarcozy or George W. riding in an open truck surrounded
      by the crowd of cheering supporters all armed with M-16s and shooting them into the air franticly. Can you imagine?

      The truth is that it would take only one supporter among a thousand to point his AK-47 not to the air, but a bit more
      horizontal. and that would be the end of Gaddaffi. Still, he does not seem to afraid.

      So what this war in about? "Intelligence was flawed, oh, f-word, we were mislead" again?

      July 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  2. YoungJedi

    Oh so you're rooting for the dark side?

    June 30, 2011 at 11:33 am | Reply
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      always – they appreciate it more. besides we're through the looking glass here people – black is white and white is black. Its like the Alamo, but set in Libya –

      July 1, 2011 at 11:00 am | Reply
      • YoungJedi

        People are so hell bent on getting rid of Obama that they don't see anything else. Maybe Trump really would have satisfied this country more. You're right. America needs leaders that better represent the majority of the population.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  3. j. von hettlingen

    We all know how difficult it is to predict the outcome of an armed conflict, especially when there are so many parties involved. As we know, human beings are so unpredictable and the actions uncontrollable.
    At the beginning it looked llike an impetuous act as the rebels, got carried away by their peers in Tunisia and Egypt took to the streets. Hundred days later, after a bloody hard lesson and casualties they have shown themselves organised and disciplined. Despite the airstrikes from the NATO they still haven't gained much ground. I don't share their optimism that the whole conflict will be over in 4 weeks, by the break of the Ramadam.

    June 30, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
  4. fnato

    Why do you think that rooting for Gaddafi is rooting for the dark side? What they fail to talk about is WHY Gaddafi has such fierce loyalty. He modernized libya, made life for the poorest tribes better, made women's rights the best in the region and made it so Libya is one of 2 or 3 countries in Africa to have an above average per capita GDP. The Rebels are sporting a MONARCHIST flag, and the ideas of the Monarch who Gaddafi overthrough over 40 years ago approximately matchl the ideas of the Saudi Monrachs. If the rebels win, you can be sure that women's rights will be trampled, the poorer tibes will be excluded from oil profits and large parts of the country will be left in poverty while tribal elites live like Saudi Royalty. This is better for the West, because it is far easier to extract cheap oil from a corrupt tribal regime.

    June 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Reply
    • Onesmallvoice

      Thank you, fnato. You said it all.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Gi Gi Aldred

      What you have said is 100% correct. Makes me really wonder where the likes of Obama and Clinton got their incredibly inaccurate information from. They were told to start this war on Libya by whoever dictates to them. Most of us know what you have said and yet the lies that have come out of this pair's mouth to justify their invasion of Libya makes them look like complete idiotic fools which they must be

      June 30, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Reply
      • fnato

        Obama and Clinton know EXACTLY what is going on. Do not think for one second that they are any less shameless imperialists than George W. Bush or LBJ or any other US president

        July 1, 2011 at 12:57 am |
      • sosafesosaneandsosecure

        the present puppet master is Bush ONE – the saudis don't like Gadaffi – he stormed out of more than one meeting with them calling them liars.. this is a personal grudge war of the saudies that we are drawn into – power from dead dinosaurs is the dark side. – GET OFF ALL OIL NOW! –

        July 1, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      its cause he dresses like captain hook! you know perception and then the hangings and the firing squads, and I'm sure it was all perfectly legal – we don't usually find ourselves comfortable with that kind of justice. too swift and cost effective. No one is allowed to be free anymore and it galls them to no end that he is. – that he says what he means, that he doesn't lie and he doesn't care who is offended. that;s why I like him because I am exactly the same way – without the shootings and the hangings. – society is not going to be any fun going forward so I am going to sail into the sunset here shortly.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • Khalifa Sulaiman

      Listen guy, I am a Libyan citizen and lived with this regime 42 years, you have no ideas what so ever about this corrupted person, since day one when he took the power, illegally and by force, he confiscated all the resources to serve himself and his family and very close circle of loyalist to him, he destroyed everything, he found a wealthy democratic country with parliament and well written constitution, excellent health care systems and very advanced educational institutions, he eliminated everything, he jailed thousands of educated peoples, killed hundreds of students and innocent citizens, attacked neighbouring countries such as Chad, Egypt, Sudan, and Tunisia. He confiscated people’s properties and destroyed successful businesses and well established private sector. In brief he converted Libya to his own private property and all the people just became slaves to him and his children and his tribe. If you don’t believe this go and read about Libya in the US Congress archive or even in the archive of Ghadafi himself, everything is documented. He is criminal and thief, the history will say his word and shall tell us the truth, the truth about who bring this cancer to destroy Libya? and why?

