Before American involvement in NATO’s attack on the Gadhafi regime began, the administration insisted there would be “no US boots on the ground” in Libya. That promise has been stretched under the presence of CIA agents, but today the first publicly admitted uniformed American soldiers are now in fact on the ground, boots and all.
Fox News reports four unidentified troops are in Tripoli to secure the US Embassy, which may be booby-trapped, officials say. They are working under the aegis of the State Dept., and are not part of any military operation, said Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby. But they are armed.
It’s “no big deal,” former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton told Fox. “You need this kind of expertise to make it safe for diplomats to return.” In March, Bolton, a well-known neocon cheerleader for Bush’s wars, thought that the president hadn’t attacked Libya fast or hard enough, saying he’d unilaterally strike without anyone’s approval.
Shortly after the NATO attack began it was reported CIA agents had been in that country for weeks; the agency has had a role throughout the war. It’s not clear how long the latest troops will remain. For their part, top rebels have rejected any kind of foreign military deployment in the country.
The Obama administration appears determined to redefine many aspects of war as non-war. Heavily-armed soldiers in Iraq — who actively bomb and shoot targets — are reclassified as “advise and assist” forces, the war declared “over.” The war in Libya, Obama argued, was not a war at all because of the US’ “limited” activities there. The president now seems to be playing games with the definition of “troops” itself.