May 1, 2011  


For its contradictory and incoherent approach to the Libyan war. Since taking lead of the campaign, NATO leaders are struggling to present a united front. After some rebels were mistakenly killed in an alliance airstrike, Rear Adm. Russell Harding, the British deputy commander of the air campaign, insisted there would be no apology because the rebels did not inform the alliance they were using tanks. Soon after, however, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued a statement of regret. News then leaked that the NATO allies were running out of munitions — a statement shocking if true, but more likely a political ploy to pressure those NATO countries that have supplied little or no military contribution to the campaign. Next came the announcement that Britain, France and Italy would send in officers to advise and train the rebels. The numbers are tiny, so this move acknowledges that airstrikes alone won’t remove Col. Moammar Gadhafi and that putting anything beyond a token boots-on-the-ground force in Libya is a political no-go. Such incoherence only encourages Gadhafi to choose “Sitzkrieg,” which complicates and prolongs a campaign whose end-game is his removal.