      July 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Reply
      • sherman

        He deposed a king – kings do not normally have democracies. What you are saying is not true – just because a lie is repeated hundreds of times over decades doesn't make it true. Gadaffi did tons a wonderful things and then said things that other leaders did not want known. The man always tells the truth and the truth hurts in this world of lies.

        July 2, 2011 at 10:34 am |
      • sherman

        and that's listen girl if you please! or Supreme Ruler of all Rilos.

        July 2, 2011 at 11:14 am |
      • fnato

        You should pick up a book and read about your own country. First of all: The KINGDOM OF LIBYA which gaddafi ended in 1969 was definetly not a democracy. It was a western backed monarchy run by a cyrinaican tribal elder. Second, King Idris was the one who actually developed a huge s fortune from oil sails to the West. Next, women's rights in libya were severely limitted prior to 1969 because of the conservative nature of the monarchy. Gaddafi has allowed women to move up in government and business (which is why so many of them are willing to fight for him now), he created a wonderful healthcare system (the life expectancy in libya is the same as in the US! unheard of anywhere else in africa) He developed the poorest tribes. The problem is that he had to nationalize the wealth that tribal elders from the old regime hoarded, This created a lot of bitterness which is being played out right now.

        July 3, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • ken

      Giive the rebels some decent weapons and ammo and it will end quick.

      July 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Reply
    • stambo

      Exactly. People forget the the people of Iraq under Saddam had the most moderate muslim goverment in the entire ME. The women went out freely, went to University. They had food, health, and unheard of freedoms. Then came the USA with 'shock and awe' for 'regime change'. Now Iraq has lost two entire generations in the process of being 'freed'.

      Libya is the same story, just a bit smaller. Libyans had unheard of freedoms, education, food, and health just a number of weeks ago. You can bet that now, after being 'freed', they will lose a couple generations rebuilding what the West just took from them. There is no place in the world for moderate, developed Muslim countries.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:51 am | Reply
  5. ItDepends

    On what's in the aircraft.

    June 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  6. My2Cents

    It the same problem that happens every time the decision is made to rely exclusively on airpower without boots-on-the-ground, the air force cannot identify targets, or assess the effectiveness of their attacks, effectively in a timely manner. And close air support [CAS] is totally out of the question.

    The solution, of course, is to put boots-on-the-ground. If they had send it the special forces troops to work with the rebels to locate targets and coordinate air support like they did in Afghanistan. This would have made CAS the standard approach and created casualty rates in Gadaffi’s troops enough to break them, same as in Aghanistan, and all the cities would be in rebel hands by now. Gadaffi and his remaining supports would be dead, captured, or hiding in the desert plotting a guerrilla campaign that is none of our concern. And all the special forces could have returned home and left the people of Libya to sort out a new government.

    June 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Reply
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      other peoples governments are none of our business – unless they are eating dogs and then I say nuke the lot of 'em!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:04 am | Reply
      • YoungJedi

        You would say that wouldn't you

        July 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      of course I love my dogs – you know that. I just can't be one of the sheep – I have to be the only one, no kids, no in-laws, no groupies with guns.. just me. and a book, and visiting the other social engineers so I can debunk them and make them laugh at themselves. Nice fantasy huh? it will end very very badly and I will turn my back on this evil mess and pretend to be a pirate. – maybe even get a boat parrot. Teach him to say... "off with their heads" and "who killed JFK" –

      July 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • QuietGargoyle

      Proper CAS would make a big difference, but authorization for that was never in the cards. This article is misleading in that it doesn't acknowledge the tenuous political alliance that got UNSCR1973 passed in the first place. It is clear from subsequent statements by the African Union, Arab League, Russia and China that UN approval was a one-time thing.

      If Ghadaffi and sons had kept their mouths shut and hadn't made speeches about hunting the 'rats' down and 'fighting to the last man' they may well have gotten away with their repression of a not-very-well-planned uprising.

      However, its too late for that now. This may take a while yet, but momentum and initiative are on the side of the rebels. NATO strikes will never be enough by themselves, but they are serving to draw down Ghadaffi assets and prevent his troops from conducting co-ordinated mass counterattacks. The regime is being squeezed, and every day brings more defections and bits of territory lost.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • NRPjbo

      I am sure that "boots on the ground" will be the next thing Obama will try to force on us. I am sure it makes the most sense to waste as much of our money as possible on occupation, oh I mean "Nation Building" so that the US can be completely bankrupted by our corupt politicians.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • NRPjbo

      You mean that the SF could have come home and the crazed Muslim wack jobs would continue to kill each other OR we stay and occupy, I mean "nation build" for the next 50 years because "thats' the right thing to do". Once we go in, we never go out and the Afgahnanstan analogy doesn't hold because we are still there, we didn't leave it to them to figure out.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  7. Richie

    Good question CNN, good question...

    July 1, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply
  8. truefax

    Put a bullet in Gahdafi and GTFO let the rest sort it self out.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      step outside – eat a dog- and then say that!

