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War Machine Watch: Delusions of No-Fly Zone Without Bombing

Demonstrators hold up a banner featuring Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi reading 'Kadhafi is a murderer' as they stage a protest outside the Libyan embassy in Istanbul on February 21, 2011
Mustafa Ozer | AFP | Getty Images
Demonstrators hold up a banner featuring Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi reading 'Kadhafi is a murderer' as they stage a protest outside the Libyan embassy in Istanbul on February 21, 2011

Advocates of creating a no-fly zone over Libya continue to push the line that it can be done antiseptically, almost peacefully.

Douglas Barrie, an aerospace analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, denied Defense Secretary Robert Gates argument that the first step in creating a no-fly zone would be bombing Libya’s air defense installations.

"There's no hard-and-fast rule in the establishment of a no-fly zone that you have to go in and take out all of your opponents air defenses," Barrie is quoted as saying by the Guardian. "You say 'this is a no-fly zone and we don't want you to fly, and if you adhere to that everything is going to be fine, but if you fire at us then we will take retaliatory action'."

This seems to be a an attempt to lie us into war. No one in his right mind thinks Gaddafi is likely to just listen to an order from the United Nations or the United States. As a rule, no-fly zones get tested. What this seems to be is an attempt to lure international opinion into supporting a no-fly zone on the promise that it can be done without bombing, when in fact it will almost certainly result in bombing Libya.

It’s also extremely cavalier with the lives of our airmen. Sending planes to patrol a no-fly zone while Libya’s air defenses are intact would put them in extreme danger. It’s no wonder Gates is struggling to resist this.

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