Shock and Awe 2: US, France and Britain Pound Libya

Shock and Awe 2: US, France and Britain Pound Libya | Around 120 Tomahawk missiles fired at Libyan sites

France fired the first shots in the new war with Libya, but the Obama Administration was close behind, with US warships firing upwards of 120 Tomahawk missiles at targets inside Libya. The strikes came largely overnight, and exactly what they hit is largely unknown.

The reports however, suggest that at least some of the missiles hit civilian areas, and initial reports are that the attacks have killed at least 48 civilians and wounded 150 others.

Obama termed the attacks a “limited military action” officially, but the massive series of strikes suggests the administration is already going far beyond the “no-fly zone” mandate and is well on its way to demanding Iraq-style regime change.

Even Obama’s comments came with additional comments calling for Gadhafi to leave office, though he so far seems not to be explicitly linking to two. It seems incredible that, only days ago the administration was non-committal on the notion of a no-fly zone, and now is on board for full scale war.

The Gadhafi regime, for its part, appears to be preparing a defensive effort in Tripoli, with reports of thousands of civilians forming human shields around the Gadhafi compound in the capital. Officials have also suggested they intend to arm the West Libyan populace to resist any possible ground invasion.

Indeed, the footage on the evening of March 19, 2011 was eerily similar to the footage of March 19, 2003, when US forces were launching massive air strikes against targets inside Iraq as part of its “shock and awe strategy.”

Most unsettlingly, while praising the war in his appearance on CNN, retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (best known for his daring conquest of New Orleans in 2005) described the attacks in the same glowing terms pundits did that evening eight years ago, insisting that the show of overwhelming force would prove to Gadhafi that resistance was futile.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Disgusting.

    • Jan Burton

      Whether or not this is a liberation or an imperialist venture will ultimately be decided by the Libyan people.

      If they`re happy to have Ghadafi ousted and are supportive of US actions then the rest of the world is in no position to tell them that they`re wrong.

      • james

        I hate it when the western powers interfere but I agree with you 100%, it is for the libyan people to decide. Like the old Arabic adage goes, "He who has his hands in the fire is not the same as who has his hands in water".

        Once gain, this intevention is due to the complete failure of the Arab leadeship, they are totally impotent. They are only good enough at abusing their populations to stay in power.

        • NML

          It sounds to me like 'the Libyan people' just want to stay alive. As the old Arabic adage goes, "He who has his hands in the fire is not the same as he who has his hands in water."

          They are caught between Ghadafi and NATO, and the most recent reports tell of mounting civilian casualties from NATO's shock & awe "liberation team".

      • bob35983

        "If they're [the Libyan people are] happy … supportive of US actions … the rest of the world is in no position to tell them that they're wrong".

        Really? What about MY concerns (as an American) over the power unilaterally exercised by the Executive? What about further erosion of MY Constitutional procedures & protections? What about the cost at a time of fiscal insanity? Why do the needs of Libyans trump any argument?

        What a crock of shit this all is. Ghadafi essentially got away with murdering Americans (Pan Am bombing) but NOW he has to go because he is killing "his own" people. Meanwhile our "friend" in Yemen is sniping protesters by the dozens & The American Emperor himself just provided another massacre in Pakistan.

        It was a black day indeed when Congress cravenly let Truman use the UN as a means to get away with the Korean War.

        • NML

          It sounds to me like 'the Libyan people' just want to stay alive. As the old Arabic adage goes,"He who has his hands in the fire is not the same as he who has his hands in water."

          They are caught between Ghadafi and his henchmen and NATO's 'shock & awe'. And the civilian casualties are mounting.

        • geo1671

          bob35983 ·– dIg a little bit in Pan Am bombing and you'd find MOSAD/MI5/CIA a tankerfullofsh!t (the Ghadafi essentially got away with murdering Americans )

  • Jan Burton

    The best-case scenario here now be for Ghadafi`s forces to be shaken up by the airstrikes and then defect en mass.

    Just as Ghadafi turned the tide in the past week or so, things could easily tilt back the other way now. His forces simply are not used to this kind of attack. Most have probably seen no combat at all, with only a few being around for Libya`s last war (in Chad, 1980s).

    There is already word that his forces are pulling back from Misrata and that there has been a massive defection in Zintan. If these trends continue, there might not be any need for large-scale bombing and that enough people will switch sides for this end sooner rather than later.

    I don`t like the idea of western military intervention in any foreign country, but if these bombings can avoid high levels of civilian casualties and serve to inspire defections and desertions among the regime`s military then it could well be worth it.

    Hoping for the best….

  • Jan Burton

    We can be sure that there ARE western troops in Libya this very moment.

    Given the sensitive nature of such campaigns when it comes to PR and civilian casualties, there are definitely special forces guiding in these air strikes with laser target-designators.

