• A comment from rossv: "We are supporting the rebels in Libya. How long before we decide we don't agree with their idea of government either?" Very timely; see below.

    Now, a comment from the British newspaper The Telegraph: "Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime."

    "His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad's president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, "including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries."

    So, now because the UN, NATO and our own military genius in the White House couldn't stand the thought of a muslim thug killing his own citizens, we've jumped into bed with al-Qaeda, the same people who were behind the 9-11 attacks and against whom we're fighting in Afghanistan. NOW, they have ground to air missiles to send back home to be used against us. What's the old saw, "No good ever goes unpunished."

    March 26, 2011 at 5:24 p.m.

  • waywardwind

    You stated "That's a navy function and the navy has no need of bases in Germany and Japan/Okinawa. ".... I took that to mean that I had no idea that the navy patrolled the seas.

    You and I are not looking at the same world in the same way because I see where China is building an aircraft carrier and building up their military. Secretary Gates just went to Russia to once again explain that our anti-missile defense system was not aimed at them, it's amazing that North Korean is not jealous of the attention Libya is getting. It's still an unstable world where we have to keep both eyes open; militarily, and economically.....Just today Israel was bombed, and they found a suspicious pack package in the Eiffel Tower. I agree we can no longer be the policeman of the world, but I think we still need bases in strategic parts of the world. I think it's more of "one hand washes the other "but we might not have enough confidence in our Allies.....Before we close down our foreign bases, I want a complete fact finding mission and full congressional hearings on its impact , but I don't see that happening.....I read several stories of the difficulty in finding nations to let us fly over their air space, letting us use their air base, or in the case of Turkey let us go through their country to invade Iraq....For the Libya no-fly zone, It was like pulling teeth to get the Arab countries to fully cooperate with us and letting the world know that they were, even thou it was to their benefit...I still don't know how Hillary pulled it off but many countries helped with this mission.

    I heard Ron Paul say that he was not an isolationist but a preferred the term non-interventionist.... In today's world that's not a matter of distinction because the Atlantic and Pacific no longer deter those wanting to harm us. Our relationships with our trading partners, allies, NATO and UN are vital..... I'm all for spending more money on security at home, but we're not doing that, but I still believe and we can have a smaller footprint in the Middle East and still survive. But it's only a belief.

    If we're going to close bases around the world; let's do it responsibly and not just to save bucks because sometimes it costs us more bucks to correct our mistake(s) in trying to save bucks.

    March 23, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.

  • Mike..."I may not be an expert in foreign affairs but I'm not completely stupid."

    Woah! Where did that come from? Even when we are disagreeing, I've NEVER suggested you were stupid -- completely or otherwise. There is no one on this forum for whom I have more respect than I do for you.

    I am saying that World War II has been over for 65 years. That is a good time to retire our defense obligations overseas. Japan, its' current earthquake problems notwithstanding, has the third largest economy in the world. I think they can afford to build their military to a sufficient level that they can take care of themselves. The same goes for Germany and the rest of Europe. We emptied our treasury rebuilding our friends and foes alike after WWII. They can spend a few million yen, pounds and Euros to fend for themselves. The Army has twelve garrisons just in Germany. More are in Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. I'm saying we could save a ton of money if we closed those bases and brought the troops back here. There are 13 Army detachments in Japan and four more in Okinawa. Even if we didn't bring them all home, lots of money can be saved by bringing some back. I'm suggesting we no longer have a responsibility to protect everyone in the freakin' world. Not suggesting we become isolationist; we can certainly still trade and interact with the world, but we can also tell the rest of the nations of the world, their protection rests in their own backyard.

    The US was the main buffer between the former USSR and Europe AND Japan while they rebuilt their nations. The Soviet Union is gone. There aren't large numbers of red divisions waiting to surge across Europe to the Bay of Biscay. Our defense needs have changed drastically since 1946. Our economy no longer allows us the luxury of being the big brother to the entire world.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:37 p.m.


    The locals in South Korea knew about our military maneuvers, days before we were ever told.... We suspected that military officers in the know, told their South Korean housekeepers or mistresses what they would doing in the next few days..... In fact the locals would be in the fields trying to sell us their wares.

    March 23, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.

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    March 23, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.

  • That was a general statement not meant to be taken literally but the United States is obliged to defend Japan in close cooperation with the Japan Self-Defense Forces for maritime defense, ballistic missile defense, domestic air control, communications security (COMSEC) and disaster response operations.

