Only half or less of Libya’s military equipment and headquarters facilities has been destroyed, despite nearly two months and thousands of airstrikes by the United States and other NATO aircraft.
This week, the horrific crisis in the besieged city of Misurata compelled Britain, Italy, and France to decide to send military advisers to the rebel leaders in Benghazi. The Europeans will assist the rebels in organizing their forces better. And a group of French lawmakers wants to send noncombat military specialists to Misurata to help rebels identify targets for NATO air attacks.
But such steps may not be enough as Qaddafi forces quickly make inroads in Misurata, ready to kill civilians who want an end to the Libyan leader’s rule. The rebels there are pleading for on-the-ground help from NATO.
But Mr. Obama opposes deploying either US combat forces or the kind of aircraft designed for close-in strikes on urban areas. The administration claims the US has limited resources and little strategic interest in Libya compared with Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen.