Obama again expands role In Libyan war

The war in Libya is going the way many feared it would, mushrooming into a deeper conflict with even wider U.S. involvement.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the U.S. now has CIA agents on the ground in Libya. This, despite assurances from President Barack Obama on Monday that the conflict would not involve U.S. ground forces.

The agents, assuredly ex-military people, are linking up with rebels on the ground and calling in coordinates for airstrikes.

All of which confirms that this mission has expanded way beyond the original U.N. mandate of merely protecting civilians.

U.S. people are on the ground in Libya, carrying out military work in a foreign civil war, all without congressional approval or public support.

But this is often the way U.S. presidents back into wars of choice.

Some readers will be reminded of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, which gradually opened the door to involving U.S. troops in Vietnam.

At the time, two U.S. senators opposed the war, including Ernest Gruening, D-Alaska, who complained about entering a war in which “we have no business, which is not our war, into which we have been misguidedly drawn, which is steadily being escalated.”

Gruening might as well have been describing our involvement in Libya.

Obama, however, didn’t even seek the fig leaf of congressional approval for this war. The first missiles were fired while the president was on a trip to Latin America.

Obama said he had been urged by Arab and European leaders to enter this fray.

Which should have told him that the Libyan revolution was more their problem than ours.

Most Libyan oil goes directly to Europe. Italy, in fact, gets 20 percent of its oil from that country.

Meanwhile, France, Italy and several Arab nations fear a refugee crisis if Moammar Gadhafi’s forces are allowed to push rebels out of eastern Libya.

These other nations all have air forces, armies and navies that could have carried out this mission.

Instead, U.S. forces again form the backbone of this operation.

Now, there is the inevitable talk of the U.S. arming the rebels, who are outgunned by Gadhafi’s forces.

Will the U.S. supply weapons to people we don’t even know? Will we need trainers on the ground to teach them how to use those weapons?

Some are even looking beyond this war to the eventual overthrow of Gadhafi’s forces and the cost of rebuilding the country.

Will the U.S. be called upon to lead that rebuilding effort, as well?

On March 17, Obama told lawmakers that U.S. military involvement in Libya would last “days, not weeks.”

Two weeks later, we can only hope he meant to say weeks, not months.


The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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 's picture

well obama did promise

well obama did promise change....from two wars to three isn't the change the moonbats were expecting i think. where are all the protestors on the casco bay bridge? do they now want blood for oil? cue the crickets in 3....2....1....


small correction

Ernie Gruening was the US Senator from Alaska. He was a Democrat back in the day when Alaska was considered a Democratic state and Hawaii a Republican state.

Don't feel bad - lots of postal clerks used to send our mail to Arkansas when they saw AK. Some even required customs forms for packages. LOL


thanks for the catch Tony.

We will fix the Senator's home state affiliation post haste.

 's picture


I completely disagree with your commentary. First of all, I believe it was responsible for President Obama to send in CIA agents prior to making a decision with regard to action in Libya. You make it sound like the President ordered the CIA in after we joined allied forces in Libya. According to news articles, he signed the order three weeks ago -- before any action. Now, I think that we have done everything we should at this point, and that we should do no more. It is now up to NATO to handle the no fly zone. And, the Arab countries have to be exclusively involved in Gaddafi's removal, and assisting in the new government implementation.

AL PELLETIER's picture


This situation is extremely disturbing and scary. As I have said in previous posts," the United States should not and cannot be the world police". This is the scary part, because we brought in air support and spent billions, the mind set was established and now is, how can we spend all that money and still see Ghadaffy Duck win? How can we walk away now? Mr. Rhoades is dead on with his comparison with Vietnam. How about Cuba, didn't we help Castro over through that evil dictator, Batista, only to have Cuba become a puppet of the Soviet Union? Who knows who's in charge of the Libyan rebels, perhaps it's the Taliban.
I agree with Mark , Bush didn't start this one, but then Obama didn't start the Iraq one. At this point I don't think one president is much better then the other.
The only way our government will take care of the needs of it's own people is to stay out of places we don't belong.
The hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent on wars in the past 10 years could have been spent on national health care, finding a cure for cancer, feeding our own poor, improving education, fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, and on and on .
Instead we're spending it on killing people, how sad it that?

