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The Libyan Stale-Mate and the US Partisan Bickering

Hawkish John McCain, one of the first US Senators to call for intervention in Libya, now urges Washington to recognize the Libyan rebels as the country's only legitimate leadership.

Hazardous as it may sound - John "I Hate Those Gooks" McCain is, after all, known as a maverick and somewhat reckless - it is a clever play: Obviously American pre-Presidential Election strategizing has gotten mixed up with the Libyan stalemate.

Whether he can force Obama to commit one hundred percent, or he can later claim any level of failure was due to indecision and half measures on his behalf, McCain will come out squaky clean and look like a man of action - a good spokesman for whoever becomes the 2012 Republican candidate.

McCain says he fears a long-drawn stale-mate will cause Al Qaeda to gain strength in the civil war torn country, upon a visit to inspect "the troops" in Benghazi.

Earlier CIA reports state that the presence of Al Qaeda operatives or former Al Qaeda operatives is very small among the Libyan rebels, but there is little reason to rely on such intelligence.

The head of the U.S. military's Africa Command told Congress this month that it was the stated intent of al Qaeda's affiliate in the area to aid Libya's opposition.

Engaging USA in a Third War

France and Italy have already recognized the raggedy rebels as legitimate government of Libya, and Sarkozy says he wants to go to Benghazi too to meet up with McCain.

The absurdities don't stop there:

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, claims that Libyan ground forces have been degraded by "up to 40%". 

Anyone who knows marketing language - or basic mathematics - also knows that "up to something" can mean as little as nil. Anyone who remembers Iraq and Afghanistan, the early years, also remembers how one self-congratulatory and unduly optimistic official report followed the other.

The Libyan stalemate is quickly escalating into the next big quagmire for the USA, eager to regain initiative in a world, where it is publicly losing its grip on the world and its ability to promise or enforce Pax Americana.

That means USA is stretched on three fronts.

The Libyan Army

Anyone who has actually seen photos of the Libyan rebels will also understand that even as much as 40% is 40% of something, namely one of the best equipped and capable forces in Africa, largely due to a combination of strict discipline and Western weaponry generously provided at affordable prices, when Gadaffi was in Washington's good graces as a blessed peacemaker in the war against terrorism.

The full force of the Libyan Army is about 119,000 soldiers, so 40% of that - the generous estimate - sets the remaining force at roughly 47,600. There is little reason to believe the estimate, and there is little reason to believe that large and significant swarms of Ghadaffi loyalists have crossed over to the rebel side.

The coalition force intervention - that much is true - pretty much saved the rebel forces from crushing defeat.

Other than this, the truth is that there is no easy road to victory. However much you sympathize with the cause, and however much you hold the rebels in regard for their uprising against Gaddafi, the only way to make this a win is to set the table for war.

There is very little change Obama will risk a new polarizing war right up to the election and with a huge budget deficit and a negative trade balance to worry about, unless he can secure a quick, unequivocal win within the next 6-10 months.

Compromise is the solution

Again, compromise comes into play: Unconfirmed reports state that Washington has vowed 25 million in support to the rebels. It will take time for them to consolidate and raise a proper army out of the raggedy bunch of heavily armed amateur fighters waving from their civilian vehicles as they ride into battle and right out at the first sight of coordinated military opposition.

The rest of it? That is not war as an extention of politics, but war as an instrument of partisan positioning. Ultimately, it does not make a difference if Washingon acknowledges the rebels or not at this point. That doesn't make them better fighters.

It's either wait it out, keep pressure on Gadaffi long enough to raise a proper ground force, or move in with thunderbolts and lightning and swiftly depose of him, and be home in time to reap the accolades. The last thing is not an option. That's why McCain suggests it.

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