20 more boots on the ground


              The decision to supply protective clothing and now to offer military advisers to the rebels in Libya is an important development  in the UK’s mission. This is more than operating a No fly zone, more than using high flying military intervention to prevent the Libyan  government using warplanes and tanks in open ground against Libyan people. This is offering military advice to just one side in a bitter dispute, which looks like a civil war to some outsiders.

               It would be wise to take the whole problem back to the UN and seek a review of the policy and the UN resolution. Is the UN satisfied with what has now been achieved in its name? What does the UN think should happen next? If more is to be done in the name of the UN, which other countries, preferably nearer to Libya than ourselves, might like to do it? The UN using NATO could stop tanks in open ground heading for the rebel city, but it cannot stop government troops from the air when they a embedded in  cities and towns.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    It is difficult to see what is likely to be achieved or indeed what is the final aim and why this is likely to prove better than the existing anyway.

    Indeed why this has anything to do with the UK at all. We are surely the last people to get involved for historical reasons.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    The behaviour of the TV in this needs investigation. Baby Mohammed and the shrapnel are paraded every hour. The reporting is quite obviously biased in the civil war between the brave rebels and horrible Colonel G with all his idiotic minions. We need to get drawn in. We need to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
    No, we do not. Libya is nothing to do with us. Their Civil War is nothing to do with us. Even in the days of Empire,it was run by Mussolini not us, so there is not even a shred of “guilt”. Why are we involved? We are just a broke little offshore island which has very recently cut most of its armed forces to ribbons.
    Palmerston lived a hundred and fifty years ago.

    • waramess
      Posted April 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I fully agree and can see absolutely no reason why the UK has become involved in this nonsense. This is a view shared by 11 MP’s.

      Is it all a dream?

      • APL
        Posted April 20, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        waramess: “Is it all a dream?”

        Well Mr Waramess, you nom de plume is entirely appropriate when describing the not dream but nightmare Cameron has got us into.

        But I wonder, was this a EU inspired initiative?

        Anyway, the French the British and the Americans were initially involved, the US seem to have withdrawn, that leaves the French to pull out shortly [ as they do ] leaving the UK with its very own ‘Vietnam’.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      You are too cynical: it is an important part of the media function to groom the population with stories set at a human level in order for them to appreciate a complex geopolital situation.Not everybody, otherwise, not even clever people like JR, will necessarily understand the need to expend our blood and treasure in another faraway place about which we know little. Babies? Incubators? Yes. Yellowcake? Dodgy dossiers? No.

  3. APL
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    JR: “The decision to supply protective clothing and now to offer military advisers to the rebels in Libya is an important development in the UK’s mission.”

    Mission creep.

    Parliament should arraign Cameron. This is a completely unnecessary war, there were no strategic British interests at stake. We had not been attacked.

    • waramess
      Posted April 20, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      As only 11 MP’s voted against how will parliament arraign Cameron?

      • APL
        Posted April 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        waramess: “As only 11 MP’s voted against ..”

        What they should do and what they will do are as we know two different things.

        But we the electors should make sure the actions of the warmongering bloodthirsty ‘honourable’ members are well remembered at when election time comes.

        By the way, who gives a rats backside about the voting system? We were promised a vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink


    Your comments contain much commonsense as usual.

    We have now chosen to support one side only.

    Forward air controllers on the ground next ?

    We are getting sucked in further and further, while others (closer to the conflict) who should be helping out, appear to be standing back and looking on from the sides.

    What happens when/if the rebels start to attack Tripoli and put that population at risk in a long drawn out battle ?

    • norman
      Posted April 20, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      We’ll then start to help the civilian population of Tripoli and drive the rebels back. Reminds one of the old joke – the operation was a complete success, unfortunately the patient died.

      Seriously though, if Gadaffi does go who will supervise Libya to ensure that the ‘rebels’ do not start killing and torturing the ‘Empire’ civilians/former soldiers/former secrect police? Or are some animals more equal than others? And how will the rebel forces, flush with success, feel about their country being run by the UN?

  5. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Effective close air support cannot be given without forward controllers. I suppose that’s the sort of training that might be given.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Do you still think it is wise for Parliament to be a no talk zone on Libya? There is a blatant dishonesty about all of this and MPs are complicit in it as long as they give the government free rein to follow their overseas adventures.

  7. oldtimer
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron appears to be playing this like a gambler – raising his stake on each round of betting. Ostensibly humanitarian reasons are the justification. But this is unlikely to be the real reason. More likely it is to secure access to Libyan oil once this is over – and for that he needs to be on the winning side. This is a very dangerous game he is playing because the UK lacks the firepower and the money to be a decisive player. Parliament should be recalled and this foreign policy venture should be curtailed.

  8. Peter
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Cameron is going to get the war he wanted and helped to start. Why is that as soon as we have a new prime minister he has to either start a new conflict or escalate an existing one?

  9. acorn
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Difficult to know how many bullets Gadfli has got left; who will be re-arming him? Strong chance they will come via Algeria and the other Sahel countries. We don’t have a lot of friends there since the US war on terror in north Africa. (It got to the point where the US could not tell the real terror groups from the fake ones they had invented, to justify getting into the oil and uranium fields).

    We don’t know a tenth of what various governments and their spooks have done in that region in the name of light sweet crude. It also gives you a clue, at this anniversary of the GOM oil spill; why American oil supply companies rarely get prosecuted for anything; and, why “BP” became British Petroleum again at the White house.

  10. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink


    I believe that “military advisers” were first sent into Viet Nam under the Eisenhower administration. Those numbers increased under the Kennedy administration. After his assassination we saw approximately 12 years of conflict and the deaths of 58,000 U.S. military personnel.

    Don’t political leaders read history books these days?

  11. Stuart Fairney
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm…. advisers on the ground and military supplies to one side, but no troop deployments. What utter disaster does that remind me of? Oh yes, Vietnam where Eisenhower had 900 “advisers” on the ground.

    If I may quote Kennedy (sic) “to introduce U.S. forces in large numbers there today, while it might have an initially favorable military impact, would almost certainly lead to adverse political and, in the long run, adverse military consequences.”

    The lesson from history is clear for anyone with the courage to look and the brain to see.

    Words fail me. Are we not engaged in enough pointless hairbrained adventures without this?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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