Monday, April 18, 2011

Libya: Misrata death toll exceeds 600, where are the AC-130s?

(Time/CNN) - Mark Thompson's earlier post about the contradictions in U.S. policy and strategy in Libya is likely to become the story line of the week. The story goes like this: President Obama a) pushed intervention in Libya to avoid a civilian massacre b) restricted that intervention to an air war, and then c) hamstrung that air war so badly that the massacre happened anyways, like what is happening now in Misrata.

Soon after NATO took the lead in the skies over Libya, the Europeans quickly began running short on precision bombs – exactly the kind of munitions needed to take out Gadhafi's armor and artillery while minimizing civilian casualties. Then, ten days ago, the United States pulled the AC-130s and A-10 Warthogs from the fight, perhaps the best weapons in the world for taking out enemy tanks.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal says the death toll in Misrata is at least 600 – and climbing by the hour.