What’s Our Strategic Goal, or Do We Even Have One?

From my standpoint, the strategic level was, what do we want as the end state? What do we want to accomplish as a nation, and as NATO, in whatever action we’re going to take? What are the measures of effectiveness to tell us whether we’re achieving the end state that we want, and if we’re moving down the road towards it?

That was from General Charles Krulak, talking about the airware in Kosovo in 1999.

I’m not sure that getting involved in Libya is ultimately the wrong thing to do, but I’m pretty damn sure nobody involved in the decision-making has taken a lesson from Krulak.

hattip to plutosdad at Dispatches.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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6 Responses to What’s Our Strategic Goal, or Do We Even Have One?

  1. DensityDuck says:

    The first thing I thought was O’Rourke’s comment on the Serbian business: “If a brutal dictator commits genocide against his subjects, the US will show up six weeks later and bomb the country next to where it happened.”

  2. Lance says:

    The fact that US aircraft attacked Kaddafi’s ground troops and armored vehicles massing outside Benghazi shows how the so called “no fly zone” has already morphed into a military intervention in what is looking a lot like a civil war.

    US interests are probably served by ousting Kaddafi but who knows what might follow and how exactly is it any of our business?

    Then there is the pesky issue of yet another president committing US forces in a foreign war without congressional approval, but no one other than Dennis Kucinich and the usually anti-Obama voices on the right, who of course whole heartedly supported this kind of thing when “W” was the one sending in the Air Force.

  3. ppnl says:

    Looks like a version of the Powell doctrine. Currently our commitment is minimal and exit would be fairly easy. But then so would our escalated involvement.

    In the long run anything that takes ownership of the revolution away from the Libyan people will probably be bad. It must be their fight to win even if that means they ultimately lose.

  4. AMW says:

    In the long run anything that takes ownership of the revolution away from the Libyan people will probably be bad.

    Agreed. But I must confess to being much more torn about involvement in Libya than I was in Iraq. I like to think it’s because the situation is somewhat different; that in Libya we would be aiding a people truly in revolt and truly seeking reform. But part of it might also be that I have less of a gut-level aversion to Obama than I did to Bush.

  5. ppnl says:

    The difference between Libya and Iraq is in the scale. What have we spent in Iraq, about a trillion? That’s what happens when you make an unlimited commitment to a poorly defined mission.

    The commitment to Libya is so far limited. If we end up spending a trillion dollars there it will be ever bit as bad an idea as Iraq.

  6. lance says:

    Sounds today as if we are actively attacking ground targets that have little to do with any “No Fly Zone”.

    It’s hard not to have sympathy for the Libyan “rebels” who are brave (or stupid) enough to go against armored vehicles with small arms or at the most RPGs. Although there was a bizarre report about a week ago that they had shot down one of their own jets.

    Uh, where did they get that, where did they fly it from and how did they manage to not know it was there own?

    Maybe it was just an overly boastful “rebel” claiming the jet as their own to scare Kadaffi?

    Anyway, talk about mission creep. A Libyan official claimed that the US air force was providing the rebels with “close air support”. It’s hard to not see this as a true statement given the latest attacks on ground forces.

    What is the goal here? Is there an official policy that supports this kind of mission and to what end?

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