From the Halls of Montezuma

…to the shores of Tripoli.

U.S. Navy warships and submarines are launching missiles at Libya. French fighter jets are flying over Tripoli attacking Gaddafi’s troops.

UPDATE: The military has named this “Operation Odyssey Dawn” —  who the hell comes up with these idiotic names for military operations?


Won’t somebody think of the links?


At least this time the broader (and perhaps saner) international community (outside of power houses like Spain and Poland) including the UN and the Arab League are supporting this.

Necessary evil…


Nice of them to hold off until Warren Christopher died.

@nojo: you beat me to it … and yes, this guy probably has chemical weapons, and he will use them again the rebels. Saudi is in because he tried to kill their king a while back. And wait – are Saudis going to use their air force to help the coalition?

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: Yeah, but’s it’s a small country – you don’t need an air force.

Saudi’s will have to throw some air support in. U.A.E. too – They have the better air force – lots of F-16’s.

But this does not end without boots on the ground. These rebels will never take Gaddafi out of Tripoli. With the air help – maybe, just maybe they can hold on to Benghazi.

The question is – where do the boots come from that can end this? Won’t be us for a change. Applying a little Holmesian logic – “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” – There is only one army that can finish the job. Egypt.

Why not? We buy their uniforms, guns, tanks, and ammo and pay their salaries. We trained all their officers. There is a very close mil-mil relationship. I’m not saying they take orders from the Pentagon, but we did learn they were more inclined to listen to us than say – Mubarak.

It’s in Egypt’s interest to not have Gaddafi on their border, and really in their interest to not have a flood of Libyan rebel refugees streaming across the border in full retreat from Benghazi.

They are already heroes of the “Democratic Movement” in Egypt… why not add to their reputation? It’s a real army, unlike the rebels and unlike Gadaffai’s mercenaries. With full on US Air support, they could be in Tripoli in a week. With the slightest pretense, I expect it to happen.

@libertarian tool: More probable that it’d be them than the French Army. (When doing this quickie post, it took all my self-control to not make a French military joke.)

I wonder how the Israelis would feel about the Egyptian military going in to Libya? Relief that they’re going west instead of northeast?

A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that Raygun was alive and senile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could bomb Khadaffi with France
And, maybe, the war pigs’d be happy for a while.

But Sarah Palin will be dumber
Unlike the papers I’d read over.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about Khadaffi’s stupid pride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day I let the missiles fly.

So bye-bye, crazy Libyan guy.
Aimed the missiles at the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, “I’ll still vote for the white guy.
“I’ll still vote for the white guy.

@ManchuCandidate: Awesome. And I curse you for the ear worm.

@SanFranLefty: Yeah… I don’t think it would be smart for French troops to engage in military operations in ex-French colonies. I’ve never been to North Africa, but I spent a few weeks touring West Africa in ’07 -including ex French colonies Senegal and Mali. Different, but share the same desert. The locals really hate the French. Maybe it is different in North Africa, but I doubt it. Personally, I like touring ex-French colonies. No matter how poor the country, you can always find good coffee, pastries, bread, charcuteries, subsidized artisinal cheeses and decent French wine for a few euros. Everyone loves French culture. It’s just the French they hate.

Isn’t the “shores of Tripoli” line about beating up on the Barbary pirates? I doubt that there were many boots on the ground in that operation, other than sailors and Marines on shore leave.

@libertarian tool: Les Franch. Bringing democracy one camembert at a time.

Paging Nabisco

I thought you were going to go to Dehli to cover Sarah Plain and Dumb’s talk and possible “In what way, Rajiv?” gaffes!

Hey, Steenks – so why haven’t we taken out Q before if he’s such a bad guy/nut job?

/random thought occurring to me on the lift at the local ski area today. Awesome spring conditions today. My arthritic, non-bionic knee is trying to kill me. I got so much tylenol in me that one drink would shut my liver down, but it was worth it.

@SanFranLefty: Have you seen that French and British defense budgets are so tight that fka GB can’t afford planes for its new rounds of carriers and that they’re thinking of sharing space on a French carrier? Hilarity will ensue. I see a sitcom.