    It`s strange to see the US back this revolution. Allowing Ghadafi to crush the rebels would have served as a string example to other dictators in the region (many of them pro-US) and would have represented the first major defeat for the uprisings.

  • CycleGuy

    120 missiles at 500,000 each is 60 million.
    Hmmmm what could we do with 60 million that might be more productive/valuable for the US.
    How about building at least 1 new health clinic for basic care in each state.

    Nothing fancy mind you just basic nursing care blood tests etc.

  • lydia476

    Another 'coalition of the dummies' destined to morph into another monumental disaster. How does monitoring a 'no fly zone' become a blitzkreig/air raid with France, Britain, the US even Canada rushing to put its two bits into what is nothing more than a beat up to steal Libyan oil. Why no 'no fly zone over Gaza' after 65Y of Israeli illegal occupation, mass murder and suppression. What about support for Bahrain or Yemen protestors.

    • curmudgeonvt

      Ha. I bet there wouldn't be ANY problem getting the Arab world to line up behind a "no-fly-zone" over Gaza. I wonder how the Israelis would respond to that one. Talk about theater. But I know the USG would never dis the Israelis like that. Cowards.

  • marty

    I think that now is the time to put together some type of libertarian-progressive coalition to oust Obama. There's got to be more people like me out there who are so ticked off they'll cooperate with anyone. I say we adopt the Move On model. Have Paul people invite Kucinich people to house parties and try to work out a common platform at the local level. No "leaders" making deals. We can do it.

    • curmudgeonvt

      Why stop at just Obama? Why not oust ALL the sitting Congresscritters? You surely don't think Obama does this stuff on his own, do you? Why not oust all those Senators & Reps who called for the no-fly zone? What about all those non-electeds like the CFR and other think tanks who hold Security clearances – you know, the EXPERTS – who have been pushing for intervention and invasions. Pull the clearances of these people and clean house because they're obviously not providing any good advice.

  • Tom

    Are we being deceived once more. ? A no-fly zone in order to assist the anti-Gadhafi uprising and assure a more even balance of power, would have been acceptable and was in fact also requested by the opposition. The regime change has to come from the Lybians themselves. I think however that for the time being a ground invasion of the country is unlikely to happen. The current ‘shock and awe’ attacks are wrong and counterproductive, especially when more innocent civilians are being killed. They will generate and strengthen support for Gadhafi, who may then subsequently resort to a guerrilla war of resistance. But may be this is what the West wants and is aiming for, because if Gadhafi cannot be defeated this way; the US/Nato may well have to employ ground forces to invade the country. Protracted wars are always in the interest of western powers and the MIC.

  • Sean

    Oh hell, we're paying for it, so we might as well enjoy it. Only the brain dead can enjoy life in Amerika, so why should we worry that the whole rotten edifice will crumble soon?

  • Guests

    Ms. Clinton you do understand that we know that you have began to share the world Oil producing countries among what is called “world power” and using religious as your primary tool to obtain the economic and manpower needed for future wars. You use the word “World Power” which is laughable because 8 countries can not be the world power.., unless all other countries are occupied by US and EU militarism power.., yet you using the fraise to scare people which we call it the social psychological warfare.., In social political terms you and your colleagues doing everything possible to keep US militarism regime busy by starting another long war.., this time with Libya.., The terms “Nation Building” which doesn’t make the democrats politics any different then George W. Bush.., except that Bush with allies did attack Iraq using a falsified reason.., regarding Libya although is not about “Nation Building” because Libya is a nation; however.., you using the Muslim brotherhood in Libya to create yet another Islamic fundamentalist.., this time in Northern Africa which in terms and conditions is a nation building assuring Eastern Libyan oil to be US and EU to share.

