All Articles Tagged "libyan airstrikes"
(AP) — Stretched thin by two wars, the U.S. military is spending upward of $1 billion in an international assault to destroy Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s air defenses and save rebels from likely defeat, according to analysts and a rough calculation of the military operation so far. Missiles fired from submarines in the Mediterranean, bombs dropped by B-2 stealth bombers and an array of warplanes launching airstrikes over the northern portion of Libya easily total hundreds of millions of dollars. The campaign entered its fifth day on Wednesday.
The Obama administration isn’t talking overall cost, but the magnitude of the military campaign, the warships and aircraft deployed and the munitions used provide some information to estimate the growing price tag. As of Tuesday, the coalition had fired at least 162 sea-launched Tomahawk missiles priced at $1 million to $1.5 million apiece and dispatched B-2 stealth bombers — round-trip from Missouri — to drop 2,000-pound bombs on Libyan sites. Total flying time: 25 hours. Operating cost for one hour: at least $10,000. Yet those numbers only provide part of the costs. The B-2 bombers require expensive fuel — and rely on air tankers to refuel in flight — and probably needed parts replaced upon their return to Whiteman Air Force Base. The pilots most certainly will get combat pay.
Over the weekend, I had a chance to revisit the movie The Battle of Algiers, a 1966 war film based on the events during the Algerian War (1954-62) that resulted in the North African country Algeria gaining its independence from France.
For those who haven’t seen it, here is a brief synopsis: The highly politicized film reconstructs the events that occurred in the capital city of French Algeria between November 1954 and December 1960. The war “officially” starts when the National Liberation Front, a merger of smaller groups intent on obtaining independence, initiates conflict against the Republican government of France. Over the course of the movie, the NLF engages in guerrilla warfare to rid the country of the French Pieds-Noirs imperialist occupiers. The French, who weren’t going to be rid of a country they colonized that easily, engages in highly militarized violence to capture and assassinate leaders of the revolt. In the end, the French would win the battle of Algiers. However, they lose the Algerian War due to a mass revolt by the Algerian people, who were inspired by the strength of the NLF.
I re-watched the movie, hoping to gain some valuable insight into what exactly constitutes a revolution and more importantly, who gets to determine when a leader has lost his or her legitimacy to rule?
My film screening also coincided with last Thursday’s UN Security Council’s authorization of a “no-fly zone” over Libya—a measure that gave the OK for coalition forces to use “all necessary measures” to protect civilian rebels from attacks by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. Interestingly, it is France who recognized the legitimacy of the Libyan opposition forces, and pushed the UN for resolution and to take the lead on air strikes onto Gadhafi’s military targets and strongholds.
Perhaps France is feeling guilt or some newfound moral proclivity because for years they were the oppressive occupying regime in countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Chad and Niger. In the past, the FLN was considered a terrorist much in the same vein as we do other Islamic radical organizations, and the FLN’s pleas for intervention were virtually ignored by the UN Security Council.
Of course, due to their newborn empathy for the Libyan freedom fighters, the French would gain some valuable allies from the UK and the United States, who are both waist-deep in global condemnation about its own occupational forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In a speech President Obama gave before the air strikes began, he attempted to justify US involvement in the coalition’s “humanitarian intervention” by saying that “we are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.” Then, we collectively watched as US forces dropped over 110 Tomahawk missiles on the same day that ironically marked the 8th Anniversary of the Iraq War.
In a matter of weeks, we have watched as the rebellion has gone from peaceful Libyan protesters to armed Libyan rebels. Yet, no one is quite clear of the protestors/rebels’ identity or aspirations. We could assume (much like what occurred leading up to the Algerian War of Independence) that this is a ragtag group of rival movements who may have fought against each other at some moment in time but now see a common goal. But what happens beyond the removal of Gadhafi? And more importantly, will the change in Libya be a good thing for the people or are we setting ourselves up to be co-conspirators to the same atrocities (such as civil war and genocide over ethnicity) that Libya experienced under Gadhafi?
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
(Wall Street Journal) — Now that U.S. officials say allied forces have established an effective no-fly zone over Libya to hem in the Gadhafi regime’s attacks on rebels, Western leaders have another issue to confront: What to do next. As quickly as missiles and bombers struck along the Libyan coast to take out Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s air power and defenses, divisions emerged among the coalition that voted the plan into effect Thursday under the aegis of the United Nations. Risks to President Barack Obama’s minimalist approach toward war in Libya were emerging, with Arab support so far limited and disputes over the terms of the engagement.
Leaders in Britain and France made clear they hoped to force Col. Gadhafi’s ouster through the show of force, but that wasn’t an official goal of the U.S. or of the U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the campaign. Some American lawmakers and security strategists criticized the White House Sunday for failing to more clearly define the mission. Some U.S. and European officials said the airstrikes would lead to a mutiny against Col. Gadhafi. But the White House didn’t detail what might happen should the Libyan dictator hang on to power and make good on his pledge to lead an insurgency against rebel and Western forces. Some rebel leaders said the help came too late, though there were celebrations and an apparent respite from attacks around their command center in Benghazi. The Arab League. whose support was pivotal to the move, said the campaign was overstepping its bounds, and among league members only Qatar made clear it was joining in.