Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We've Seen This Movie Before

France and Italy said Wednesday that they would join Britain in sending liaison officers to support the rebel army in Libya, in what military analysts said was a sign that there would be no quick and easy end to the war in Libya. ... The Obama administration, which has ruled out deploying American troops in Libya, announced Wednesday that it would authorize as much as $25 million in military surplus supplies, though not weapons, to the Libyan opposition forces.
This is how it goes: Outside powers first send aid of some kind. The rebels don't prevail, they hang on. The outside forces send more aid; weapons, supplies, goods. The rebels hang on, but so does the regime. More money, more supplies. Liaison officers and trainers are sent. Then troops.

Of course, it doesn't always proceed along those steps, some come earlier, some later. But the progression goes on because as the war progresses, the outside power has more and more time, money and, most importantly, prestige in its efforts. Its reputation as a military power of consequence is on the line. And so, the outside power steps deeper and deeper into the conflict.

Even if the outcome is to the power's preference, the costs can be staggering. For our own nation, we have the Iraq and Vietnam wars within our living memory. Iraq, especially, has been a massive budget drain because the Bush Administration refused to do anything to pay for the war (a position fully supported by his party).

In our past, one of the United States is independent is because the French intervened. The Battle of Yorktown was won because the French Navy defeated the Royal Navy in the Battle of the Virginia Capes, which prevented the relief by the Royal Navy of General Cornwallis's forces. Yet the French paid a heavy price. Their support of the Revolutionary War was a factor in the effective bankruptcy of the French government, which was in itself one of the causes of the French Revolution.

We have to be careful that we don't "mission creep" ourselves into another ground war. But given how history has played out before, I am pessimistic that it can be avoided.


Stewart Dean said...

How do you spell Dien Bien Phu?

bearsense said...

.....but just possibly they'll teach them not to waste ammunition by shooting it up into the air.
Maybe not.

XR650L_Dave said...

So shall we call it Vietlibya or Libyanam?