The Donald is unhappy.
He is, in fact, aggrieved.
If this were an episode of The Apprentice, heads would be rolling.
Yesterday Trump appeared on NBC’s Today Show and expressed his dissatisfaction with America’s response to the growing crises in Libya – and by “Libya” I mean “opportunity to grandstand” and by “America” I mean “sissy liberal black guy in the White House.”
Trump said to Matt Lauer:
“Again, it’s the weakness of our country. We have all those soldiers, all those ships over there and you have this mad man shooting people down in the streets. They’re protesting and they’re protesting rather violently. He has F-18s shooting bullets into the crowds and I think killing probably tens of thousands of people. They say two or three thousand people, I think it’s got to be a lot more than that.”
One of the problems with Reality TV is that it rarely reflects actual reality in any way whatsoever.
Such is the case here.
Trump begins with the standard rightwing canard, i.e. America is “weak.”
Conservatives like to say that America is the best country in the whole darned world, always has been, always will be, favored by God, land of the free, home of the brave, capitalism, mom and apple pie in every kitchen, a Hummer in every garage, gun shows and tractor pulls, best medical system in the world, mightiest military, biggest economy, we won every battle, invented everything worth having, discovered everything worth exploring, wrote everything worth reading, brew the only beer worth drinking, and if you don’t agree, why, we’ll have our B-52’s drop some fucking freedom on your country so you’d better just watch your isalmocommiefascist mouths.
And yet, we’re weak.
That’s right, if we don’t charge in, unprepared and ass backward into places where angels fear to tread, we’re weak.
According to The Donald, “we’ve got “all these soldiers, all those ships over there.”
Apparently, nobody mentioned to President
Scroob Trump that the vast majority of our military might is tied up elsewhere in the Middle East – and that the bulk of our forces are nowhere near North Africa. There’s one Carrier group in the neighborhood – centered on USS Enterprise, the oldest and least capable of America’s nuclear aircraft carriers – and that’s a strike group not a battle or an amphibious assault group, there’s big difference. We’ll come back to this particular subject in a minute.
Trump says that “this mad man” is shooting people down in the streets.
Well, thank you, Captain Combover. Allow me to point out that Moammar Gaddafi has been shooting his own citizens in the streets of Libya for about 40 years now, and prior to last week nobody in the executive suite at Trump Towers gave a shit. So, why for the outrage now? Is it because Qaddafi somehow managed to acquire American military aircraft? I can tell you I was certainly surprised to learn that the Libyan air force is flying US-made F-18 Falcons. Last I knew the Libyans were flying French and Russian fighters, and according to the State Department we couldn’t even export Silly Putty to them. So, when did we start selling them our latest military technology?
My bad. F-18, SU-22, MIG-25, Mirage, whatever. The details are a little hazy, anybody could make that mistake, but boy howdy you can trust to Trump to have the rest of his military intelligence and understanding of the situation in Libya correct. Details are for peons, Trump is more of a big picture man.
You’ve really got to admire Trump’s grasp of military intelligence and analysis. Seriously. He explains, “…I think killing probably tens of thousands of people. They say two or three thousand people, I think it’s got to be a lot more than that.”
Trump does not bother to share with us mere mortals what, exactly, he bases the assessment of “tens of thousands” on, you’ll just have to take his word for it.
I suspect his body count is about as accurate as his grasp of Moammar’s military hardware.
Yes, the sound you hear is me banging my head on the desk yet again.
As a combat officer who has served in this particular part of the world, I have nothing but contempt for this kind of idiotic clueless nonsense – as should every American. Haven’t we had enough of this horseshit? Haven’t we wasted enough American lives on this kind of silly make-believe garbage? This kind of sloppy hyperbolic reasoning is exactly what got us into Beirut. It’s what got us into Somalia. It’s what got us into Iraq after Kuwait and kept us there for two decades maintaining no-fly zones and useless UN Sanctions until we finally waded in again, all piss and vinegar and without a fucking clue as to reality on the ground. Last I checked, we’re still there – despite assurances from our leadership (who like Trump ignored actual reality and relied on gut feelings and belief and the imaginary voice of Jesus in his head) that we’d be in and out in a month or two, that we’d only need a couple thousand troops to hold the country after the invasion, and that the Iraqis would cheer us in the streets.
Oh yes, let’s have us some more of that.
“I would certainly support a no-fly zone at a minimum (Including US military forces on the ground in Libya). I would not do it for a long period of time, but you can’t allow, this is like a holocaust, you can’t allow something like this to happen. It should have been done already. He could have saved a lot of lives if this were done. That could have been surgically, he could have been surgically taken out. He knocked out the Pan Am plane. This is not a good man. This is not a sane man. Something should have happen and I don’t mean by leaving our troops there for any longer than a very short time.”
Jesus H. Christ, Charlie Sheen makes more goddamned sense than this bombastic chicken hawk.
Allow me to explain the one immutable fundamental element of a no-fly zone: you cannot do it “at a minimum.”
You’re either all in, or all out. Anything else just leaves you mired up to your neck while the enemy kills you one by one. There are endless examples of this naïve, ignorant, shallow, stupid, armchair Field Marshal bullshit throughout the last 60 years of our history, from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.
And anybody with a modicum of military experience could tell you that.
Here’s how a no-fly zone in Libya would have to work.
Step 1: Invade.
