What a sad disappointment this must be for the anti-war left. Despite Obama's campaign promise to end the war in Iraq and his August 2010 declaration that the war was over, tens of thousands of U.S. troops remain and the violence continues. This week, the death toll in Iraq continued to rise as at least 57 Iraqis died in a terrorist attack in Tikrit.
And now Libya.
In his March 22nd news conference in El Salvador, President Obama promised that the Libyan operation would be "limited in time, scope, with a well-defined mission." Yet, we learn that Obama has broadened U.S. involvement by sending in CIA agents:
CIA Deploys to Libya as White House Authorizes Direct Assistance to RebelsIt's bad enough that Defense Secretary Gates suggested the Administration was making it up as they went along in Libya, but Obama's decision to send in CIA agents, is only the next step in expanding the Libyan operation to that wider conflict and U.S. involvement that Obama promised it would not become.
The move could be the first step toward giving aid to the opposition rebels.
By Yochi J. Dreazen and Marc Ambinder
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The CIA has sent more than a dozen covert operatives to Libya as part of an escalating U.S. effort to vet the rebels working to oust Libyan strongman Muammar el-Qaddafi and lay the groundwork for funneling American aid to the insurgents, according to a person with direct knowledge of the CIA operations there.
The CIA’s deployment to Libya, which is virtually certain to expand in the coming days, comes amid word that President Obama has authorized U.S. intelligence agencies to provide direct assistance to the Libyan rebels. There are no U.S. military personnel on the ground in Libya yet, though the United Kingdom, America’s closest battlefield ally, has several dozen Special Air Service commandoes and M16 agents already operating there. News of the CIA deployments to Libya was first reported by The New York Times and then independently confirmed by National Journal.
The CIA operations inside Libya highlight the delicate balancing act that the Obama administration is facing when it comes to the U.S.-led military intervention there. Obama has been adamant that there will be no U.S. military "boots on the ground" inside Libya, and U.S. Special Operations personnel in nearby countries have been placed on high-alert but not yet deployed, according to military officials familiar with the matter.
I'm reminded of the letter Speaker of the House John Boeher (R-OH) sent to President Obama a week ago where he said that Obama has "left some fundamental questions about our engagement unanswered."
Will Speaker Boehner be hailed by the anti-war left as the only person in high authority to dare and demand Obama answer the difficult questions regarding Obama's war in Libya? Don't bet on it. But the truth remains that Obama is sliding step by step towards a wider conflict in Libya without any well defined plan.