      July 1, 2011 at 11:05 am | Reply
  9. Carrington1

    Few more deserve to stand in the dock of justice more than Gahdafi. However, it would certainly save a lot of lives to give him a graceful way out. He has been given nothing to lose by standing his ground till the bitter end. "It's the principal of the thing" can be one of the most destructive phrases in the English language.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • sosafesosaneandsosecure

      But if you listen to the speeches he has made since this began you will see that his mind is made up and not even a soul mate with a sailing yacht and 9 ports of call – (4 allowed and 5 semi-allowed) and the prospect of writing the definitive tome on revolutionary philosophy would drag him away. – Otherwise you see NATO wins and since he is the lone wolf standing against all odds – he's going to prove the point. its being dead right and he's determined to do it too. – that's another whole kettle of fish – No one is playing a better reality that the one playing in his head –

      July 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
      • mashallah

        you are doing a good job by spreading the truth about this conflict. the rebel are call several time to come and have dialogue about the future of libya. question are ask ? what should be done to transition for democracy, constitution, civil society and what so ever the refuse all the offer and their demand is gaddaffi must go . now who interest is that seeing a collaspe of libya regime system . that is obviously the west interest not for libya people because if it was truly for they could have accept the recent call for elections.that is foolishness of rebel proclaim leadership shame on them for allowing outside manipulation in their rank and the have no chance of ruling in libya.

        July 3, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  10. Pert ner Suppertime

    Well I stand by President Obama. I think it was the right call. If he hadn't interviened, alot of people would have been slaughtered. Plus the rebels are advancing ever closer to Tripoli, so its just a matter of time.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  11. dirtystone

    This is a pointless waste of time for America. No matter WHO is left in control, they will hate America, and never be a reliable friend. They are muslims, and they hate the US, period. Meanwhile America is nearly bankrupt and I must ask, how do we have the money for this?

    July 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  12. dirtystone

    As far as "a lot of people would have been slaugtered..."..........what about all the people being slaughtered in Africa every day in a number of countries? Why aren't we helping them too? Think about that question.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  13. DP

    let Ahmida go and fight there, instead of keeping his sorrow ... in a safe and warm place at the University of New England...

    July 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  14. Teddy

    ....Who is to blame..?....It Was Obama that Single handed Started this war...Now with 10,000s...possibly 100,000s of innocents kil led, cities destroyed...untold destruction...Obama was Told by All U.S. Military Not to start this war..but for Ego and in another war...with untold suffering and cost...

    July 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • Phil

      Yeah, you're ignorant...

      Obama didn't start this war all by himself. It was a collective effort by NATO which consists of many different countries.

      Yes, thousands have died, but by the hands of the government in Libya...not by the United States or NATO. Gadhafi has killed more of his own people than this war ever will.

      Gadhafi must die. Much like Osama did...but perhaps slower and more painfully.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  15. Common Sense

    You mean British Petroliums war for control of Libya's oil fields?

    July 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  16. tmm77625

    Libya is not our problem. We should not be over there. We should not have gotten involved. "Protecting civilians" is clearly BS, since we're not protecting the civilians in Syria, where the situation is very much the same.

    Obama went in because the Euros asked him to because they could not get the job done themselves. Even after we destroyed Libya's air defenses they still cannot get it done. They wanted military intervention to protect Libya's oil, which mainly goes to Europe, not to the US. Obama allowed the US to be used as the proxy military for France and Italy, and it was all about oil. Anyone on the left who supports Obama in this after protesting against push and chanting "no blood for oil" should just have "hypocrite" tattooed on their foreheads.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • NRPjbo

      You are absolutly right...I voted for him based in large part on his promise to get us out of Iraq and Afgahanastan. Instead he puts us into another unwinnable war. This is about oil and it is also about transfering our national wealth to the rich and the huge corperations so that the pols can continue to get those lobbyist dollars for reelection. RIght now Obama and Bush should be sharing a jail cell.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  17. borisjimbo

    No; boots on the ground will be required to finally root Gadhafi out of whatever spiderhole he winds up in, unless he's willing to leave while still alive.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • jim

      May we assume that yours will be part of the "boots on the ground", or are you just another lame-brained armchair general?

      July 2, 2011 at 9:00 am | Reply
  18. NRPjbo

    It's a good thing we pay so much for the "best and brightest" in our government. It was obvious that it was an idiotic decision to attack Libya in the first place but those "bright" folks in DC couldn't see it? It's just more of our resources being funneled to the military industrial complex, AGAINST THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE! Obama was supposed to get us out of the wars we were in already, not waste more of our resouces on anohter unwinnable escapade.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • tmm77625

      The best and brightest do not go to work for the government; the government merely pays itself as if that is who they employed.

