Friday, March 4, 2011

The need for some international cojones in Libya!

Libya No-Fly Zone

Let's start today's conversation with Libya, President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the establishment of a no-fly zone.

Debate over a Libya "No-Fly" Zone

While the Libyan strongman is strafing his citizens from the air, the world sits idly by while assessing options. President Obama supplies his classic administration rhetoric telling Gaddafi that he must step down. "Strong" words from the President that are sure to have absolutely no impact:

"... Libyan leader’s defiance means “there is a danger of a stalemate that over time could be bloody.”

“Moammar Gadhafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave,” the president said, while calling for an end to violence and a need to meet the “aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity.”

“He has lost legitimacy with his people,” the president repeated. “And so let me just be very unambiguous about this. Colonel Gadhafi needs to step down from power and leave. That is good for his country. It is good for his people. It's the right thing to do...” (ABC News)

Could become bloody? What television station is he watching? The rebel leader Al Mahdi has stated that more than 6,000 people have already died. What exactly is the President's definition of bloody?

Although this could be the classic case of the devil you know being better than the devil that you don't, the devil we know is pretty damn bad.

In the meantime people continue to die, unrest spreads and the country moves closer to all out civil war. Unfortunately as liberal leaders like our President will do in times of crisis, Obama will seek an international coalition to consider necessary action like a no-fly zone. Without that he will most likely remain inert.

For Secretary of Defense Gates caution and hesitation are the watchword when he said:

"... Testifying before Congress, Mr. Gates criticized "loose talk" about military intervention in Libya, where military rebels and civilian demonstrators are trying to topple the country's strongman leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

"Let's just call a spade a spade," Mr. Gates said. "A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya." (WSJ)

The President and Gates seem to make a formidable team of inaction. The dynamic duo of decisions made by omission versus commission.

The Peter Principle in action

The following speech is one more piece of evidence that Secretary of Defense Gates has gotten to his position through the workings of the Peter Principle. For the uninitiated the Peter Principle states that "in a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their "level of incompetence."

Speech given by Gates to future military leaders at West Point

The quote below is taken from a speech that Secretary of Defense Gates gave at the United States Military Academy at West Point on February 25, 2011 ( The Gates audience was comprised of the future soldiers and leaders of the United States Army.

Some of these cadets may be deployed to Afghanistan, the Middle East, Africa or Iraq after graduation. If they graduate and are sent to combat zones prior to the withdrawal date that has conveniently been provided to the enemy by the Obama administration, is the stated opinion of Gates the message that the administration is trying to send to our fighting men and women?

It is in the first paragraph below, highlighted in red (not a commentary on what must be the President's favorite ideological color), the most egregious statement made by Gates in this speech appears.

In the closing, again highlighted in red, is a sentence that contradicts the first one as I don't believe that he would tell his own son or his own daughter that the fight they might be entering is useless.

"... The need for heavy armor and firepower to survive, close with, and destroy the enemy will always be there, as veterans of Sadr City and Fallujah can no doubt attest. And one of the benefits of the drawdown in Iraq is the opportunity to conduct the kind of full-spectrum training – including mechanized combined arms exercises – that was neglected to meet the demands of the current wars. Looking ahead, though, in the competition for tight defense dollars within and between the services, the Army also must confront the reality that the most plausible, high-end scenarios for the U.S. military are primarily naval and air engagements – whether in Asia, the Persian Gulf, or elsewhere. The strategic rationale for swift-moving expeditionary forces, be they Army or Marines, airborne infantry or special operations, is self-evident given the likelihood of counterterrorism, rapid reaction, disaster response, or stability or security force assistance missions. But in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should “have his head examined,” as General MacArthur so delicately put it..."

"... As some of you have heard me say before, you need to know that I feel personally responsible for each and every one of you, as if you were my own sons and daughters, for as long as I am Secretary of Defense that will remain true. My only prayer is that you serve with honor and return home safely. I personally thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart, I bid you farewell and ask God to bless every one of you."

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