Sunday, March 6, 2011

Amateur Hour? British Mis-steps in Libya

I think folks are being unfair to the British SAS about their mission to Libya.  Yes, they got captured with guns, explosives and multiple passports.  It does make them look foolish, but the key is that they didn't kill anyone nor did they get killed.  And they got captured by the folks they wanted to meet, rather than the Libyan government. 

Sure, the rebels did not trust these guys with multiple passports (where the Israelis are cited as providing the model of folks using multiple passports to do nefarious stuff).  But nobody got hurt, no blackmail or ransom seems to have occurred.  So, it looks bad, but they made contact--not an easy thing to do with a rebellion in progress.  These rebels, unlike, say the PLO in the old days, do not have an office at the UN or a Public relations division anywhere. 

Perhaps the UK should not have done this, but one of the possible options in all of this, as someone posted on a military bulletin board (sorry not to have the link), is not to impose a no-fly zone but to re-play Afghanistan, fall of 2001.  That is, send Special Forces types, such as the SAS to work with the rebels to provide them with intel and air support.  I am not saying this is a good idea, but perhaps it makes sense to keep the options open, given that Qaddafi might start winning this thing and killing far more people. 

After all, hope is not a plan (thanks, Mike Lombardi), and being prepared is better than the alternative.

Of course, I don't know the details of this operation, so it still could have been a bad idea, but it is not as obviously stupid as folks are arguing.

1 comment:

Chris C. said...

Robert Haddick already made a strong case for a Jawbreaker-style operation on Foreign Policy.

This rebellion's already shown that it has legs and can go toe-to-toe with Qadaffi's forces. We have more to worry about if they win and get PO'd that we sat on the sidelines the whole time. Of course, some people are already denigrating the rebels as "tribes" and claiming they'll be worse than Qadaffi, but that's kind of hard to do.