Libyan Rebels Want More NATO

Posted: April 6, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , ,

Yes, in a classic case of “if it’s free, it’s for me,” the Libyan rebels are calling for more NATO.

From the WSJ:

Rebels sharpened their criticism of what they said was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s failure to provide effective air support, as pro-Gadhafi forces drove eastward Tuesday, bombarding newly reorganized rebel forces with artillery.

Maybe that’s due in part to a lack of strike aircraft, a natural consequence of failing to fund the defense apparatus for the capabilities needed to deal with these sorts of very small scale wars.  Back to the WSJ:

…Rebel fighter Abdallah Daboob, who comes from the oil town (of Brega), accused NATO of backing off amid rumors of stepped up diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

I suppose Abdallah Daboob is arguably a better moniker than Abdallah Daschmuck, but I digress…

On Tuesday evening, the rebels’ top military commander, Chief-of-Staff Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis, issued his starkest rebuke yet of NATO. “What is NATO doing? They haven’t done a thing,” he said. “A strike here and strike there, it leads to nothing.”

He said he would recommend that the rebel government suspend its cooperation with the NATO alliance if the alliance doesn’t “carry out its function properly.”

While I feel his pain, mark me confused.  I’m not really sure suspending cooperation would benefit the Chief-of-Staff’s cause in any way.

Still on general subject, there’s also the “if it ain’t funded, it ain’t” line from Lord Hutton, a former defense secretary and delivered via FT:

“The US has been saying for 10 or 15 years that it wants the Europeans to share more of the security burden and we have to heed that lesson. We should be doing much more in Europe. We cannot go on expecting the US to take the leading role.”

Is there anything that can be learned here?  Perhaps.

The first lesson: no job is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it.

The second lesson.  This is what should be expected when: the Germans are sitting things out; the U.S. exercises followership (for now); rebels want more of what they don’t have to provide themselves (friendly airpower; more friendly anything in the future); and you’re left to deal with a sclerotic and fragmented European military response that’s run out of steam about three weeks in against an air-inept adversary.

The third lesson: while there are exceptions that prove the rule, you get what you pay for.  So for the Europeans, the lesson is they’re not getting the military capability they haven’t paid for.

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