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article imageOp-Ed: The smokescreen that is Libya

By Thomas Amshay     Apr 2, 2011 in Politics
Reuters reports that rebel forces fighting for the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gadaffi's administration claimed a Nato coalition air strike hit a rebel camp outside of Brega and killed at least ten.
Reuters report makes it seem thus far that the bombing may have been a NATO blunder orchestrated by Colonel Muammar Gadaffi's forces that sneaked into the area and fired anti-aircraft weapons into the air. They then quickly retreated knowing that Nato coalition planes would swoop in to destroy the source of the anti-aircraft fire. Bingo!
Problem is, the location NATO bombed was allegedly an encampment of "friendly" rebels that Nato is there to support. Smart tactics by Gadaffi forces or bad move by Nato? Who knows? For that matter who will ever know before the next bit of mayhem covers up this bit of mayhem.
In another twist Sky News reports that the Brega incident followed an earlier Libyan government claim that Western planes bombed a village nine miles from Brega and killed at least 12 civilians and wounded dozens more.
That attack exploded a truck carrying ammunition for Gadaffi forces. The blast also destroyed two nearby homes. To add one more twist to the saga, Sky News said that rebels said "It was their their aircraft that was flying that day."
It seems on the surface that rebels obviously wanted to take credit for blowing-up Gadaffi forces. But I've become so jaded that I find myself wondering if they aren't coerced by Nato into claiming the kill so Nato doesn't get a bad rap for making a(nother) mistake.
Sky editor Sam Kiley, reporting from Ajdabiya, said if the munitions truck bombing story is true, "It showed Nato was prepared to be highly flexible in its interpretation of the no-fly zone." You know, like, let rebels bomb Gadaffi forces while keeping Gadaffi planes grounded.
A trouble with war stories and claims of warring armies is it's become such a PR battle. It is hard to sort out which government to believe and which general is trying to protect their career or the cause for which they are fighting.
It seems there is so much smoke-screening that goes in when blunders occur that you can't tell what's-what.
The smoke is really thick and I can't see very well. My personal issue is the U.S. is over there and so that means the collective "we" are over there, too. I still don't know why. You? And what's that other place we used to talk about? Oh, yeah, Iran. Or no, I mean Afghanistan. Whatever happened to them?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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