RONALD RIML's picture

Very little to compare with Vietnam here, Al

Vietnam had been under French colonial control since the 19th Century, Al. Nguy?n Ái Qu?c made overtures to President Wilson at the Versailles Peace Talks in 1919 believing he was a crusader for democracy, but was ignored. Qu?c then threw his lot with the French - then Russian Communists, and later changed his name to Ho Chi Minh. Imagine how different history would have been had we actually walked our talk of democracy.

"Tonkin Gulf" was not the watershed event Mr. Rhoades would have us believe. The U.S. actually funded 80% of the French-Indo China War for the French - and provided 'advisory assistance' during both the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations.


AL PELLETIER's picture


Ron, thanks for the history and your facts are correct. Among my other duties in Vietnam with Admiral John Highland, Com 7th Fleet, was as a French interpreter. French was the second most spoken language in the South and their French slang was very similar to our Canadian French.
I think Mr. Rhoades and I were using a general example without writing a book.

RONALD RIML's picture

Highland or Hyland??

I got an 'attaBoy' from CinCPacFlt John J. Hyland. It followed me around till it caught up with me two commands later......

AL PELLETIER's picture


Ron, I just read my post again and I did spell "Hyland's name wrong. I stand corrected, thank you.

AL PELLETIER's picture

I don't understand

Ron, please enlighten me. We both know Hyland went on to CincPavFlt then to Cinc Pac then to Joint Chiefs. What's your point? I can't understand if you like the man or hate him. I either case he was simply my boss. Oh, F.Y.I.,I also worked for Adm.Thomas Moorer too.

RONALD RIML's picture

Nothing to it other than what I wrote.....

It was common for CO's of ships to put crew members in for Commendations from Flag Officers of either Fleet or Higher Commands.

I happened to get transferred to a school before I received mine, then from the school to another ship. So the commendation followed me around like an old lost letter catching up to me nine months later. You know the Navy. No 'liking' nor 'disliking' to it - it was just 'standard operating procedure'

Hell, I loved the Navy, and loved being at sea. That's why I eventually went back into the Reserves. It's way too PC now, but one could really develop a thirst, then let their hair down in Subic Bay.

AL PELLETIER's picture


For sure, many a party on Grande Island and beautiful down town Olongapo. Hey Ron, Do you remember "Tiger Tops" in Singapore? The beer was so bad it had to be topped off with lemonade. Those were some of the fun times.

RONALD RIML's picture

Ah, Grande Island... Subic Bay

They finally got smart and made you check your 'Spear Gun' in at the door to the EM Club; too many guys would go out diving, then stop by for way too many San Miguels, then play 'Sea Hunt' .

Ah, Olongapo, crossing the "Sh*t River" to a veritable Disneyland for Sailors, where six or ten bottles of San Miguel could transform the ugliest of Bar Hogs to the Loveliest of Maidens..... Where eight year olds would sell you baby chicks to tantalize and feed the adolescent alligators lolling in man-made miniature lagoons in front of the bars and where everything - or anybody - could be had for the right price.

Way to go, Ralphie, I think she likes you!!!

AL PELLETIER's picture

too funny

Good God Ron, I think I have a picture of me and a bar honey just like this. At the end of the night, and with a little exploration, I discovered it was a cross dresser. I puked !! I remember crossing the shit river bridge and stopping to deck a native over the rail. He had ripped my dixie off my head and was stomping it into the mud. I hope he had a nice landing. I was able to run through the gate before a small mob caught up with me.
Oh, those were the days!

RONALD RIML's picture

Arrgghh!! One of the infamous "Benny Boys!!"

Rarely wasted time on the 'Bar Girl' route... They could go through your pesos real quick drink expensive 'champaign' (seven-up and tea) while you pretended they were some sort of date or something.

My 'Sea Daddy' taught me well. I'de get a good steak dinner and a few drinks at the 'EM Club' on base before hitting town, then go directly to one of the 'skivvy houses' to take care of business while still somewhat sober and in command of my faculties. After those physical needs were meet, then it was time to Par-tay!! I used to love getting half-sh*t-faced then and dancing like a banshee, but I wasn't going to be some bar-hogs meal-ticket. These young Jar-heads fresh from Stateside used to sneak off of a training site and come into town, and we'de stand them drinks. They'de say "What are they going to do to us, cut off our hair and send us to 'Nam?" - Right - they were already almost bald and on their way. Poor buggers, wonder how many came home in body bags....????

RONALD RIML's picture

Howdya' like that, Ed...

Someone disagrees with how I remember my past...

Whadda freakin' idiot.

