Samstag, 23. April 2011

On Short Notice: Libya, Drones, Rumsfeld, The New Yorker and Other Random Stuff of a Saturday Morning

The Obama administration has finally realised that in order to, well, perhaps win in Libya it would need to involve itself a little more than it had so far, which, again, leads me to contend that there is something fundamentally wrong when the specific goal of military action is not winning, i.e. removing Qaddafi from power, but expressively not being in the lead. But anyway, the US has finally authorised the use of Predators, so the tide of the fighting is hopefully turning. But against that background it might be useful to look again into the short piece William F. Owen and A.E. Stahl published in Infinity Journal on the effectiveness of targeted killings. Their argument, in a nutshell, is that targeted killings work; that is, well, if enough enemy leaders are being killed. Which in turn brings me to highlight two issues. The first is that drones like the Predator were not designed for conventional battle even tough that is exactly the use they are supposedly being put to in Libya right now. Might it not be more effective, I humbly ask, to reintroduce heavier systems, like the AC 10? But secondly and certainly more importantly, it brings me back to my critical evaluation of the Obama administration's foreign policy. Far too often have, as David Kilcullen repeatedly and rightly pointed out, drones been used not as part of but as substitute for strategy. The Obama administration is gearing up to repeat that pattern in Libya and I am therefore mildly concerned.

For now its back to the desk. The current issue of the New Yorker is a lovely one and Donald Rumsfeld's "Known and Unknown" is a really and surprisingly good read.

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