Be My Guest

“Be My Guest” column by Herb Boyd

So Much Trouble in the World

It is safe to assume that the battlefronts in Libya—like the opinion of the American public on the intervention—will continue to fluctuate by the day, if not for the coming weeks. At the top of the week it was reported that the rebels were steadily advancing from their stronghold in Benghazi along the coastal highway to Tripoli, Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s bastion.

Two days later the rebels were in retreat as Gaddafi’s troops pushed them back from the commander’s homeland of Surt. So long as the NATO forces (read US) were battering Gaddafi’s forces, the rebels were able to gain territory and capture cities on the march to Tripoli. But it appears that Tomahawk and Cruise missiles and bombs can only do so much in unseating Gaddafi, that ground troops may be necessary to completely dislodge him.

Those troops won’t come from the U.S. President Obama has promised repeatedly, stressing that point in his recent address to the American people. Even so, if a regime change is to occur then the NATO warplanes and airstrikes will have to test their precision in bombarding Tripoli, targeting Gaddafi without killing and injuring thousands of innocent civilians.

Most military experts believe that Gaddafi is entrenched and that ground forces will have to be deployed to complete the mission of removing the “tyrant,” as Obama has defined Gaddafi. But that deployment, according to Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore will not be easy.

Aiding the rebels will require Special Forces, prepared to train the rebels in order to provide maximum effectiveness for any kind of materiel support, Lt. Gen. Honore said during a recent appearance on CNN. On a prior appearance on the station, Honore seemed to feel Gaddafi was on the ropes and had no option but to resign. Apparently he has changed his tune and now feels that NATO or somebody is going to have to commit ground troops in Libya to defeat Gaddafi.

“Just supplying the rebels with arms is not enough,” Honore said. “They have to be properly trained to use the weapons,” especially heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and other sophisticated equipment. Otherwise, he added, we are doomed to make the same mistakes the U.S. made in arming other so-called freedom fighters, particularly the mujahedeen in Afghanistan.

On the matter of U.S. supporting the rebels, it was disclosed a few days ago that the Obama administration had authorized the CIA to conduct secret funding the rebels, but no weapons, supposedly, have not been supplied yet. Don’t bet on that.

And even after Gaddafi is done away with, what comes next? Ayatollahs? Al Qaeda? Another ruthless dictator?

“So much trouble in the world”, Bob Marley once sang and the U.S. is in no position to solve or settle any of the conflict, and shouldn’t unless the American people face imminent danger.

Herb Boyd is an author, activist, teacher and journalist and is a roving reporter for http://www.television.org – He is a resident of Harlem, New York

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