Yes, that’s right. We’d have to start by killing Libyans. We’d have to reduce the country’s air defense system, that means combat air strikes and cruise missiles to destroy both anti-air defenses and Libyan fighter aircraft – see, otherwise they use those things to shoot down your airplanes. So you have to destroy them first. There’s no way to tell which units are friendly to the regime and which are rebels – and rebels tend to regard you bombing their country as an anti-social act so they tend to shoot at you despite the fact that you’re supposedly there to support them. You have to destroy them all. There is no way to do that without killing Libyans. Lots of them. Friendly Libyans. Hostile Libyans. And the poor sons of bitches just caught in the open at the wrong time. You may expect a large number of civilian casualties as collateral damage in addition to the large number of military personnel – and you can expect those numbers to increase exponentially if the Libyans try to fight back or try to hide their AA systems in civilian neighborhoods. Additionally, you can’t reduce an entire country’s defense system with only one carrier strike group. See, our strike aircraft will have to be protected, so we’ll need fighters to escort them too. Libya has good air defenses, which means we are likely to take losses, which means we’ll need more aircraft and support forces for search and rescue and opposed recovery. Libya has long range missiles that they’re libel to shoot at our fleet and at our allies in the region, just like they did the last time we went down there. So we’ll need to destroy those too. Libya has a small navy, but it’s equipped with cruise missile that could threaten our ships, so we’ll need to destroy those targets as well. Also, we’ll need recce and intel and electronic support aircraft. That’s a lot more than Enterprise can provide, so we’re going to have to redeploy a number of additional carriers. Those carriers are either refitting between deployments in their homeports, or they are on station in the war zones in the Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf right now. Those carriers aren’t going to deploy to Libya for a full-on air assault without their own strike groups to protect them, so that means all the cruisers and destroyers in the Gulf too (oh, and you can forget about fighting those pirates in the Indian Ocean for a while). We’ll need cruise missiles, specifically Tomahawks, those are fired by cruisers and destroyers and submarines, and they’ll need to reload and refuel and resupply too so that means a bunch of support ships. Understand that these ships and their crews have been in constant deployment and rotation status for nearly a decade now. Their schedules are tightly planned. The only way to provide the vessels necessary for this little adventure will be to extend deployments or to cut short an already abbreviated Inter-Deployment Training Cycle. You’re going to be really popular in the Fleet. Now, it would be nice if we could use the Air Force for this op, but they need land bases. Land bases in countries that don’t mind being seen as directly supporting the United States on yet another invasion of a Middle Eastern country – that’s going to rule out Italy and Spain and France. So where else? Israel? That’ll go over big. Egypt? Tunisia? Djibouti? Or maybe the Air Force can fly 16 hour sorties from England like the last time we did this? Oh, and you’ll need UN permission. Yes, you will. Unless you intend to go it alone and unless you like being declared a rogue state. See, Libya isn’t attacking us – so if we start bombing them, no matter why, without UN consensus, we’re the aggressors and subject to international sanction. Yes, I know, the UN can kiss our red white and blue asses. No matter that we’re the ones who wrote those treaties. Why would the Greatest Nation in the World need to keep its promises to its allies and other nations? Right. Fuck ‘em.
That’s for starters.
Step 1b: Trump said he’d include ground forces. First, you’ll have to figure out where those forces will come from. Will you pull active combat units out of Iraq? Afghanistan? Pakistan? What missions there are you willing to give up?And which units? The ones that just got there, or the ones preparing to leave? Either way, the units that were thinking they’d get to come home after a year of combat will get fucked right in the ass yet again. Or will you deploy units that are currently in reset here in the US? You know, those units that just returned from combat and are currently rebuilding and training and preparing for their next deployment back to Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan. You’re going to be real popular with Soldiers and Marines. Real popular. But hey, at least it’ll only be for a couple of months. Yeah. No. No, really, we believe you. This time. Sure.
Step 2: Establish the no-fly zone.
Um. Hmmm. Well, okay. We’re going to need to patrol an area of about 2 million square miles. We’re going to need to do that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as it takes. We’ll need real time radar coverage of that entire area, so that means we’re going to need a dozen AWACS aircraft, and we’re going to need continuous fighter patrols, and we’ll need a couple squadrons of UAVS, and we’re going to need all the things that go with supporting a lot of air planes that are flying 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as it takes, like maintainers and weather guessers and supply clerks and air traffic controllers and, well, there’s a lot of “and” – What we’ll need is a base or two or three, and that means all the things that go with a base including personnel and food and supplies and fuel and etcetera. Don’t worry though, we’ve been doing this for a while, we know what to do. Sigh.
Step 3: Stay.
Oh, heh heh. Riiiiight. We’re only going to be there until Qaddifi is gone. Should only a couple of weeks. Surely it won’t be like how Saddam managed to hang on for nearly two decades. Of course not. Right, he’ll be gone in a few weeks. Sure. Then we can leave.
Oh, well, yeah, I guess we did blow up Libya’s military and their air defense systems. So, morally, I guess we’ll have to stick around until the new government is formed and they can buy new equipment and build a new army and security forces and democracy and, well, I guess they’ll need training and somebody to help them rebuild all those buildings we bombed. Couple years. Tops. But hey, the Libyans will be cheering us in the streets!
Now, here’s the really good part – we can do this without increasing the national debt, because, see, Libyan oil will pay for it all…
I would not do it for a long period of time…
These people go to war the same way they screw.
Trust me, I’ll only put it in a little way and I’ll pull out before we go too far.
A year later and you’re standing line for diapers at 3 AM and the son of a bitch is nowhere to be found. Child support? Yeah, good luck with that, he’s suddenly a fiscal conservative…
Different asshole, same old shit.
Update: More thoughts on the recent UN Resolution regarding Libya here