Posts Tagged ‘Xan Rice’

The Human Cost: Obama’s Debacle in Libya — Update #3 (April 26)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

While the international coaltion hesitates to take decisive action to remove Qaddafi from power, the human cost rises.

Qaddafi’s forces unleased artillery attacks on Misrata’s civilian population Tuesday, with devastating effect. The following dispatch gives you a sense of what these words mean, in human terms. See

Charles Livingston (Misrata) and Richard Boudreaux (Tripoli), “Rebel Gains Fail to End Siege of Libyan City–Opposition Triumph Is Followed by Shelling of Civilians in Misrata; NATO Strikes Gadhafi Compound, Escalating Campaign,” Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2011.

For a critique of Obama’s foreign-policy decision making style, which has led to the current debacle in Libya, see

Michael Gerson, “Obama’s serial indecision on the Middle East,”
Washington Post, April 26, 2011.

In an op-ed in the New York Times this morning, James M. Dubik draws attention to the very obvious need for U.S. leadership in the Libyan campaign, as follows:

In war, leadership is not exercised from the rear by those who seek to risk as little as possible. Washington must stop pretending that we’ve passed the leadership for the Libyan operation on to NATO. We did so in Bosnia, claiming Europe would take the lead, only to have the 1995 Srebrenica genocide jolt us back to reality. Like it or not, America’s leadership has been crucial to most of NATO’s successes. The same will be true in Libya (emphasis added).

–James M. Dubik, “Finish the Job,” New York Times, April 25, 2011 (op-ed).

You almost have to pinch yourself in the arm to realize that the coalition acting against Qaddafi is comprised of the strongest military alliance in the world, plus other countries from the region.

Could U.S. leadership make a difference in the results, and the time and lost lives required to achieve them?

We may never know.

What is certain, however, is that the Republicans will use Obama’s “leadership…from the rear by (one) who seek(s) to risk as little as possible” against him in the 2012 presidential campaign.

The Trenchant Observer

Obama’s Debacle in Libya — Update #2 (April 23)

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Qaddafi’s troops are reported to have withdrawn from the siege of Misurata. See

Charles Levinson (Misrata), “Libyan Rebels Drive Army Out of Misrata,” Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2011.

Juan Miguel Muñoz (Bangasí / Enviado Especial) / agencias, “Las tropas de Gadafi se retiran de Misrata tras casi dos meses de ofensiva: Un portavoz rebelde confirma el giro en la estrategia de guerra del régimen libio, acuciado por los bombardeos de la OTAN,” 23 de abril de 2011.

Xan Rice (Misrata) “Libya: ‘If people in Misrata put down their guns, Gaddafi will kill all of us’: More than 1,000 people have died in Misrata since protests began in February, but its volunteer fighters remain defiant,” The Guardian (guardian.co.uk), April 23, 2011.

The breaking of the siege of Misurata is a very significant victory for the insurgents in Libya.

Possibly, it could be a turning point. But the need for foreign troops on the ground to end the assault on civilians by Qaddafi and his forces can not be excluded.

It is clear that the civilian population of Libya will not be secure from the bombardment of civilian populations, assassinations by snipers, extrajudicial killings throughout Libya, and being tracked down one-by-one by Qaddafi’s state security forces, often in the still of the night, until he is prevented from committing further war crimes and crimes against humanity by being removed from power.

The Trenchant Observer