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Libya: Shhh, don't tell the rebels, but they've lost


If Libya were a prizefight, Moammar Kadafi apparently just won -- on a decision.

One minute we're debating how or if the United States should get involved in the crisis in Libya -- see   The conversation: The case for and against U.S. intervention in Libya. And the next, the red-white-and-blue corner has thrown in the towel -- see Kadafi victory or stalemate likely in Libya, a U.S. official says.

Did someone just yell "fix!"?

The Times reported Thursday on a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing at which James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said that Libya could end up being split, or "you could end up with a Somalia-like situation."

Either way, because of its superior weapons and logistical capabilities, "I think over time, over the longer term, that the regime will prevail," Clapper said.

Gen. Ronald Burgess, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, echoed that. "Initially the momentum was with the other side -- that has started to shift. Whether or not it has fully moved to Kadafi's side is not clear at this time, but we have now reached a state of equilibrium," he said.

Those sentiments didn't sit well with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), though.  They may have no problem with helping the Republicans in Congress gut programs that millions of Americans need, but they don’t like a dictator running roughshod over his own people in a far-away land.

The United States may not be able to afford healthcare for everyone, but Lierberman suggested that perhaps it could supply weapons to the Libyan rebels, or share "intelligence with them about the movement of the Kadafi forces, jam communications."

Sure.  And perhaps we could take away some of the weapons our troops in Afghanistan are using to do that, Joe. Or maybe another war can be a job-creation tool? Or maybe we could cut some more safety-net programs so more Americans can suffer to pay for the weaponry to help the suffering Libyans.

Who, undoubtedly, would be really grateful, like the Iraqis and the Afghans.   

McCain, however, is worried about America's image.

"The president has said that Kadafi must go. … But we now seem to be increasingly faced with the possibility that Kadafi will not go -- that he will instead recapture control of Libya or at least enough of Libya to wage a counterrevolution of murder and oppression for a long time to come against anyone who stands in his way.

"If that were to happen, it would establish a dangerous counter-example to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. It would signal to rulers across the region that the best way to maintain power in the face of peaceful demands for justice is through swift and merciless violence.

“Perhaps the greater concern for us all should be what it would mean for America's credibility and moral standing if a tyrant were allowed to massacre Arabs and Muslims in Libya, and we watched it happen."

Earth to John: Most of the rulers in the Middle East don't need a signal to tell them how to maintain power. They've been doing it a long time. They get it. 

As for moral standing, I doubt many Muslims are looking to us for that, especially with your Republican colleague, Rep. Peter King of New York, holding hearings right now on the homegrown terrorism threat from Muslim Americans.

No, like it or not, there’s not much America can do to help the Libyan rebels. They’re fighting to free themselves from tyranny. It's their fight. In the end, their fate is tied to what Benjamin Franklin said on signing the Declaration of Independence:

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."


Libya: To oust a tyrant

Rising to shake off the fear in Libya

Doyle McManus: One step at a time on Libya

Libyan American on Libya: 'Now I Understand'

Doyle McManus: A no-fly zone in Libya is a war cry

Unholy alliance: Leftist leaders in Latin America should be ashamed of embracing Moammar Kadafi

-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: A rebel fighter runs for cover during an airstrike by government forces in Ras Lanuf. Credit: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters


Comments () | Archives (12)

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Scott Free

No, like it or not, there’s not much America can do to help the Libyan rebels. They’re fighting to free themselves from tyranny. It's their fight. In the end, their fate is tied to what Benjamin Franklin said on signing the Declaration of Independence:

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

And then he promptly negotiated the Treaty of Alliance with France which led to thousands of French troops being deployed to th US helping us secure or freedom. The war costs France billions which it could ill afford at the time, but then I guess they made a mistake. Wasting their blood and treasure on helping a country become free, one that now places so little value on the freedom of others..


In all fairness, the French didn't help the American Revolution simply out of their goodwill. The French were at war with the British before the Revolution and France simply went with the idiom 'an enemy of my enemy is my friend'.

There are lots of things the US can do without sending boots on the ground. How hard would it be to use satellites to pin point Kadafi's location within Tripoli and send in some ballistic missile or drone to finish him off?

Dan Wood

To help the Libyan rebels, why not go back to an old school mutual defense pact between countries that recognize the new rebel government as the legitimate government of Libya? Immediate assistance could be sent to the rebels. For example, France, which has recognized the new rebel government, will simply bring its military to bear and defend its new ally. You might say that the UN was created to stop the need for such agreements, but given the flow of history, it may now be time for new allies to support the new Libyan government. All that is needed is the UN's acquiescence, not its outright support.


Of course, a hunk of America was starving when we did Lend-Lease to the British, and forced ourselves into a war with Hitler. From the tone of this article, one would expect that the author would have preferred that we not get involved.

We know what kind of man Kadaffi is, and is that the guy we want to have remain in power? No matter what, Kadaffi has listened to Mr. Obama's words about him, and, should he regain power, we can expect a bit of pay-back.


The comparison with the Colonies receiving help from the French, while apt, also forgets that France was nearly bankrupted by the conflict, resulting in the French Revolution.

With the economy as battered as it is, I don't think we want to go down that path.

Hugh J. Grant

Shhh, don't tell Obama, but he's the reason the rebels are losing !!


Again Europe sits on its hands. The Italians want Libya's oil, the UK has BP well situated, the Russians and French see deals restocking Libya's army. Who knows what Germany thinks?

Yet somehow there is a hardcore element within the U.S. that sees the U.S. as the central figure in every world affair.

And then, of course, there are the false choice pieces like the one presented in this article. These little gems simply point out imperfections within the U.S. to imply that no action outside of U.S. borders is justifiable until all the problems at home are fixed.


Libya is Italy's former colony -- so, ultimately this is Italy's mess.

Let Italy fix it. Why should the US? Or perhaps France could do something. Or England, or some other euopean colonial power, the joined efforts of which messed up the world 100 years ago causing the problems we still have.

I'm tired of Americans dying to clean up colonial messes left over by those guys. Let them, or leave it alone. We've done our share.


I am sad to say that like the Polish resistance in the ghetto's, the radios will fall silent one by one.
But lost? No, silenced for the time being perhaps, driven underground where a new revolution will be spawned.
It is human nature where those who were not part of this revolt who have seen what has come of it will be forced now to take a personal and secret stand against the unbridled violence laid upon the whole people of Libya, and the dictator will become ever more detached and paranoid as the day of atonement approaches at the appointed hour of a higher beings choosing.


Wow, some ignorant folks here.

To point out that France helped us win the American revolution is correct. However, the reasons they helped have to do with their relationship with Britain, not some patriotic idealism.

Here's the troubles.

1. you help these rebels, what happens when there's an insurgence in other muslim countries? Do we help them all?

2. if we are seen as helping the rebels, we will be seen as interfering yet again in muslim world which in turn will be used to strengthen the radicalization of muslim terrorist groups.

3. we can't afford it. The military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq will eventually cost this country nearly 5 TRILLION dollars when you factor in the hard costs and the costs of caring for the hundreds of thousands who have served and reconstruction efforts.

There are injustices all over the world. We are in an economic crisis. Unless you are willing to pay a significant tax increase we can't solve all of these problems alone.

Tom Birchfield


..."Stand your ground! Live free....or die!


Ooowww! Those bullets hurt. I don't like being a rebel anymore.



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