What Happened To “No Boots On the Ground”?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 8, 2011

First, we found out that the CIA has placed assets in Libya, meaning that we currently have respectable looking shoes on the ground. Now this:

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.

The use of an international ground force is a possible plan to bolster rebels fighting forces loyal to the Libyan leader, Ham said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Asked if the U.S. would provide troops, Ham said, “I suspect there might be some consideration of that. My personal view at this point would be that that’s probably not the ideal circumstance, again for the regional reaction that having American boots on the ground would entail.”

It’s really amazing. The White House made an express promise that there would be no insertion of American troops into Libya, and here we have the commander of AFRICOM, the commander responsible for overseeing and directing Operation Odyssey Dawn, telling us that the White House’s word may well mean nothing. And for what? For a war in which we have no national security interest whatsoever. A war that was initiated without any effort at all to get Congressional support, and with little effort to engage the support of the American people.

Either the President has to repudiate General Ham’s comment, or at long last, the White House needs to do what Senator Obama repeatedly said that he would do in these types of circumstances; get Congressional support for the war in Libya. Again, it is worth noting that for all of the criticisms of George W. Bush, he wasn’t nearly this much of an Imperial President when it came to the issue of going to Congress to get support for American military action he initiated.

  • http://americanhousewifeinlondon.blogspot.com AHLondon

    Now a week later, things look worse and more confused. Even after the joint statement declaring basically that we don’t care about the limitations of the UN mandate, I still can’t figure out if Obama is just rhetorically on board or if we are stepping back up. If Qaddafi must go, we will have to do it of course. The UK has already sent some money to defense by a backdoor, but even then, they still can’t do it alone. I wonder if Obama really understands that reality yet?

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