    USAFE has seven main operating bases along with 114 geographically separated locations. The main operating bases are: RAF bases Lakenheath and Mildenhall in England; Ramstein and Spangdahlem air bases in Germany; Lajes Field, Azores, Incirlik AB, Turkey, and Aviano AB, Italy. More than 39,000 active-duty, Reserve and civilian employees are assigned to USAFE.

    Our naval fleets have been known to get their reconnaissance info from the air force and our 28,000 troops South Korean have been known to be a deterrent for North Korea.

    I was in the army but the military transport ship I was on, docked in Japan for a few days as well as more of our fleet.We have submarines etc. in those waters but they go on shore once in awhile.

    I may not be an expert in foreign affairs but I'm not completely stupid.

    March 23, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.

  • Mike...Forgive me, but I do not believe the Army's armored divisions in Germany and the Marines on Okinawa contribute to the continuing safety of the sea lines of communication and trade. That's a navy function and the navy has no need of bases in Germany and Japan/Okinawa.

    March 23, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.

  • It's a little bit premature to start talking about nation building in Libya. I see where NATO forces have been picking up the slack and the use of our firepower is curtailing.... I'm not going to pretend to know where this is going but I understand our past history of mission creep ,but unless the administration is completely stupid; they understand the consequences of nation building in a third Muslim country while our infrastructure is deteriorating.

    Except for the two stealth bombers that cost $10,000 to fly round trip, the aircraft carriers, destroyers, etc. were already in the Mediterranean, keeping the cost down a bit down but right now our military is still within their military budget... A few more months of this will make the pentagon rearrange priorities or ask a Congress who is already battling a budget crises for more money. That's all been taken in consideration but I understand these situations have a life of their own.

    March 23, 2011 at 10:10 a.m.

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    March 23, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.

  • America has battle fatigue, so it's not surprising that nearly 70% of Americans want us out of Afghanistan and Iraq,yesterday. I include myself in that 70% but more of us need to let our legislators know because we can't expect the country to run on polls.

    I don't want our country to become an isolationist ,because we are in a global economy, whether we like it are not. I do think that it is vital that we keep our military bases in Japan ,Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf to keep the shipping Lanes safe for our exports and imports. $7.00 a gallon will cripple our oil addicted country.

    Even though Gadhafi is a madman; we had a common foe: al Qaeda.... He was helping us in our war against al Qaeda types, as well as the dethroned leaders of Egypt and Yemen.We can't expect their future leaders to be totally opposite....Egypt may have gotten off on a good start but it's early....

    In order to understand the situation, you mustn't discount the continuing battle between the Sunni and the Shiite, radical Islamic fundamentalist, and countries that may want democracy but not a Jeffersonian type of democracy. They will all end up with part theocracy,part secular and we have to accept that.
    The Middle East countries are ripe for rumor, many of them believe that our foreign policy is based in Washington and Tel Aviv.

    March 23, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.

  • Sorry Rossv, I was not impressed with your 2006 article which has no bearing on what is happening. I just read where only 47% of Americans now approve of the attack on Libya and the president's approval dropped accordingly to 44%. I'm just as confused as anyone because the administration has not been forthcoming in giving us more details. The Weekly Standard and the neo conservatives are disappointed because we were not doing more(ground troops), the same old congressmen, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are saying it's unconstitutional, and we have the presidential candidates who have to condemn the president on his handling of the situation. I don't blame the American people for being confused.

    I listened to a reporter from Al Jazerra-English as he explained the Arab world's view. They said that even though president Obama promised a foreign policy of mutual respect, our country has not lived down our reputation of being an imperialistic country. This Libyan went on to say if libya's chief export would have been bananas; the America and the coalition would not have been as quick in their response. There's a great degree of skepticism.

    This morning I listened to Congressman Adam Smith explain what he heard from the Dept of Defense. He was told that we couldn't let Colonel Qaddafi continue taking towns.
    I don't know the unknown: I don't know how long the coalition can maintain the no- fly zone without the help of the United States. The rebels will have to buy weapons and ammunition; will they buy them from the coalition or from gunrunners? The rebels will eventually have to illicit help. Will they use the mercenaries, facets of Al qaida, or Xe(formaly Blackwater)?

    March 23, 2011 at 9:06 a.m.

