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News Link • WAR: About that War

Let me bomb you in peace

If former Pentagon supremo Donald "known unknown" Rumsfeld were still in business, he'd be grumbling that Libya presents no bombable targets - as in Afghanistan in 2001. As far as United States quagmires go, Libya is bigger than Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan combined. But any possible "targets" concentrate in a few cities along the Mediterranean coast.

The Barack Obama-launched Tomahawking of Muammar Gaddafi's forces (and a few installations) is over; now it's up to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to impose the "kinetic military action" (White House newspeak) and thus force "regime change". And in perfect Tag Heuer time, disaster has set. NATO would love to bomb everything in sight shock and awe-style - but they can't. They can't even pinpoint Gaddafi's forces on their screens.

You don't remain in power over four decades in a developing country without learning a military trick or two from illustrious predecessors such as China's Mao Zedong and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh - not to mention bunglers such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq. After learning the lesson of having his tanks like sitting ducks in the desert bombed at will by the "coalition of the willing" (a few NATO members plus Qatar), Gaddafi is now fighting light-armor guerrilla style against the "rebels".

NATO's response has been more predictable than those everyday multilingual stalemates in Brussels; hurling accusations that Gaddafi is using human shields - as in his tanks in Misrata being "dispersed" across town and inside the perimeter. Translation: NATO's Tornado/Rafale air war is useless, unless you can bomb a tank column resplendent in the desert sun.

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