Hit-or-Miss Bombing Not Enough?

Obama “On the Verge of Taking Action” on Smoldering Ruin of Libya


ISIS ISIL is apparently becoming such a nuisance to the American-led, non-warfare bombing campaign of Libya that per hints of informed Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, President Obama is “on the verge of taking action.”

Washington dinosaur John McCain (R-AZ) added that “[the Obama administration] is going to have to intervene…There are many options…but they can’t be this incremental stuff like they’ve practiced in the past. This is the classic mission creep incrementalism that’s just been a total failure.”

Politico has quoted McCain for describing this limited bombing campaign without declaration of war as “leading from behind.” Presumably the similarity to pulling the strategy out of our national ass is a coincidence.

McCain did not elaborate on which part of the Obama strategy of unilaterally deciding who to assassinate thousands of miles away without trial was the failure. For example, The Washington Post detailed on Friday U.S. F-15 fighter jets striking a “suspected Islamic State camp in Libya.” The man whose life American leadership decided to take was Noureddine Chouchane, a Tunisian national and “senior ISIS ISIL facilitator.” American defense leaders reported that Chouchane was “probably” killed in the attack on the Sabratha, Libya compound; Tunisian Foreign Ministry spokesman Noufal el-Obaidi reported to Washington Post that 40 bodies were recovered, with an additional 6 Tunisians injured.

Is the failure that only 46 casualties were notched against an estimated 2,000-5,000 ISIL fighters in Libya, or that the American-determined target of the bombing was “probably” among them? Arizona voters, maybe bring that one up at McCain’s next town hall before he nods off. He is notoriously proud of the fact he’s never used email.

Chouchane’s possible death among the 40 would “represent a blow to [ISIS ISIL’s] ability to launch high-profile attacks in North Africa,” according to WP. Chouchane is “believed to have overseen” two Tunisian attacks for which ISIL claimed responsibility in 2015: gunmen killed 22 at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, while a lone gunman slaughtered 38 people in a coastal resort in Sousse.

America is gaining experience points in the region as well, however. Last June, American aircraft attempted to destroy Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who had links to ISIS ISIL’s sworn adversary, al-Queda. (This is called “hedging our bets.”) U.S. officials as of Friday still refused to confirm to Washington Post that Belmokhtar was indeed killed in that bombardment.

Obama added that, while he personally hoped it didn’t come to it, there was “an emerging possibility” America may soon take the extraordinary step of declaring war on Libya.

According to Human Rights Watch, the United States-led NATO strikes took the lives of at least 72 civilians in Libya during 2011.

Thank you to Politico and Washington Post, and especially Nahal Toosi, Sudarsan Raghavan, Brian Murphy and Missy Ryan:

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/obama-on-the-verge-of-taking-action-in-libya-corker-says-219023; https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/reports-airstrikes-target-suspected-islamic-state-base-in-libya/2016/02/19/e622c12a-d6f7-11e5-be55-2cc3c1e4b76b_story.html