Tilting at Windmills: What the Hell is Obama, NATO, and the West Doing in Libya?

I have been pondering this one for a while now.  What exactly, is the west trying to accomplish in Libya?  I have posted on this before here and here, and I am still puzzled as to what we are trying to accomplish in Libya, protect so-called innocent civilians or topple Qaddafi’s regime? The stated goal of the administration is to protect civilians in line with the UN Security Council resolution # 1973, but the way in which the air campaign is being waged certainly makes it seem as if toppling Qaddafi is the goal of the bombing.  Their were intense air attacks yesterday, and one of his son’s was killed in an air strike on a compound in Tripoli.  Yet Obama, NATO, and the west continually state they are not trying to kill the Libyan leadership.  The pattern of bombing seems to suggest otherwise.

Tilting at Windmills

Sorry, I have to call bullshit on this one.  Of course they are trying to kill Qaddafi, they would be stupid if they were not.  Conventional military theory holds that killing the leadership is not only a good idea, but a great one.  Then again, apparently it is not a conventional campaign being waged.  This is a war of R2P, not a war of conquest.  The west is trying to protect civilians and doing it in the worst way possible.  If they really wanted to protect civilians we would invade the country, topple the government, and engage in Iraq style nation building.  The problem is the US cannot do it and the Euro countries are incapable of doing it.  They are not even capable of waging an air campaign without significant US logistical and C2 support as has been shown in the campaign thus far.

So we are  left with a war that is not a war and a campaign with no victory criteria.  There is not even a stated goal other than the very nebulous R2P.  There was a more concrete goal in Somalia in the early ’90s and that was a waste of time and resources.  I guess we just have to wait and see what happens, unless Congress actually does de-fund US operations, which is a distinct possibility.  The West looks increasingly like it suffers from Don Qixote Syndrome in pursuing a path with no hope of success given the level of effort they are willing to expend.