Meanwhile in Libya …
As we watch the politicians dance around about government shut down and play their political games, a little aside for the quickly forgotten war in Libya.
This week NATO managed to take out 13 more … rebels. Apparently NATO didn’t know the rebs planned on using some captured tanks and paid the price.
That’s led to a little friction between NATO and the rebs:
Outside Ajdabiya, rebel fighters slapped peach-colored paint on their vehicles to try to distinguish from the pro-Qaddafi units.
"We are painting the trucks so NATO won’t hit us," said Salam Salim, a 29-year-old rebel militiaman.
Tensions between the rebels and NATO were flaring even before the latest accident, with the fighters criticizing the alliance for doing too little to help them.
A NATO official, meanwhile, said there is growing frustration with the rebels’ perception that NATO is acting as their proxy air force. The U.N. mandate calls only for international air power to enforce a no-fly zone and prevent attacks on civilians — although Qaddafi’s ground forces remain a primary target.
"We’re trying to get messages back to them about what we’re doing and what we’re trying to achieve," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under standing NATO regulations.
I can just see Gahdafi’s men slapping peach paint on their vehicles now.
Meanwhile, the promised “no boots on the ground?” Not so firm apparently:
The United States may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, according to the general who led the military mission until NATO took over.
Army Gen. Carter Ham also told lawmakers Thursday that added American participation would not be ideal, and ground troops could erode the international coalition and make it more difficult to get Arab support for operations in Libya.
Ham said the operation was largely stalemated now and was more likely to remain that way since America has transferred control to NATO.
He said NATO has done an effective job in an increasingly complex combat situation. But he noted that, in a new tactic, Muammar Qaddafi’s forces are making airstrikes more difficult by staging military forces and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques.
But back to the point – why would we consider “sending troops into Libya?” I mean we’re there to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civvies, right?
Only one reason to even be considering troops on the ground and that is the real end result desired – regime change- doesn’t look like it will happen without them.
Like I said before, “mission creep”.
Worth noting – SecDef Gates said there’d be no US boots on the ground “as long as I’m in this job.” He may be leaving sooner than we think.