Boots on the ground

The way the United States and its allies have intervened in Libya has placed them on a dangerously slippery slope. Air power alone has not protected Libyan civilians, the declared objective in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized the military intervention. Nor have the rebels proved capable of making significant advances against Muammar al-Qaddafi’s ...

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US Marines with NATO forces patrol in a deserted market in Marjah on February 17, 2010. Afghans have raised their flag over a bazaar badly damaged by fighting with Taliban militants in a major US-led offensive to drive out the Taliban from a southern Afghan town. The leader of southern province Helmand, Governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal, toured the battlefield on the fifth day of the offensive but said Marjah had not yet been "cleared" completely of militants nor the mines they had planted. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Altaf Qadri (Photo credit should read Altaf Qadri/AFP/Getty Images)

The way the United States and its allies have intervened in Libya has placed them on a dangerously slippery slope. Air power alone has not protected Libyan civilians, the declared objective in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized the military intervention. Nor have the rebels proved capable of making significant advances against Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces. To effectively enforce the Security Council resolution, the coalition would need to put combat air controllers, advisors, and trainers on the ground -- steps it appears unwilling to take. Where does that leave the coalition when it comes to developing a coherent war strategy? Mostly empty-handed.

I've learned a thing or two about using force to attain strategic aims in my 37 years in the U.S. Army. I've had command positions in three interventions -- Haiti, Bosnia, and Iraq. My last was as a senior commanding general in Iraq in charge of accelerating the growth of the Iraqi security forces during the surge period in 2007 and 2008.

Read more.

The way the United States and its allies have intervened in Libya has placed them on a dangerously slippery slope. Air power alone has not protected Libyan civilians, the declared objective in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized the military intervention. Nor have the rebels proved capable of making significant advances against Muammar al-Qaddafi’s forces. To effectively enforce the Security Council resolution, the coalition would need to put combat air controllers, advisors, and trainers on the ground — steps it appears unwilling to take. Where does that leave the coalition when it comes to developing a coherent war strategy? Mostly empty-handed.

I’ve learned a thing or two about using force to attain strategic aims in my 37 years in the U.S. Army. I’ve had command positions in three interventions — Haiti, Bosnia, and Iraq. My last was as a senior commanding general in Iraq in charge of accelerating the growth of the Iraqi security forces during the surge period in 2007 and 2008.

Read more.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik (Ret.) is a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War.

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