Unfortunately, with all the running around I'm doing, I can't insulate myself from what's going on in the world. It would be nice if I could because this Libya operation is pissing me off.
We've gone, in less than a week, from wondering whether to enact a no-fly zone or not to a UN resolution and a full on ground attack operation. Now, I can understand taking out anti-air installations and cratering runways in the guise of a no fly edict, but how come we're hitting tank formations? How come we're hitting supply convoys? How come we're hitting government compounds in Tripoli? Last time I checked, tanks don't fly and neither do semi-trucks (unless you kick 'em out the back of a C-130 on a pallet during a low level cargo offload).
To me, it looks like "regime change" revisited. Nobody's mentioning what they'll do if Gadhafy manages to weather all this. Judging from the "rebels" organization, that's a genuine possibility. So what are we prepared to do about that? Are we planning to send "advisory" teams in, a la the Northern Alliance operation at the beginning of the Afghan fiasco? Or are we prepared to put up with a wounded and dangerous Gadhafy? Seems to me we're determined to get him out regardless.
I'll give George Bush (well, really his "handlers" because he couldn't have pulled it off) credit for one thing. They actually had a plan (not saying it was good) when they decided to remove Saddam Hussein. They prepared for it before Bush was even elected. This Libyan adventure looks like the most poorly planned military operation of our time.
This has a distinct possibility (probability even) to descend into a long, low grade insurgency, something I'm certain our military, political (well, the Republicans would like to pin another quagmire on Obama), and economic (the oil companies, both inside the US and out) leaders certainly don't want.
To be completely cynical (which, at this point, is probably being realistic), this op was nothing more than taking advantage of civil unrest to make an oil grab. It's not easy to pump oil and transfer it out to the Med ports (a lot of Libya's oil production is out in the desert) via hundreds of miles of pipelines that are easy targets for an insurgency. The only satisfactory end would be Gadhafy gone along with his loyalists, and a deal in place with the new government for the oil rights. This requires a strong government, able to keep their boot on the necks of those who sympathize with Gadhafy and would be willing to agitate. Looking at the motley crew of "rebels", I don't see how that's going to happen without "assistance" from the Western coalition (you know the Arab League states are only there for window dressing).
Ending, I can't see any way this doesn't end up as another "long war", or at least a commitment on NATO's part for "advisory" and "training" operations for a long time to come. My only hope is that Obama ends our participation in the next few weeks and leaves it to the Euros to figure out. I'm not optimistic.
I'll be back later this evening.