  • Continuously jumping through your a$$ at dozens of minor conflicts and flare ups all over the world is how you kill a giant.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.

  • Rossv...It'll have to stop. The time is now for our government to concentrate on America -- protecting the borders is a good place to start. Pull the American military out of Europe and Japan. It's been more than an half-century since the end of World War II. They can protect themselves.

    I think it's pretty clear that America's power and influnence around the world is beginning to wane. Look to China to be the next big dog. Don't misunderstand, I don't expect the US to collapse in the next five or ten years, but I do think China will increasingly challange us and our ability to withstand those challanges diminish as time goes by.

    March 23, 2011 at 7:48 a.m.

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    March 23, 2011 at 4:34 a.m.

  • Rossv...Uh huh. It's a nice story. In Pakistan, all that work, all that effort, all the supplies delivered and all that money spent and still fully half the country doesn't like us. If I was hungry and cold and a Russian gave me food and blankets, I'd like them. Are the ones who DO like us going to to continue to like us when we stop the aid? I'd remind you that the problem in Lybia isn't a natural disaster; the earth didn't quake and the sea didn't flood the land. This started when some Lybians decided they didn't like their government. Okay, fine, I can understand that. This is Lybia's civil war; started by Lybians, fought against other Lybians and when the fighting is over, it will be Lybians who govern. We're not sending in troops to dig water wells and pass out food packages; F-15Es are very sophisticated strike fighter aircraft. OUR government said US involvement would be limited to command and control of the air space over Lybia and intelligence gathered from airplanes and sattelites.

    You'll remember the West didn't intervene in Algeria or Egypt. People died in those places, too. There are noises in Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf states about overthrowing the governments. Do we go in there also? Where does it stop? We shouldn't have been involved in the war in Vietnam but we went anyway and it cost us 60,000 dead, untold injured and hundreds of billions of dollars. You know what, Vietnam is a communist country after all the fighting. We lost. All that death -- enough Americans died in Vietnam to completely depopulate Victoria and hundreds of thousands were injured. Was it worth it? The North took over the South anyway -- was the cost in blood and wealth worth the effort? Don't forget, Vietnam lost people also. Mike mentioned the domino theory. Remember that from Lyndon Johnson? We couldn't stop the North, but, oh how we tried. Was it worth it?

    If American service personnel are injured or killed in Lybia, will the cost in American blood be worth the effort of trying to keep a crazy man from killing more of his own people? To tell the truth, I don't much care about Lybians killing Lybians. I DO care, however, about Americans. When this settles out, Lybian oil will still flow to the world market and the only difference is there will be fewer Lybians. Instead of starting a civil war, why didn't someone with a rifle simply shoot the sierra oscar bravo?

    March 22, 2011 at 6:46 p.m.

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    March 22, 2011 at 6:03 p.m.

  • Wait a minute. I thought the US was going to supply AWACS and recon support ONLY for the coalition. What was an Air Force F-15E doing over Lybia? Strike Eagles aren't recon birds and they certainly aren't AWACS planes. Now, an F-15E is destroyed, whether by mechanical failure or ground fire, it really doesn't matter. The people of the US were told that we weren't gonna be doing combat in Lybia. This was going to be the Brit and French show. This is more than a mission CREEP. This is a LEAP. Once again, someone please show me the US dog in that fight. It's a civil (well, sorta UN-civil, I guess) war and we, and the UN and NATO should let the Lybians play out their own hands. What is it -- we see somebody fighting and we just can't stand to not be included? Is that what's going on?

    March 22, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.

  • It's a tar baby, don't touch it .....oops too late!

    March 22, 2011 at 11:49 a.m.

  • We're limited under U.N. Resolution 1973... I believe we can supply them with military equipment and provide cover within the established no -fly zone. I'm not sure that we can provide air cover as the rebels make their way into Tripoli and the resolution does not allow regime change. Of course that doesn't mean that we can't provide the conditions for a coup,a disgruntled soldier taking out Qaddafi or accidentally killing him with a well placed bomb..:-)..... In order for Qaddafi to leave on his own, he has to have a place to go; who will take him? Perhaps he might find a safe haven in Venezuela.

    I heard that a general who left Qadhafi's army is in charge of a small group of rebels but he decided to take a day vacation yesterday. It's been explained that some of the rebels are former Qaddafi soldiers, some have fought against the United States in Iraq, and others are inexperience civilians that were tired of being ruled with an iron fist.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:39 a.m.