    Like your predecessor Ms. Madeline Albright.., the US and British killed over a million babies and the killing did continued while the invasion of Iraq started.., the irony here is that all that killings was done under a falsifications now you are doing the same thing in Libya with exception that this time French are on board playing the French way killing Libyans.., the other thing that is different is the fact that this time you using the Islamic Card as your husband was doing before Balkan war accusing Serbian government killing sunny Muslim in Kosovo while Sunny Muslims were killing Serbian people.., in Iraq it was Saddam a sunny killing Shiite and vice versa.., this time you using the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt to Libya creating a Islamic nation or for Libya to be divide where Muslim Brotherhood will be the ruler in eastern Libya.., dividing Libya and its wealth.. Now you have entered another war which could become a very long one.., which might threaten Europe as well as entire middle east.., here I am sure Israel is thanking you very much for making it possible for Arabs national start killing each other while Netanyahu stealing Palestinians land calling it settlements. President Obama and Ms. Clinton.., when it comes to justice and democracy.., first think you should do is prosecute those who started the Iraq war even if it would be the “Curve ball”, a man who fold the biggest and most secretive secret agency in the world making its government to believe that Saddam hade WMD and you believed in that lie and voted for war with Iraq. In 2011 you are doing the same attacking Libya.., this war is nothing but democrats war believing that they should do something contributing to the idea of “Nation Building“, which by the way was introduced by Paul Wolfowitz and I am sure you know who he is. Having said that.., President Obama and Ms. Secretary I need to ask you.., for last 60 years USA been at war with many nations, most on the bases of falsified reasons and documentations.., in 2011 US entering yet another war and my question is.., when would that stop.., when would people be able to consider US as peace loving country or a system or do they need think that US is nothing but a militarism regime doing what it dose best keep fighting and killing people.., Now if the international court of law wants to do any justice its need to prosecute those who have committed war crime like George W. Bush and Netanyahu of Israel or Hennery Kissinger for his role in Chili and Viet Nam.., those who committed the killings of millions elsewhere or the daily killings of innocent children in Afghanistan.., here in Libya no evidence of crime been presented nor is proven that Libyan Government is as brutal as US army is in Afghanistan or was in Iraq.., so why would ICC threatening Kaddafi in something that not been done.

  • Ira7Epstein

    And Obama was suppose to be the peace candidate! Peace candidate, my ass! Obama has dragged all of us into another Middle Eastern war, and in the process is murdering alot of innocent men, women, and children. Obama should be hanged as a war criminal.

  • Jan Burton

    The US is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    Stay out and they’re criticized for watching another Rwanda, Sarajevo, Srebrenica etc.

    Intervene and they’re imperialist monsters out to steal oil.

    And it’s usually the same people with both complaints.

    • Nick Mulgrave

      I completely agree with you. Yes the US truly is damned…

      • Valerianus

        Damned by its own hypocrisy and warmongering blood lust.

    • NeilH

      No-one is saying do nothing. How about supporting human rights and not supplying weapons to the Libyan government. The rebels have been fighting for over a decade so there is nothing new here. Or we could refuse to support their oil industry whose proceeds are used to purchase weapons. Anti-war advocates are not damning if we do or damning if we do nothing. We support dictators and authoritarian regimes and then pretend disgust when it's convenient.

    • curmudgeonvt

      So tell me Jan Burton, If i criticize you for not providing housing for the homeless in your town are you going to rush down there and spend money building houses for them – even if you don't have the money? No. You'll tell me to piss off because it's not your job and you cant afford it. So…

      So tired of weak straw-man arguments. It's like listening to Faux News.

      It is none of our business what happens in Libya. If Ghaddafi kills them all, then he kills them all. Eventually he'll make a mistake and some Libyan will take restitution. But we have no business being/meddling there. WE ARE NOT THE WORLD'S POLICEMAN.

      • Jan Burton

        I agree with you.

        I would let the Libyan sort it out themselves as well (no matter how many die).

        But either way the USA will be blamed.

  • Offenbach

    When did the U.S. Congress vote to go to war against Libya?

    • Valerianus

      Congress is irrelevant these days, but it's also worth remembering that that pack of Caligula's pets would never vote against any opportunity to go to war.

    • Mr. Raven

      Exactly and where are the Constitution loving tea partiers to express outrage at this violation of the Constitution?

      Article One Section 8, look it up for yourself.

  • jeff_davis

    As always, it's about money. A hundred and twenty Tomahawk cruise missiles at a million dollars a pop. They'll have to be replaced. Then of course, reduce much of Libya to rubble, so that the Libyan puppet leadership after Ghaddafi can sell a whole bunch of oil at cut rate prices, and spend whatever proceeds they do get, to western construction companies to rebuild the place. Hallelulah Halliburton and Bechtel.

    Same old same old. Murder and armed robbery.

    And you thought that "no fly zone" was some kind of relatively benign air patrol.

  • Doug_in_Indiana

    It appears to me that quite a queue of presidential/prime ministerial candidates is forming for the next Nobel Peace prize. One would of course need to be a principal in at least one good war to qualify. Mind you, Mr. Obomber will not be in the running since he is probably first in line for the next Economics prize, so the competition will not be as stellar as it was last year. If all of the Middle East – North Africa difficulties were not so serious for a lot of decent people I would be laughing myself silly just watching these donkeys perform.

  • googoomuck

    Hope we didn't hit any Israel y paid mercenaries .

  • David

    Why is America's response to almost every situation to start spilling blood?

  • Cal Engime

    ‎"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." – Barack Obama, http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials

    "I do not believe that the President can take military action — including any kind of strategic bombing — against Iran without congressional authorization." – Hillary Clinton, http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials

  • andy

    If Gadaffi really wanted to piss the US off he should have stepped aside and allowed real elections, if the US and west hate one thing, it's free and fair elections in the middle east, they've been blocking them for close to 100 years.

