Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Don't Get Up: A Petulantly Open Thread on Libya

OK, fine. Everyone else can lay around and have a few beers and I’ll take care of everything. Don’t get up, just relax and I’ll make sure the lights stay on and the place stays clean and the maniacs don’t kill the kids and dinner is ready on time.

No problem.

Nato takes charge of enforcing Libya no-fly zone (as long as the US takes the heat).

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday that after lengthy negotiations the 28-member alliance reached a deal to enforce the no-fly zone. … Rasmussen said the Nato operation was limited to enforcing the no-fly zone…

Sure, as Gaddafi shells cities you’ll orbit overhead.

Consider this a petulantly  Open Thread.

Now, I get it as well as anyone. Certain Things cannot be said and done. As Spiffy pointed out yesterday, though, I don’t have to pretend to like it.

We will see how this NATO-led mission to (let’s be honest) make Gaddafi gone works out. But hearing on the radio that NATO will take over only and specifically the No Fly Zone just made me want to kick something. Everybody knows what this is all about. Everybody agrees that it is OK for hundreds or thousands to die instead of one deranged animal. And everybody agrees that the Arab nations sending a few jets and the European nations at least having the bowels to officially fly jets over a country with no air defense is a Step Forward. But my country and my military and my president get to, again, take all the Adult Grade Heat that everyone else can’t stand.

China can dance into a corner making wildly contradictory claims based on being a World Leader and a relatively homicidal dictatorship itself. Russia boldly stating that homicidal dictatorships are actually a pretty good idea wouldn’t surprise anyone. Patrolling the defanged NFZ will give Canada and Europe and the rest of Western Civilization enough self-satisfaction to roundly criticize America for doing too much or too little too soon or too late (which is fortunate, because we are almost out of internal critics here at home).

And you know what? If what we all hope happens and the rebels managed to cut off the remains of Gaddafi’s military and kill the stupid prick themselves, they themselves will the only ones to thank America in the least.

The content of the article linked above the fold gives me some solace:

Rasmussen said the Nato operation was limited to enforcing the no-fly zone, but a senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity later in Washington, said Nato reached a “political agreement” to also command all other operations aimed at protecting civilians – meaning strikes against Qaddafi’s ground forces.

Thanks. You’ll take out the trash but only when nobody is looking. That’s a start.

The United Arab Emirates said it would send 12 planes to take part in operations to enforce the no-fly zone.

In the context of my current petulance I am actually quite happy to see this large a commitment by the UAE. If we are to ever get away from the “commune with one person doing all the work” international state of affairs it is critical – particularly in this region at this time – that nations make escalations in their commitment to international matters. We would all rather use words to solve all problems, but sometimes the dog needs to be put down. Nations, like individuals, are not really grown up until they take that kind of responsibility.

Guillaud said a French plane destroyed an army artillery battery near the eastern frontline town of Ajdabiyah, 150 km south of Benghazi. Ajdabiyah is strategically important for both sides as it commands the coastal highway to the west.

Viva la France! I have no doubt that the members of the French and Canadian and British and UAE and the rest of the militaries involved are as sick of this topic as I am. They know what needs to be done, they are good at doing it, and they would be happy to do it, too. If you could interview the UAE pilots you would probably find some (all?) have normal lives and families and homes and would love to blow up tanks shelling cities.

I hope their timid masters let them.


  1. DTOzone

    no matter what happens, as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House, this country will never unite under anything, there will never be consensus.

    Republicans will always trip over themselves to oppose whatever Obama does, even if they say conflicting things within two weeks. They’d rather divide the country and tear it apart with a rhetorical civil war than accept a Democrat in power.

    And the left will never be satisfied. I heard twice today that Obama has ruined American credibility abroad, either because it makes Obama look like a war criminal or because he looks weak.

    If either side had any idea what the rest of the world was thinking, they’d know they’re both wrong.

  2. Shaun Appleby

    The NATO command structure is long overdue.  Trust the tactical analysis teams to apply assets as required.  There are two E-8Cs in theatre, and ground vehicles are their intended prey:

    The E-8’s ground-moving radar can tell approximate number of vehicles, location, speed, and direction of travel. It cannot identify exactly what type of vehicle a target is, tell what equipment it has, or discern whether it is friendly, hostile, or a bystander, so commanders often crosscheck the JSTARS data against other sources. In the Army, JSTARS data is analyzed in and disseminated from a Ground Station Module (GSM).

    Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS Wikipedia

    That’s a sensitive “unique asset” which is fully integrated to NATO C3 systems.  I’ll let ya’ know when they go home.

  3. my neighbor, who couldn’t cook, decided to have a barbecue. He invited a bunch of people and then, at the last minute, asked me to do the cooking. I got a plate of food out of it and he took all of the credit. A few weeks later, he started talking about having another one. It didn’t happen, because I not so politely declined the privilege of spending the afternoon sweating over a grill. I heard through the grapevine that he started badmouthing me after that. Oh well, live and learn.

  4. sricki

    might as well mention… sricki is feeling a bit melancholy the moment. Maybe it’s the wine — or maybe the wine is helping.

    Oddly… at the moment… I wish I were at work. Go figure.

  5. Elch

    If we look at China and Russia in this context it’s also worth looking at the motivations of the “active” European countries.

    Over here, before the NFZ was setup, there were doubts that it will solve any of the problems. The main reasons the media here in Central Europe talk about is the outcome of the Balcans NFZ in the 90s and the fact that the political options have not been played out entirely.

