Two U.S. F-15 fighter jets carried out an airstrike in northwestern Libya early Friday that destroyed what the Pentagon described as a Islamic State training camp for several dozen foreign fighters and a senior terrorist operative, U.S. officials said.So, a “success.” And if I were in Obama's position I might have authorized this attack as well; who could stand back while the Islamic State prepared a major attack into Tunisia or some other country?
“We obliterated the camp,” said a U.S. official who discussed the raid on condition of anonymity. “We're still assessing the casualties at this point, but we hit what we were aiming at.”
“We feel confident that this was a successful strike,” Peter Cook, the Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. “These particular fighters posed a threat to interests in the region, to Libya, and to the United States overall.” . . .
U.S. drones and spy satellites had spent weeks focusing on the walled compound outside the coastal town of Sabratha, about 50 miles west of Tripoli, another official said. The aerial images, coupled with other intelligence, heightened U.S. concern that the militants were preparing to launch a cross-border attack.
The Sabratha Municipal Council, the local government, said on its website that at least 41 people were killed in the bombing, many apparently as they slept. The compound was rented by non-Libyans, including Tunisians, and machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were found in the rubble, the website said.
But I have to ask: what is the strategy here? Where is the legitimate government of Libya that we are intervening to support, and what is our plan for helping them? Who will be helped if our attacks “degrade” the power of the Islamic State? I don't have any better ideas, but I really think that the odd bombing raid is unlikely to stabilize the situation.