Supermoon was huge here in Santa Fe tonight.

@redmanlaw: Because we’re distracted by our two other land wars in Central Asia?

/cues Princess Bride

P.S. Don’t taunt me with your fucking SuperMoon. /shakes fist at thunderstorms over Ess Eff

@redmanlaw: Because he pre-empted the Bush Doctrine by offering to “play nice”.

Reports are that airpower is coming from Euros including Brits, French and Scandinavian. I seriously doubt there will be any ground troops, unless the Arab League decides they will send in some from Egypt.

@libertarian tool: I hear Tunis is quite lovely in May.

@SanFranLefty: To be honest, I’m too busy trying to cram in last minute sight seeing in NotTibet and packing my maletas, in anticipation of bugging out of here within the fortnight. Apologies.

There’s probably a /redacted/ team on the ground as observers and target identification/verification… (cruise missiles don’t target themselves.)

@ManchuCandidate: Like them SAS cats they rolled up a few weeks ago? Awkward . . .

Dude, see “Battle LA.” Laser targeting. That is all.

Not really as it seems the SAS guys were more bodyguards rather than doing intel work.

It makes sense to me. Need eyeballs on the ground. Plus the 6th Fleet has a couple of ‘phib transports which normally have a /redacted/ detachment or /redacted/ Recon Team attached.

Yeah, when I get a chance, I’ll go see Battle LA.


I hear Tunis is quite lovely in May.

FWIW – In my very limited experience from another part of the Sahara – If you hire the Touareg as bodyguards, they won’t kidnap you. They have integrity that way. Have fun.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut:

You’ve got me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying this was a good idea. Just saying that once we started down this road, it cannot end without troops taking and holding territory, and I don’t see any country with the potential will and wherewithal to mount this kind of effort except Egypt.

I don’t envy Obama making this decision. It looks to me like the least bad of a lot of horrible choices:

A) Do nothing and permit Gaddafi to crush the rebellion (with predictable brutal suppression and loss of life).
B) Unilateral US military action (with predictable loss of life and blowback)
C) US military action under UN coalition fig leaf (with predictable loss of life and unknown outcome)

Pick your poison.

@libertarian tool: “UN fig leaf”? Well, sure, the US wrote the resolution, but the Franch blue-lined it to force a vote, and some elbow twisting got Brazil, South Africa and Bosnia on board in the SC. Italy is allowing the use of its territory for Canadian, Danish and other “coalition” take-offs and landings, and the UAE is apparently quietly lining up its assets, as well.

Jordanian and Bangladeshi blue helmets, perhaps, but I don’t see ground troops going in to take and hold territory. Who can afford to commit them? Egypt’s military is still pretty much running the show back home, they’re not available.

@libertarian tool: No, I don’t have any more questions. I’m just huddled here in the corner with my head between my knees, wondering why I get out of bed.

Ze Franch launch Operation Johnny Halliday; password – Limey scum, Ah speet on yore Yorksheer poodang.

@Nabisco: Bene’s people are all tapped out, I understand. They got no more guys to send anywhere right now.

So the Arab League is all pissed off at the missile attack, although they were all gung-ho on the no-fly zone, which necessarily involves some degradation of the other guy’s air defense systems. Assholes.

@libertarian tool: Their bands kick ass, too.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: Today’s Mandatory Metallica: “Harvester of Sorrow,” Moscow, 1991. Check out the Red Army guys at the end.


“Their bands kick ass, too.”

True. Your comment reminded of a band we heard on that trip. It was one of those magical moments that sometimes occurs when traveling, usually when expectations are low. I’m going to cheat and cut & paste this from the journal:

The itinerary called for a night of desert camping, but instead we stayed in a hotel in Niafounke. The guide tried to keep expectations low by calling this “hotel camping”, but there was no way to prepare us for how truly grim and depressing the roach infested rooms actually were. No one wanted to stay in their room any longer than necessary, and we soon congregated in the courtyard to break into the liquor supplies. While we wiled away the afternoon, a band set up in front of us for our evening entertainment.

