Saturday, March 19, 2011
French planes are in action over Libya and have already "neutralized" one Libyan Army vehicle. The war is on. Where it stops is anyone's guess. Although the stated objective is humanitarian--to prevent a massacre in Benghazi--it is hard to imagine that anyone--rebels, western powers, Arab powers--will be content to leave the wounded lion in place. But no one that I am aware of has enunciated a clear strategy to accomplish that goal. To be sure, if Kadhafi has committed his best forces in the east, and they are decimated by foreign air power, he may be considerably weakened in his strongholds in the west. But the rebels have not thus far proved to be an effective fighting force, and no outside power has yet committed ground troops, nor have the rebels invited them to do so. So we may be at the beginning of the usual engrenage: limited initial objectives soon have to be widened, and before you know, you're in a war whose strategy has not been clearly thought through and whose exit may prove to be quite elusive.