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    March 22, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.

  • I was just talking about a the reason for going to war against Vietnam "The domino theory was a theory during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, that speculated that if one land in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect.

    I certainly don't want to have a public discussion on communism and Wal-Mart ....You win

    March 22, 2011 at 10:09 a.m.

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    March 22, 2011 at 10:04 a.m.

  • I believe that was to prevent a domino affect of the spreading of communism..... You put together a lot of 110 pound weaklings and you pretty much level the playing field.

    I believe a better example would have been Iraq, where a $24 worth of components that was put into the IEDs were enough to cripple the United States military for a while.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:53 a.m.

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    March 22, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.

  • Thanks arlewill

    I saw Ron Paul on CNN last night talking about this action being unconstitutional....This president and others have never been comfortable with the War Powers Act,so in his letter to Congress yesterday, the president relied heavily on his power as commander in chief ,to justify actions that took place without an actual declaration of war.Actually, secretary of state Hillary Clinton (acting for the president) went to the Arab League of Nations and secured the support of the correlation before the U.N. made a decision. This was not done in a vacuum and leaders of both parties were aware of what was going on. Some in the opposition party were calling for action three weeks ago.
    The only solution is to bring up articles of impeachment on this president, so future presidents will know Congress is serious. I doubt that speaker Boehner would even submit it to a committee, but if it made it a house vote(in a political campaign season) I doubt that it would pass. If the house voted to impeach, I will lay you 1000-1 odds that the senate would acquit. The president's ratings would go sky high because the people would see it as a political witch hunt, because we have been involved in six wars and countless skirmishes, since the last time Congress declared war in WWII.

    I agree, we should stay out of civil wars but a small part of me would not a felt too good, if we would have let Qaddafi continue to slaughter his people, while we had all the military equipment in the Mediterranean to stop it. A recent poll stated that only 50% of Americans were for our involvement and 70% were for the no-fly zone. I'm thinking that at least 20% of the 70% don't have the slightest idea of what goes into a no-fly zone...BTW I did mention Congress might take a different approach if we lost a pilot. Luckily both pilots were recovered and on their way to Europe.

    If I had my druthers, I wish the president would never have done this, but the criticism would not have stopped because there are some that say that we cannot allow a dictator to thumb his nose at us.... That wouldn't bother me in the least because I know that we have the world's greatest military and we have the receipts to prove it. It's like a 6 '7" 300 lb. man worried about the threats of a 110 lb. weakling.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:40 a.m.

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    March 22, 2011 at 9:29 a.m.

  • Mike
    I have been looking forward to your take on this subject. You have done your usual homework and the results in this case are not clear. I think we have a mess here. The War Powers Act gives the President the power to attack another country but only for 90 days. At that point he must have congressional approval. The appearance here is that the President went to the United Nations for approval instead of the U.S. Congress. We have no idea who will be in power when this is over and I think we will have fewer friends in the World.

    This morning I read that we have a crashed U.S. airplane in Libya and a possible POW. What a mess!

    It is my opinion that the U.S. should stay out of civil wars in foreign countries unless our Country is endangered and that does not fit this situation.

    You did a good job of putting together what was available.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.

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    March 22, 2011 at 5:40 a.m.

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    March 21, 2011 at 8:34 p.m.

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    March 21, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.

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    March 21, 2011 at 8:27 p.m.

  • Fred Lucas

    Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), campaigning for president on Sept. 21, 2008, in Charlotte, NC.. (AP photo/Chuck Burton)


    Obama made this assertion in a Dec. 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe when reporter Charlie Savage asked him under what circumstances the president would have the constitutional authority to bomb Iran without first seeking authorization from Congress.

    “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” Obama responded.

    In a followup question in its December 2007 interview, the Boston Globe asked Obama if the Constitution gave the president the power to disregard a congressional statute putting some type of limit on the way troops could be deployed. Here, too, Obama deferred to the constitutional authority of Congress.

    “No, the President does not have that power,” Obama told the paper. “To date, several Congresses have imposed limitations on the number of US troops deployed in a given situation. As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.”

    BO has lost Dennis Kucinich, (D) of Ohio. You Tube has an interesting interview with Kucinich in which the representative says flatly that Obama bypassed his Constitutional duty to go to Congress for authorization to conduct combat operations against Lybia. The congress critter said there was no attack or imminent threat against the US, therefore the president is acting contrary to the Constitution. Things are getting interesting and the vacationer-in-chief is out of the country, taking the wife and kids along on another vacation. (BTW, is the president paying for the first lady and the kids or are they ALL on the taxpayer's dime?)