    I just wonder why a French country leader is so keen to kick his best buddy’s bud in Lybia now. This doesn’t pass the smell test to me. Elections?

  6. virginislandsguy

    Tweet from David Cenciotti:

    @scotiatide @NotPJORourke just had confirmation that 6 A-10s landed today at Aviano. The 2 AC-130s deployed to Sigonella. about 11 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to scotiatide

    I’m guessing they’ll be used to make sure the loyalist armor now retreating from eastern Libya never make it back to Tripoli.

  7. creamer

    what happens when the Kurds in Turkey request a no-fly zone to protect them from the Turks?

    Maybe we could incorporate a nfz over Syria at the same time. And Chechnya………

  8. HappyinVT

    How many other women could tell this same story?

    A shocking scene occurred in Tripoli on Saturday when a gun was pointed at Sky News after a woman tried to tell foreign journalists about being raped and tortured by Libyan officials.


    We were having breakfast in our hotel when the woman broke in and said she’d been picked up at a checkpoint in the city.

    She claimed she had been held for two days, and that she had been raped and tortured.

    The woman showed marks on her body which she said she had received as a result of beatings by the people who were holding her, Gaddafi supporters.

    She showed marks on her legs and on her wrists, which she suggested came from handcuffs.

    In a state of great distress, she said she had suffered this beating because she was from Benghazi, the city where the uprising began in the east of the country.

    She was taken out of the hotel by forces loyal to Gaddafi and taken away in a van.

    Video if you want at the link.

  9. HappyinVT

    Rebels moved unchallenged along a road littered with evidence of the air campaign and the speed of their enemies’ retreat. The blackened carcasses of destroyed tanks, armoured vehicles and military trucks were pushed to the side of the tarmac.

    In their hurried retreat from Ras Lanuf, government forces abandoned piles of ammunition. They included grey wooden boxes containing rockets but stamped as holding “parts of bulldozer” manufactured in North Korea.…  

    Just a bit of curiosity.

  10. Good on ya’.

    Tomorrow night when Obama addresses the nation it seems that there will be more international consensus than it would have seemed a day ago. The goal is to protect Libyans citizens from the very presence of Gaddafi, which is the most logical interpretation of both UN 1973 and the realities at hand.

    Ras Lanuf is already back in Democratic hands (I am switching my lexicon away from “rebel”) and Surt is in the sights. I wish them good luck and good judgement.

  11. HappyinVT

    9:30pm  The US has pulled back its naval firepower aimed at Libyan forces, a sign of confidence that the week-long assault has crippled Gaddafi’s air defences, as the military mission gains ground in Tripoli.

    At least one of the five navy ships and submarines that launched Tomahawk cruise missiles in the early days of the air strikes has left the area, defence officials said.…  

  12. Sending our brave men and women in uniform into harm’s way is not a decision I make lightly. But when someone like Qaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region, it is in our national interest to act.  In fact, it’s our responsibility.

    Our mission in Libya is clear and focused — and we are succeeding.

    Along with our allies and partners, we are enforcing the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.  Working with other countries, we have put in place a no-fly zone and other measures that will help prevent further violence and brutality. Qaddafi’s air defenses have been taken out, and his forces are no longer advancing across Libya.

    As a consequence of our quick action, the lives of countless innocent civilians have been saved, and a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided.

    The role of American forces in this mission is limited. After providing unique capabilities at the beginning, we are now handing over control of the no-fly zone to our NATO allies and partners, including Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

    The United States has also joined with the international community to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance.  We’re offering support to the Libyan opposition and have frozen tens of billions of dollars of Qaddafi’s assets.

    Our message to Qaddafi is clear: attacks against innocent civilians must end, his forces must be pulled back, humanitarian aid must reach Libyans in need, and those responsible for the violence in Libya must be held accountable.

    The progress we’ve made over the past seven days demonstrates how the international community should work, with many nations, not just the United States, bearing the responsibility and cost of upholding international law.

    Every American can be proud of the service of our men and women in uniform who have once again stood up for our interests and ideals.  And as we move forward, I will continue to keep each of you fully informed on our progress.


    Barack Obama

    President of the United States

    P.S. On Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. EDT, I will deliver an address at the National Defense University in Washington, DC on the situation in Libya. You can watch the speech live at

  13. HappyinVT

    In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Erdogan said that talks were still under way with Muammar Gaddafi’s government [for a ceasefire] and the Transitional National Council. He also revealed that Turkey is about to take over the running of the rebel-held Benghazi harbour and airport to facilitate humanitarian aid, in agreement with Nato.


    He [Erdogan] had spoken to Gaddafi repeatedly before the air strikes and to the Libyan prime minister since, while Turkey’s foreign minister was in close touch with the Benghazi-based opposition.

    It was crucial that contacts were maintained with both sides, he said. “Gaddafi wants a ceasefire, this came up when I was talking to the prime minister, but it’s important for those circumstances to mature. It wouldn’t be consistent to keep shooting while demanding a ceasefire.”…  

    The opposition council has an agreement with Qatar (I believe it is) to export oil in the next week or so.

  14. Routers now reporting that Surt is in the hands of the Democratic Movement. So much for commentary in recent hours that Surt – Gaddafi’s home town – would be a tough fight.

    AJE and others have reporters in Surt – a good number of journalists were taken there recently to witness “spontaneous rallies in support of Gaddafi”. We will see soon, but if Surt is liberated then there may not be much military resistance left willing to die for Mo-mo.

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