Washington, D.C.–To the relief of all opposed to America’s involvement in yet another overseas conflict, President Barack Obama made a statement during air strikes on Libya that there will be “no boots on the ground.”
But more than a handful of sources say otherwise, and one of those sources is a Marine Special Operations Regiment soldier who is being sent to fight in the nation of Libya, where an unprecedented revolution is underway.
I spoke to a Marines Special Forces Lieutenant Friday who asked not to be named. He told me that in August, he will be sent to Libya.
“We’re going in, to . . . find something,” he said, shaking his head.
His eyes fell to the floor and bounced up and over my shoulder, and then into his clasped, wringing hands.
“Are you nervous?” I asked.
He stroked his stubble with one hand and with the other reached for a pitcher of beer.
“Yes,” he replied. “Very.”
He said he would soon be commanding troops throughout covert skirmishes and desert-crawling that no one will ever know took place.
The United States has returned Armed Drones to battle following NATO’s inability to stay on certain targets in Libyan air space.
Defense Sec. Robert Gates was asked during a Pentagon briefing, “Are we witnessing mission creep here? Are we going to just keep doing one slice of salami at a time as the U.S. gets further and further reinvolved in this operation?”
“No, I don’t think so. I think that the president has been firm, for example, on boots on the ground. And there is no wiggle room in that that certainly I’ve been able to detect in his views. This is a very limited capability. He said from the outset that where we had unique assets that could contribute, we would do that. I think this is a very limited additional role on our part, but it does provide some additional capabilities to NATO. So no, I don’t think there’s mission creep at all.”
The young soldier went on: “Now, I told you this only because you said you wouldn’t tell anybody,” he said.
“You won’t say anything, right?” The Lieutenant looked regretful, because he knew I was a reporter. Yet somehow, his eyes told me he wanted the world to know, but for no one to know it was him who leaked the details. He seemed to want justice; justice which might prevent more of his buddies going needlessly into war. He spoke to me, like many others before him, on the condition of anonymity.
“People don’t realize what’s going on,” he explained. “We’re already in there, we’ve been there, we’re going there and we’re probably going to stay there. We rotate out, and right back in, just like anywhere else. But I don’t know what my orders are. They say we’re just going to find out what’s going on, so we know what to do next.”
Chronicle.SU correspondent and Washington Insider, Tyler Bass, had the chance to ask Colin Powell why President Obama said we don’t have boots on the ground, when we already have special forces and CIA in Libya.
Tyler Bass: “How are you, General? So recently White House Spokesman Jay Carney has repeatedly said there are no boots on the ground in Libya. So has Barack Obama, but we have reports from the New York Times and other outlets saying in fact that there are, as well as CIA, which I guess is ‘shoes on the ground,’ right?
So why is – why is Barack Obama saying this? Why is Carney saying it? Or are they not aware, which I think is really unlikely? Or why are they saying it?”
Colin Powell: “They’re obviously aware of what’s going on, but what they meant by ‘no boots on the ground’ is that we were not – (off mic) –ground war – (off mic) – sending in our combat units – (off mic) – infantry or armor to fight these units on the ground, but to send in intelligence agents and –”
TB: “Or Special Forces.”
CP: “—or Special Forces –”
CP: “—they are not going to be actively involved in fighting either the government or the rebels, but obviously it’s a way of gathering intelligence and helping the rebels fight more effectively. So there may not be boots on the ground – (off mic) – shoes on the ground – (off mic) –
The 24-year-old said he has already fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this is the most anxious he has ever been leading up to military action.
Upon return home, he will make many tens of thousands of dollars for about three months of action, half of which will be spent training.
“We’ll train for six weeks,” he said, “Then we go in for six.”
John McCain is currently out on a high-profile rampage through revolting Arab nations, where he has stated the United States should give firepower, weapons training and air strikes to Libyan rebel fighters, calling them patriots who are certainly not connected to Islamic extremism or Al Qaeda.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration disagrees.
Carney said, “We think it’s for the people of Libya to decide who the head of their country is, not for the United States to do that.”
Philip Gordon, an American diplomat and high-ranking official in the State Department, said during a Pentagon briefing:
“I think it is important that we all support Mr. Khatib in his efforts, but also that we continue to talk among ourselves — that is to say, members of the broad international coalition that is working on the Libya issue — about what Libya’s political future might be, which, I want to underscore again, is really up to the people of Libya.”
“Oh. And whoever we send there and don’t tell you about,” said Tyler Bass. “I don’t want to sound alarmist or anything here, but they’re conditioning everyone for the ground invasion they say isn’t coming but eventually will.”
In other news, Obama has declared Pvt. Bradley Manning guilty before trial.
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