    March 21, 2011 at 8:14 p.m.

  • AltonEaston...Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (T-LAM) do not use laser designators to locate their targets. They have a very accurate internal navigation system -- I suppose much like but more sophisticated than the Garmin you bought for your car. No need for troops on the ground to illuminate the targets with lasers.

    Human shields; is that anything like targets of opportunity?

    March 21, 2011 at 6:17 p.m.

  • Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey are sending aircraft and ships to help with the humanitarian efforts but I would like to see some Saudi pilots participating in the sorties. It would legitimize it for me. The Arab League of Nations is not a reliable ally because if civilian casualties start to mount ,they will quickly take back their support...IMO

    March 21, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.

  • Human shields?

    March 21, 2011 at 4:01 p.m.

  • They way I read it and a few senators agree that the president's action is legal but here is the resolution "United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States is already under attack or serious threat. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto."

    I heard the cost for this weekend use of firepower Cost us about $100 million but now that the" no- fly zone" has been extended to the west and south; the cost may go up to $300 million; add the $2 billion a week for Afghanistan and we're talking some real budget money .

    I don't agree that we gave up our sovereignty to the U.N. but we are a charter member with duties to perform.... I can see where a French general might assume command aboard one of our communication vessels. Is that any different from us using Italian bases?

    I still have a burning question.... If Colonel Qaddafi remains in power after all the attacks by the coalition forces; what does it say about our capability? You just know he's gonna use human shields at some point.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:54 p.m.

  • This may shock you Mike, but I agree with this blog. What I am also trying to understand is where the President got the authority for military actions within the confines of the US Constitution. The War's Power Act sure does not cover this.
    The last time I looked the US did not give its sovereignty away to the UN.
    Be it hired guns, CIA operations, or our own military booths have to be on the ground to laser target the $200 Billion plus missiles we fired over the last few days.
    And all of this to put “rebels” in power, which may turn on us.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:25 p.m.

  • Well I've heard the US state categorically that there are no US troops on the ground but that doesn't mean the UK hasn't deployed SAS/SBS units. After all Dutch special forces were caught by the rebels a couple of weeks back if I recall correctly...

    March 21, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.

  • That's what I thought, the Taliban is primarily from Afghanistan and Pakistan area and they are more apt to be tribal. They don't usually fight outside their tribal area.

    I wouldn't be surprised this turned into a war of semantics... Would no ground troops in Libya discount advisers or covert operations?

    I just heard that Libyan snipers were still killing civilians, taking off their uniforms and disappearing amongst the people.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.

  • The Libyans "rebels" are not Taliban - not unless a bus load went to Benghazi on vacation and got lost. I have an old school friend who lives in Tripoli who I would dearly love to get news/opinions from but have been unable to reach him so far.

    War is messy and when a third party choses to take a side one must accept the consequences of that allegiance in the weeks, months and years to come. That should not stop, however, our support of those with noble aims - be it with good wishes, food and water or Hellfire AGM's.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:46 p.m.

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    March 21, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.

  • We need a regime change here in the US......Can we get the French and Brits to help?

    March 21, 2011 at 1:30 p.m.

  • jbj
    I have no idea what your friend is talking about but Senator Lugar just said that some of these rebels were helping al Qaeda in Iraq.... The rebels are so disorganized that there is a leader in every city or village.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:22 p.m.

  • I am somewhat confused about this endeavor.

    Our Algerian friend had one question... Why is the USA helping the Taliban?

    I thought the rebels were innocent civilians of Libya. That is not the impression our friend has. Was I not listening closely enough? Or is this his mistaken impression?

    He says Qadhafi is the lesser of the evils.

    Just another perspective, I guess.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:18 p.m.

  • Kyle
    It finally sunk in.... You have been saved..:-)

    March 21, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.

  • Just in time for 2012! Apocalypse not quite now, baby!

    March 21, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.

  • Wars are much easier to get into than out of. Libya will descend into choas much like Iraq did with daily car and truck bombs - tar baby for sure.

    And now Syria is starting to unwind along with almost every Arab country - is this all coincidence?

    March 21, 2011 at 11:01 a.m.