Are US caveats in Libya operation prolonging the conflict?

A rebel fighter celebrates as his comrades fire a rocket barrage toward Gaddafi forces west of Ajdabiyah, Libya, April 14, 2011.

From the Editors of the Washington Post:  Each time he addresses the war in Libya, President Obama seems to contradict himself. After a meeting Wednesday with British Prime Minister David Cameron, the president was supportive of Mr. Cameron’s declaration that “the president and I agree that we should be turning up the heat in Libya.” “The more effective the coalition is in rallying all the resources that are available to it,” Mr. Obama said, the more “we’re going to be able to achieve our mission in a timely fashion. . . .”

But immediately after acknowledging that more resources are needed, Mr. Obama talked down the prospect of “additional U.S. capabilities,” saying “there are going to be some inherent limitations to our airstrike operations.” He added: “There may be a false perception that there are a whole bunch of secret super-effective air assets that are in a warehouse that could just be pulled out and that would somehow immediately solve the situation in Libya. That’s not the case.”

In fact no one we know of is making that claim — much less Mr. Cameron or French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose appeals for help Mr. Obama is ignoring. What the allies are seeking is no secret: eight or so U.S. AC-130 and A-10 planes, weapons that exist only in the American arsenal and that are ideal for the close ground-support operations that are much needed in Libya.   (photo: Getty)

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