AL PELLETIER's picture


Oh yes we do! Ron, I've got one hell of a great 7th Flt cruise book I'd like to share with you. If we don't connect please look up USS Providence CLG6 on line for some glimpses. No one else e-mail me, please!! Ron, my E-address is pelletier2319@roadrunner.com.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"At this point I don't think

"At this point I don't think one president is much better than the other."
Well, that's a start, sweetfern. But, you have ask yourself, which one would you want covering your back in a foxhole?

RONALD RIML's picture

This small world being what it is....

I have first-hand information from one of high school classmates concerning "getting one's back covered." My friend, Jim Wasser, joined the Navy some time after I did. Once in San Diego I heard he was in the hospital and visited him, after that, he was sent to some school and wound up in 'Swift Boats' His eventually had a new CO report on board, named - yep, you got it, Kerry.

After the war Jim was extremely upset with Kerry for the anti-war activities - as I was - but then again, neither of us really knew the lies that we'd gone to war under.

When John Kerry eventually campaigned for President, only one of the enlisted crew members of both swift boats he commanded spoke out against his actions as a commanding officer. All the others who criticized him were fellow officers, many who had praised him during the war. Those of you who have been in the military will understand these things. The Officer Corp is very political. Enlisteds tend to respect a good leader, no matter what his politics.

And occasionally the truth came out, as a Chicago Tribune Editor, who had been a Swift Boat Skipper on the Dong Cung, a narrow tributary of the Bay Hap River, could no longer keep his silence. --> http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0408220343aug22,0,7943320.s...

And --> http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0408220342aug22,0,7550103.s...

AL PELLETIER's picture

same feelings

There with you, Ron. When Kerry testified on the hill, I had been back for a couple of years and knew that everything he was telling the committee was correct. I had a great deal of respect for his dealing with the truth, as difficult as it was. I have a great picture of Kerry, Michaud and me introducing him to a Legion gathering for his run for the White House. I think his honesty would have been good for America.

RONALD RIML's picture

I was still an unreconstructed warmongerer for a good few years

Ultimately I talked to a former "Home Town Boy" who'd had an interesting take on the war, after co-authoring a secret study which LBJ, SecDef McNamara, and SecNav Nitze buried deep.

see --> http://www.cdi.org/adm/914/transcript.html

(Excerpt of transcript with Ira Shorr)

Modern American Patriot: Adm. Gene LaRocque; Produced December 17, 1995

"Mr. SHORR: In a sense, we were told we were fighting communism all over the world, including in Vietnam. Now in 1967 you were asked by the secretary of the Navy to head a team of other admirals to go to Vietnam and assess the war. This was in 1967. What were you conclusions?

ADM LaROCQUE: Well, it was more than just going to Vietnam. We spent eight months, this group of admirals, trying to respond actually to Mr. McNamara's request to the secretary of the Navy, Mr. Nitze, to put this team together, and his instructions to me were simple. 'We're not interested,' he said, 'in how we got into the war, we just want an assessment of what we should do now.'

We assessed the situation in Vietnam and the world situation and it was the conclusion of all of us, unanimous, that there was no way to win that war in Vietnam, absolutely no way.

Mr. SHORR: Why did you come to that conclusion, that it couldn't be won?

ADM LaROCQUE: Well, we just measured it. It was -- It was -- It wasn't just a gut feeling. We postulated mining and found that wouldn't work. We postulated knocking out the rail lines, that wouldn't work. We postulated massive bombing, and that wouldn't work. We postulated using phony money, knocking out the -- the dikes to flood the country. We postulated the use of nuclear weapons, and that didn't work.

Mr. SHORR: Nuclear weapons. Even nuclear weapons?

ADM LaROCQUE: Nuclear weapons wouldn't have won that war because none of the supplies that were used by the Vietnamese were manufactured in Vietnam. You'd kill X number of Vietnamese and the opprobrium in the world would have been intense, but that would have put you nowhere at all because the supplies, the war materiel was coming from Russia -- the Soviet Union and China. And unless you planned to go to war with China or the Soviet Union, then there's no use dropping nuclear weapons. We actually planned it, tried it, and Westmoreland confirms that in his book, the -- A Soldier's Report.

Mr. SHORR: Now Robert McNamara, in his recent book on Vietnam, referred to this report that you came back and --


Mr. SHORR: -- drew up as, quote, "devastating" --


Mr. SHORR: -- in the sense of what it said about our inability to win the war. What happened to that report?

