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BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY
ANCHOR JIM FLINK
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First, it was the U.K. Then France. And now, Italy -- three Western European countries have announced they are dispatching experienced military advisers to help Libyan rebels get organized.
And the concern on everyone’s mind: Is foreign intervention in Libya becoming a mission creep? That’s when military operations expand beyond its initial goal — in this case, that goal was protecting civilians. Here’s UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague with his defense.
“Everything we are doing is in line with the Security Council Resolution of 1973. That resolution authorized us and other states to take all necessary measures to protect the civilian population in Libya.”
But Fox News notes — sending military advisers sure makes it look like Western nations are taking sides in the Libyan conflict. And they weren’t supposed to, remember?
“Can you say mission creep? Because there is no war, remember? And we haven't taken sides, remember? European officials are now saying they are preparing armed forces to he escort humanitarian aid and planning to send a team of military officers to advise the rebels. The rebels, by the way, with whom we haven't taken sides.”
A writer for Wired wonders — could the move be the start of even more foreign boots on Libyan soil?
“...the Libyan rebels are already asking for more than [advisers]. … NATO’s air strikes haven’t stopped the loyalist attacks. … With a stalemate on the ground, the U.S., France and Britain explicitly announced on Friday … that the war will continue until Gadhafi is gone … The next step had to be some kind of aid on the ground.”
For perspective, the Guardian takes into account two previous so-called mission creeps — and notes the not-so-fortunate ways they ended.
“Such was the case in Vietnam, where President John F Kennedy's decision to increase the number of US ‘military advisers’ to the south Vietnamese regime opened the path to all-out war. … Mission creep struck again after the US intervened in Somalia in the early 1990s, producing another debacle.”
The BBC reports — for his part, Gaddafi’s foreign minister has warned sending advisers will only prolong the Libyan conflict, not help end it. In a quote, he urges for a cease fire.
“‘We think any military presence is a step backwards and we are sure that if this bombing stopped … we could have a dialogue among all Libyans about what they want - democracy, political reform, constitution, election. This could not be done with what is going on now.’”
Despite that statement, Gaddafi has yet to show any indication that he’s willing to step down.
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