April 07, 2011

The Heretical Question of the Day

Here's a question for NATO officials: far be it for me to stick up for the ethics and values of the fighting forces of Moammar Gadhafi, but your description of "using human shields" sounds a lot like what I used to understand as "fighting in and defending from urban terrain." Are we supposed to fault the fighting forces of the regime for taking cover and concealment within built-up areas when exposing themselves in the open terrain of the desert means getting thwacked by NATO close air support? When Libya's rebels defend from urban terrain in Misurata, are they too using human shields? I realize I am committing heresy by asking these questions, but if I put myself in the boots of a Libyan commander right now, I would probably be defending in the very way the Libyan commanders are currently going about their business: taking cover and concealment within urban areas, registering my mortars and artillery along known avenues of approach, and letting Libya's horrifically incompetent rebels conduct stupid, disorganized frontal assaults. I mean, given NATO air support and rebel incompetence, what else do you expect the regime's commanders in the field to do?