  • Edward

    I think those missiles carry depleted uranium.

  • Liveload

    Here we go again.

  • rogerpaul

    If it were upto the people at antiwar, we would be living in either the Gross Deutsche Kaiserdom, or the Greater Asian Co prosperity Sphere, with the US an isolated island.
    There are moments when the world must intervene and this is clearly one of them. Iraq and Afghanistan were invasions with no support.
    Have you seen anti war demonstrations on the streets like in March 2003?
    Have you not seen the people in Libya begging for intervention?
    To be pacifist no matter what the circumstances is intellectually shallow and selfish.
    People like Gaddafi understand only one language–force.

    • bob35983

      Straw-man arguments. Let us set aside the intellectually shallow thinking about WWII that neglects to recall Congressional Declarations of War – or that any foreign nation has the logistical means to mount an armed invasion – or maintain an occupation …

      It is not pacifism to be alarmed at the amount of war-making capability under the control of one person. No single person should have the authority to unleash the American war machine. No person outside my representatives should have claim to use the American war machine.

      Give me a break. I'm the one stuck with the bill in the end.

    • Shane

      I think those 198 dead and wounded people hit by tomahawk cruise missiles would strongly disagree. But hey, it's not about them, right? It's about the US and European governments playing hero and saving the world.

      Well, who's gonna save the world from them?

  • Wootie Berster

    Hmm. One of our problems is the conceit that this is an American Empire. It is not. "Globalism" sells to many because of the fantasy that this is merely the expression of American imperialism. Should "the people" (does such a thing really exist? Or are there many, many isolated factions spread over a large terrain?) finally discover that this belated attempt to reestablish a neo-Feudalist, rentierist, financier oligarchy–a pseudo aristocracy–which is fundamentally opposed to everything the ideal America stands/stood for.. will it not be far too late to do anything about it? The famed revolution of 1776 was never over. The "aristos" have never stopped trying to kill the revolution. They seem finally to be succeeding–with the active cooperation of those who have been lured into the fantasy of power.. sort of a huge ego-trip at the faux-national level.

  • geo1671

    Stop bashing DaffyDuck, this uprising in the middle east was NOT folks getting fed up with Dicktators/Noble Kings–Pipeline in Afghastan has gone sour, EU needs oil ca$h–Libyia has the solution–lot's and lots of oil–cause the North Sea oil well is bone dry. Daffy was being played like a fiddle–nice boy,we love you kissie kissie and then slam bang
    Got to see this : Nigel Farage: EU has no legitimacy or consent to take military action

  • As a matter of fact it resembles much more the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 aka "Allied Force", except that this time the PR campaign wasn't that extensive, since the aggressors now kill under the UN flag.

    French "Le Monde" published a review of how the Westerners' attack was perceived in Arab newspapers. In Tunisia, bitter hostility towards Imperialism, in Algeria, almost the same tone but they managed to find one newspaper that wasn't hostile, in the Emirates, they're applauding.

    Are there still people who believe it's a "humanitarian" bombardment?

  • Alan MacDonald

    It is hard to believe that neither the supposedly well read Obama, the purported 'talking-head pundits', nor the NYT's experienced war cheerleaders are saying anything about the clear analogy between the 1990's PNAC plans that led to the 2003 Iraq war of aggression, and Thomas Barnett's 2004 book and plans for "The Pentagon's New Map" which is the similarly clear precursor to this expanded "GAP" war only starting in Libya.

    "This whole plan is based on Tom Barnett's 2004 explosive and heavily studied by CIA/MIC book "The Pentagon's New Map" — in which the entire swath of countries he calls the "GAP" are to be absorbed into the "OLD CORE" (which is the Western empire), and to be prevented from falling under the influence of the "NEW CORE" (easy to guess — BRIC).

    The geo-strategic plan is an up-dated version of the 1990's PNAC plan that precipitated the Iraq and Afpak wars — but now expanding to include N. Africa, all Middle East, and South Central Asia.

    This is a MUCH bigger and more carefully planned global war map for the current global Empire (politely called the "CORE" rather than 'Empire') to engage in during the 2011 to 2020 time-frame.

    Anyone who does not include in their research and analysis Barnett's "The Pentagon's New Map" is woefully underestimating the breadth, depth, and scope of this plan to expand from Iraq and Afpak wars to the full "GAP" (from Tunisia through Libya, Egypt, the whole Middle East, and all the way to the Chinese and Indian boarders).

    As Cheney was infamous for saying, this is "BIG TIME" for the global Empire — and must be stopped before it precipitates WWIII."

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine
    Liberty over violent empire — People's Party

  • RickR30

    Sickening.

    Is there are way to impeach the Obamination of Desolation AND his entire government? For once we need to follow the example of a European country, Belgium, and disolve the government, indefinetly.