Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Libya War: Leslie Gelb on the risks of escalation

Leslie Gelb, intimating that he's speaking for the generals or some substantial portion of them, a not totally implausible insinuation coming from an establishmentarian like him, writes in U.S. Military Not Happy Over Libya The Daily Beast 03/31/2011 about the military risks in the Libya War. The following warning is a sensible one:

Remember, underneath everything happening now are the two driving goals that President Obama set: to protect populations and to oust Colonel Gaddafi. In all likelihood, U.S. coalition partners cannot achieve these goals without U.S. jets resuming combat missions. Even with more U.S. air power, it probably won't be possible to stop Gaddafi without using some coalition ground forces. So, pressures to do more and more will continue to lurk. All the Pentagon can do, then, is to raise tough questions (Who are those rebels we're determined to help, could they be Muslim extremists?) to diffuse pressures on the U.S. military to do more.

... Next time, Obama should make himself count to one million before he sets absolutists goals like "Gaddafi must go," and "We must protect civilian lives." [my emphasis]
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