ADM LaROCQUE: Well, first of all, let me tell you that when I presented it to the chief of naval operations, and Mr. McNamara, and the secretary of the Navy, all there together, after I presented it, Mr. McNamara took all of our material with him right then and there. Had his aide put the -- all the drafts and everything we'd drawn, the material, under his arm and he said to me on the way out, "This is just the kind of information I need."

I take a much more sympathetic view to Mr. McNamara and his position, because a lot of people don't realize, in the Pentagon, Mr. McNamara knew only what the military was telling him and he had to operate on that basis. And I fear he was not getting full information, any more than our president over this last several years, in the last maybe 10, 12 years, maybe 15 years has been receiving from the CIA. CIA now admits they gave tainted information to the president of the United States which cost us billions. So, Mr. McNamara could only operate on the basis of the information he had and, believe me, he tried.

Mr. SHORR: And he had that information, he had that report, but I think in his book he said the president never saw it.

ADM LaROCQUE: That's right. Well, he -- we made the report to him and the Navy -- Vice Admiral Horatio Rivero, killed it. He wouldn't let me distribute it.

Mr. SHORR: You said that after that you started within the Pentagon to make yourself unpopular on the subject of Vietnam.

ADM LaROCQUE: That's true. I went everywhere. I tried to persuade people that this was a ridiculous thing. Both of my boys were in the military. I had one boy fighting in Vietnam, was -- got two Purple Hearts. I believe in the military. But this was a useless, senseless war.

Mr. SHORR: Did this lead to your eventually leaving the military? Was it over Vietnam that you left, or --

ADM LaROCQUE: No -- Well, Vietnam was the main precipitant for my early retirement. I just wanted to get out. But I also was very much concerned by that time with the growing influence of the military-industrial complex, which was beginning to dominate the Pentagon and still is the most powerful force on the military today.

Mr. SHORR: You said you were -- you were inspired in part by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

ADM LaROCQUE: Oh, absolutely. I knew John Eisenhower. John and I were together --

Mr. SHORR: His son.

ADM LaROCQUE: His son. And John would talk with his dad and I would stay with John sometimes up in Gettysburg and his lovely family. John was a very principled guy.

Mr. SHORR: What was it about Dwight D. Eisenhower that inspired you?

ADM LaROCQUE: Well, it's just the simple -- Well, first of all, he could handle the military. You couldn't fool General Eisenhower. He knew all the angles and stuff. And they couldn't come over there and bluff him and tell him what ought to be done. And he managed to keep down the military spending very low because he recognized, as many military officers did not recognize, that the spending by the military has a significant and sometimes deleterious impact on our whole national economy, on the well-being of our nation."

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Thanks for the insight,

Thanks for the insight, Veritas. Interesting stuff.
Dong Cung; that could be a tricky one.

AL PELLETIER's picture


Been there, done that, and my choice would be neither. One is now shooting from the hip and the other one shot from the hip and either could have hit me as well as the enemy. Pirate, we might disagree sometimes but I'd choose you. Be it as it may, I think you'd make your shot count.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Thank you for that,

Thank you for that, sweetfern. And, your assessment of me making "my shot count" is accurate. I would not hesitate to have you covering my back as well. Moreover, I think we could both agree that Veritas would also be a good man to have covering one's back in such a situation; as long as he didn't talk politics, that is. 0O:-)

RONALD RIML's picture

You're not supposed to do talk 'Politics' on Govt time....

But whenever I went to BNAS or to Togus, I noticed that the waiting room TV's were always tuned to Fox News......the least unbiased of them all.

Mark Elliott's picture

um.....is this Bush's fault

um.....is this Bush's fault too?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot sez, "There's just

The parrot sez, "There's just got to be a Bush connection in there, somewhere".

Mark Elliott's picture

There is, Bush ran out of

There is, Bush ran out of time!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

LOL...He'd played out his

LOL...He'd played out his string, all right.

Mark Elliott's picture

Wonder what Jeb is gonna do??

Wonder what Jeb is gonna do??

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

JEB is capable and qualified

JEB is capable and qualified for higher office, but probably unelectable unless he changes his last name to Jackhammer, or something like that.

Mark Elliott's picture

LOl Jeb Jackhammer huh??

LOl Jeb Jackhammer huh?? That's too "porny"!

RONALD RIML's picture

Jeb is 'capable' - But George was 'pliable'

Hence a much more appropriate candidate.


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