Obama's Bay of Pigs

In the year of President Obama’s birth in August, the most disgraceful military episode of probably all U.S. history, known as the Bay of Pigs, took place in April in Cuba. Obama has just totally duplicated the Bay of Pigs disaster in Libya, an episode just as disgraceful as that of 1961.

One wonders if the president has any sense of history. In the Bay of Pigs event, the CIA had trained a small army of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba with the intention of wrestling the country from Fidel Castro, who had become its communist dictator. The critical ingredient to success lay in the support of the U.S. Air Force, as promised, to supply the vital air cover for the men storming the beach. That support was withheld by President Kennedy and the effort was crushed. The result remains obvious.

Flash forward to April 2011. In the preceding month, President Obama declared his personal war on Libya, particularly its strongman ruler, Muammar Qaddafi, without bothering to consult Congress. Instead, he sent State Secretary Clinton and U.S. UN Ambassador Rice to the UN Security Council to get approval of his war. Reluctantly, the approval was granted by a slim margin, a number of states choosing not to vote.

The vague UN resolution was about establishing a no-fly zone and protecting the “people”…whatever that meant. The U.S. was the heavy hitter as the assault started on Libyans, notwithstanding that they, instead of being protected vis-à-vis the resolution, were being killed. It was sort of killing one set of Libyans to protect another set of Libyans, which, of course, makes no sense. The objective was to take out military installations, but bombs and missiles just kill anyone who happens to be hanging out at the wrong place.

Establishing the no-fly zone was a piece of cake, but that was never the actual objective, which was to get Qaddafi out of Libya, whether or not with his toes turned up, but with the latter as the best choice. Naturally, there had to be somebody to take charge when Qaddafi was hammered but nobody seemed to have thought of that. The “people” to be protected seemed to be those in Benghazi, but there was no leader and only a ragtag collection of militants who celebrated everything from a birth to a wedding by firing their guns in the air.

The action was essentially a unilateral one cooked up by the U.S. but could not appear to be such since that wouldn’t set well with the citizens, who understood that the U.S. was already up to its ears in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. UN-approval didn’t set well, either, since Obama had supplanted his own Congress with that collection of mostly U.S.-haters.

What to do? Shove the whole thing off on NATO, thus relieving Obama of the unilateral criticism, actually an empty gesture since the U.S. is the major player in NATO. Obama took care of that problem by withdrawing U.S. air support shortly after the bombardments had started, with the promise of more help if needed and air support such as furnishing refueling tankers for the planes of England, France and anybody else’s that wanted to pound Libyans to death in order to save the “people.”

Sound familiar? Withdrawn U.S. air-capability spelled doom for the Cuban exiles. Withdrawn U.S. air-capability regarding Libya set the NATO nations to arguing, some of them refusing to drop bombs on Libya and all of them refusing to put boots on the ground. This left the “people” (whoever they are) without the air support necessary to fighting Qaddafi, who in the meantime replaced his tanks and other exposed armaments with light armaments such as guns on pickups and, of course, parked them conveniently in towns, the natural result being NATO killing civilians in order to protect the “people.”

The U.S. pullout, planned though it was, amounts to a Bay of Pigs move, the “people’s” army being left with some light armament sent by Qatar, for instance, but unable to dislodge Qaddafi with it and fighting with undisciplined ragtag gunmen shooting in the air for most any reason and castigating NATO for not bailing them out. As for the weapons, no one knows who’s using them, probably al Qaeda or the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood gang. As for NATO, it has no stomach for the mess but will still keep flying and bombing…to save the “people.” The “people” are now stranded…like the Cuban exiles of 1961.

Did Obama think he needed his own war in preparation for the election in 2012? Bush started two, after all, and got reelected; however, neither would have happened without Congressional approval. Ah well…Libya – just 6.3 million population and with 92% of its land desert or semi-desert – was a nice place to start a war. Wonder what Obama’s exit strategy is? Only the Shadow knows.