Thursday, March 17, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Procrastinating: Libyan Intervention

So the Security Council decided to pass a resolution to intervene (NY Times link).  I believe it's dangerously late but given the reservations expressed so far it seems to be just about what I wanted to come out of it.  We'll see if we get dragged too far in.

In case you don't want to use up your 20 New York Times article reads, some key points.

Beyond that, the diplomat said that officials in Britain, France and the United States were all adamant that Arab League forces take part in the military actions and help pay for the operations, and that it not be led by NATO, to avoid the appearance that the West was attacking another Muslim country.

That support is likely to consist of much of what the United States already has in the region — Awacs radar planes to help with air traffic control should there be airstrikes, other surveillance aircraft and about 400 Marines aboard two amphibious assault ships in the region, the Kearsarge and the Ponce. 
The Americans could also provide signal-jamming aircraft in international airspace to muddle Libyan government communications with its military units.

I'm nervous about the possibility of using our marines, but Awacs, surveillance, and signal jamming aircraft sound like about the right level of US involvement.

The resolution stresses the necessity of notifying the Arab League of military action and specifically notes an “important role” for Arab nations in enforcing the no-fly zone. Diplomats said Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were considering taking a leading role, with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt also considering participating.

This should definitely be primarily their show.  I see a role for the west to use our technological superiority to take out Qaddafi's most dangerous weapons, particularly ground to air missiles, and to take out his most dangerous fighters, but after that it should be their job.  We've shown from the previous two Gulf Wars that our aircraft are close to impervious to the air forces in the region so it would be needlessly wasteful of lives to have them go in as the first line in an even fight when experience has shown the chances for casualties for us are slim.  After that though, our direct action should be over and it should be their job.

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