TRIPOLI, Libya — The Libyan government renewed its artillery and rocket attack on the port of Misurata on Tuesday in its latest apparent attempt to cut the lifeline of the besieged rebel-held western city.
The fresh assault on the Mediterranean port killed a migrant worker from Niger and wounded 11 other people, said Khaled Abu Falgha, a doctor at the Hikma Hospital there. It also disrupted humanitarian aid work and forced a Red Cross boat that had docked in the city to turn around, according to Human Rights Watch.
A rebel spokesman called the afternoon shelling by Gaddafi’s forces “murderous.”
Indeed. I thought we were supposed to be preventing that? And if we’re not preventing Gaddafi’s forces from shelling cities, what are we doing? This just doesn’t make sense. At first we’re told it’ll be days, not weeks. That was weeks ago. Then we’re told that we’re going to start handing over the lead to our NATO allies; we’re still flying and they’re running out of ordnance. Now we’re told that Predators are flying missions. Good piece of gear, that, but it’s not a magic bullet, and furthermore every Predator over Libya is one fewer over Afghanistan. (BTW, here’s a piece on the ethics [sic] of increasing reliance on armed drones.) We’re told that slaying Gaddafi himself is out of the question– bad form, you know– but two Norwegian aircraft just dropped bombs on his compound.
Now the calls are coming in– more Predators, some AC-130s!
mission effort there doesn’t need this weapon or that aircraft. It needs coherence, clarity, and a firm guiding hand. It needs leadership, focus and direction. It needs to make sense.
Don’t hold your breath on that last one.
And the worst part is that whatever hits our credibility would have taken by staying out of this, our credibility (and NATO’s) will take harder hits, and maybe irreparable damage, by getting in and not fighting like we mean it.
PS… On a related note, MDL sent this on the rebels’ menagerie of guns and paucity of skill at arms. It guess it pays to be a nation of riflemen *before* you take up arms against tyranny.