Electric guitar, bass guitar, casaba percussion and a chewed up drum set with cymbals that looked like they had been used to chop wood. The musicians were young – just kids really – but they played with real musicianship, earnest enthusiasm, and soon attracted an audience from around the neighborhood. I’d describe the sound as a rock and rap inspired fusion with West African traditional music. One song sounded familiar, but I could not quite identify it. Then it hit me. Lynyrd Syknyrd’s “Simple Kind of Man”. Really. No shit. Lynyrd Skynyrd. We were listening to a young Mali band playing a 1973 Southern Rock hit on the banks of the Niger River in Niafounke, Mali in 2007. In retrospect, reading the lyrics with a fresh eye, I can see where this song might strike a responsive chord with a struggling musician trying to make it in a poor African fishing village.

As I sat there in an advanced state of cultural cognitive dissonance listening to the Mali band play a tune from my college days, I realized I had to record this and ran into the room for the camcorder.

Missed “Simple Man” but recorded a couple of other songs from my camcorder, balanced on a glass serving as tripod on our table.

Recording here.

@libertarian tool: That shit is awesome. I love that big fat snakey groove. It’s like Afrobeat + drank. I like ’em better than Tinariwen. The sound also makes me think of Exile era Stones. Can I put it up on the FB?

/got Anthrax (thrash metal) on in the other room with the hotel cats on head phones. Got some guitar playing of my own in earlier

Sure. I put it up there to share, and in the hope someday someone might tell me something more about the band or the song. I suspect it’s a riff covering a Mali staple.

Headed off to a nap as word came that someone punched a couple of holes in the Bob Dylan Impersonator’s Presidential Palace and Bunny Grotto. (That skiing really kicked my ass. I’ve bounced back from hangovers faster.) NOW the Arab League is really pissed off.

I bet they missed the guy. Expect street signs to change from “Down with Regime” to “Down with US/Crusaders.” If it’s a miss, that would be the second time we know of in which the Wiley One escapes a hail of bombs.

Libya – Back to the Future:

Let’s look at how OOD has unfolded thus far: First wave of strikes were TLAMs against Libya’s SA-5 sites.

Huh? Holy nostalgia, Batman! If memory serves, that was among the first moves of Operation El Dorado Canyon back in 1986. In fact, this whole conop has a 25th Anniversary of Top Gun special edition (with extras) vibe to it.

But we digress (or do we?) Back to the recap: Campaign starts with counter-IADS effort using TLAMs fired from U.S. and U.K. ships and subs sailing around the Gulf of Sidra. (Remember the “Line of Death,” as in “U.S. Navy 4, Libya 0″?) Those strikes were followed by counter ground forces sorties using French Mirage and Rafale fighter/attack aircraft (flying most likely out of Aviano air base in Italy) along with USMC Harriers flying from amphibious ships (also located in the Gulf with the TLAM shooters, who in some cases double as the AEGIS “shotgun” defending against possible air attack from the Libyan MiG-23s (the Hornet guys flying CAP wish).

And somewhere during all of this B-2s flying out of their base in Missouri hard-killed their part of the Joint Prioritized Target List (prounounced “JaPitil” in Combined Air Operations Center circles). As we remember those type of sorties lasted about a week at the outset of Operation Enduring Freedom, and nobody was more happy to see them go away than the pilots themselves. That’s a long way to fly to drop a couple of JDAMs.

And with that the Arab League screams “mission creep!” and the no-fly zone starts.

Back to the Future With Odyssey Dawn

The Weapons We’re Hitting Ghadafi With

@redmanlaw: Holy nostalgia, Batman!

That’s the theme of the Morning Blather. Only I’m going back another decade.

From the Daily Mail, Ooooooh Snap! of the Day:

I have all along wished for Barack Obama’s success because I knew the only way for him to be a successful president would be to adopt the policies of President Bush.

Dutch guy does Operation Odysseus Rode the Sheep play by play on twitter, records psyops messages. “It’s the kind of information that the American military typically tries to obscure, at least until a mission is over. But Huub is just a single node in a sprawling online network that trawls the airwaves for clues to military operations.”

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