      July 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  19. NRPjbo

    I don't know how you think that the rebels have anything on their side, other than NATO. Much of the coutnry supports Gaddafi and the Rebel fource doesn't reprsent the full will of the people. We acted rashly in getting involved, it was stupid as it was unwinnable from the start. Even if by some chance we do get Gaddafi, whoever gains power will be just as bad if not worse. This is a grab for oil for NATO and nothing more, and we should not be wasting our valuable resouces on it.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  20. TexasChemist

    Air power could easily cripple Libya if it was done properly. Unfortunately, the situation doesn't call for the type of aerial bombardment that could do it. We did it to Japan in WWII, Vietnam is another good example and what we did in Kosovo worked very well. The type of bombardment necessary would target not only gov't installations, but also power stations, bridges and civilian buildings that may be harboring Libyan military or gov't officials. These are the types of targets that will destroy a country within weeks. NATO can't bombard these types of targets w/o a full declaration of war from the U.N. and NATO countries.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Dog Eater

      You lost in vietnam.

      July 2, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
      • sherman

        wanna rematch?

        July 2, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  21. KMC from FL

    I see the author has been talking to Wesley Clark, who has always asserted the air campaign against Serbia had nothing to do with Milosevic finally buckling under. It was the threat of an attack by a piddling invasion force that finally did him in. The ground forces that Clark mustered for the invasion of Kosovo would have been ineffective in the absence of the air campaign. Some folks will never concede that airpower can make a huge, even deciding, difference in the outcome of a conflict.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • NRPjbo

      KMC-No one is denying that you can't kill people effectivly with an air campaign, anyone that says that never heard of the first gulf war...What is undeniable is the fact that you still have to have boots on the ground in order to actually acomplish a goal and win the war. This mess we are in is a bunch of idiotic, half steps that will never cause any real change in the region...

      July 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Reply
      • QuietGargoyle

        The boots on the ground are being supplied by the rebels, and they're not asking for any other 'boots'. They ARE asking for the Ghadaffi-looted funds to be unfrozen, and for additional heavy weapons. However, whether they get those or not, the end is really just a foregone conclusion since time is not on the Regime's side.

        July 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Borysd

      Air- power will not win a war as we have experienced since win a war you need to over take real estate and hold it and pacify the citizens (insurgents?) need boots on the ground and many of them to do this. Our Generals suck at fighting a insurgency!

      July 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  22. War?!

    What war are we talking about CNN? The one where the President didn't get approval from Congress and then said it is not a war becuse he isn't attacking "hostiles"... wow. Get out NOW AMERICA!

    July 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  23. gerald

    You can't fight a war on a schedule. The Rebels are winning. Gadhaffi will fall.

    July 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  24. Borysd

    Is the International Criminal Court going to issue warrants for NATO leaders for premeditated murder when NATO assassinates Gadhafi and his family?
    We caused a disaster in the Persian Gulf by destroying the balance of power between Iran and Iraq, we are well on the way of destabilized Pakistan and now Africa? The African Union is not happy with NATO`s attempt at regime change and NATO will certainly not win a war with all of Africa....but you never know with these bumbling idiotic politicians.... war has a way of getting out of hand and is hard to reign in.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  25. Ryan

    America makes assumptions about airpower that are not historically accurate. Bombing did not cripple Nazi Germany, and atomic bombs excepted, they didn't cripple Imperial Japan. Strategic bombing was ineffective in Vietnam and Iraq. The closest bombing has ever come to a strategic victory was in Kosovo, where NATO Air Forces reported destroying more tanks than Serbia had in inventory (NATO claimed to have destroyed 94 tanks–the actual number was 14). The fact of the matter is that without effective ground forces, little will be accomplished by bombing from the air.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  26. CorporalRMB

    Barbary Three, USMC !!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  27. Angel Cardenas

    Just wondering,what are you supposed to do if you're the leader of a country or land or property and your enemies rise up against you to try and kill you.Drink Coca-cola together?gimmie a break!you destroy your enemies so they can never rise up again,the romans did it,the greeks did it,egyptians did it,USA does it.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  28. stagecoach

    If Obama wasn’t busy bombing Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen he probably would be bombing red states.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:08 am | Reply
    • jim

      That might actually be of some value.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:02 am | Reply
    • James

      Not that he hasn't thought about it. But then I have never seen evidence that Obama has ever had an original thought.–Except those that come from his wife.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  29. Joe V.

    I guess they figured they were going to bomb the Libyans back into the stone age, just like they were going to do to the Vietnamese.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:36 am | Reply
  30. sherman

    why does this article deserve 4 days up on CNN? 4 days. Is it to convince the Americans (us) that we should go in like the deliberately miss translated article from last night. – these guys burn my butt with their games.

    July 2, 2011 at 10:44 am | Reply
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