America Joins Conflict in Libya: Operation Odyssey Dawn

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 authorizing “all necessary means” except an invasion to enforce a no-fly zone and “protect civilians” in Libya.  China, Russia, Germany, Brazil and India abstained from the vote.  The UN Security Council:

Authorizes Member States…to take all necessary measures…to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya…while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.

Establish[es] a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians;

Authorizes Member States…to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights…

Fighter pilots and other American military members around the world are undoubtedly preparing for their eventual role in this conflict, which, like virtually every other conflict since Korea, remains politically controversial.  (For example, The Washington Times quotes then-candidate and Senator Barack Obama apparently contradicting his current actions as President.)

Ironically, Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi tried to paint this latest conflict as a Christian crusade against Muslims: 

Seeking to rally regional opinion to his side, the Libyan leader cast the military campaign as another example of Western colonialism and a Christian “crusader” mentality toward the predominantly Muslim countries of the Middle East…

The US has already hit Libya with hundreds of cruise missiles in the opening stages of what is apparently now Operation Odyssey Dawn.  The Associated Press has a rundown of the military materiel involved.  The US Air Force announced B-2 Spirits, F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16CJ Fighting Falcons (ie, Vipers) had participated in airstrikes.  Other reports indicate US Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers were also used.

General Norton Schwartz, US Air Force Chief of Staff, had previously said a “no-fly zone” would be “insufficient” and “too little, too late” to accomplish any desired end.  He did mention, however, the F-22 might be deployed to its first combat mission in Libya.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates seems to have largely agreed with the inefficacy of a simple “no-fly zone,” absent further military measures.

Politics aside, members of the American military will be placed in harm’s way again, at the behest of their nation.  Nothing is “free” nor “easy,” regardless of how a “no-fly zone” may sound.  War, in any form, remains an ugly business.

May God be with those who are even now answering their nation’s call in a new conflict.