As we predicted, Dave is ratcheting-up the UK's involvement in Libya. We've now actually taken sides in what is a private civil war, and committed military assistance on the ground to the insurgents. As predicted, William Hague has obtained legal advice that this is all within the terms of Resolution 1973. And perhaps the potent words 'Military Advisors' have triggered the Telegraph, Mail and Guardian all to warn of a Vietnam-like mission creep.
Nonsense. Vietnam was a proxy war between the US and China. The West was terrified of the post-Dien Bien Phu south falling to the Communists. Eisenhower left Kennedy some 900 advisers in place in 1961; by 1967, when the war began in earnest, the US had some 18,000 troops in place. By 1973 there were over half a million. Libya is never going to be another Vietnam for the simple reason that Gaddafi has no backers.
No, think rather Biafra. When the Igbo in the East of Nigeria attempted to secede from the Yoruba dominated West in 1968, the Nigerian government, after a faltering start, had the means and organisation to crush the revolt fairly rapidly. Until, of course, the West's sympathy for the Igbo insurgents led it to intervene with supplies, medical aid and even arms, not to say implicit support for the ex-British Army mercenaries fighting for the insurgents. Although the end result was always going to be the same, with Nigeria crushing the revolt, our misplaced intervention cost an estimated 180,000 lives that could have been spared had we stayed out of it.
CMD might just wish to reflect on the cost in Libyan lives of his political principles.