2,200 Marines Go To Libya, 'What Happened to No Boots on the Ground'?

-By Warner Todd Huston

In all the reporting on the involvement of US Forces in Libya a report by WCTI Channel 12 News in New Bern, North Carolina seems to have gone by almost unnoticed. The News channel reports that 2,200 U.S. Marines have been shipped off the Libya. But doesn’t this deployment clash with Obama’s supposedly steadfast claim that there will be “no boots on the ground” in Libya?

On March 20 WCTI reported that the Marines were shipping out.

About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or 26th MEU will take part. Their mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people.

“In Libya right now they are doing exactly what we need them to do. They are doing what they are told and right now that’s protecting Libyan people against Qadhafi forces,” said Captain Timothy Patrick, a Marine with the 26th MEU.

So, what is it? Are there Marines in Libya or will there be “no boots on the ground”? If there are Marines there, what are they there for?

Just what is Obama’s plan? What is his strategy? Is there one?

One suspects that US ground forces will have to become engaged if anything solid is to happen in NATO’s engagement in Libya. And it seems like Obama is warming us up for that yet.

In a recent interview Obama used some artful spin on our involvement there. He said that the US is being “volunteered to carry out missions” in Libya. Volunteered? By whom?

And we will continue to support the efforts to protect the Libyan people, but we will not be in the lead. That’s what the transition that I discussed has always been designed to do. We have unique capabilities. We came in, up front, fairly readily, fairly substantially, and at considerable risk to our military personnel. And when this transition takes place, it is not going to be our planes that are maintaining the no-fly zone. It is not going to be our ships that are necessarily involved in enforcing the arms embargo. That’s precisely what the other coalition partners are going to do.

And that’s why building this international coalition has been so important because it means that the United States is not bearing all the cost. It means that we have confidence that we are not going in alone, and it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally. And we will accomplish that in a relatively short period of time. (emphasis added)

With the fact that one NATO ally has already pulled its troops from Libya, one has to wonder where this is headed for US forces?


Dan Riehl reports that an additional 400 Marines are headed to Libya, too.


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  • Hey, Mr. Public Forum
    Maybe before you post things like this, you should actually do some background research.
    1) The Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 26th, deployed in 2010, well before the Libyan Crisis. That's what MEU's do. They deploy on ships to serve as our quick response force. We did not deploy them specifically for Libya. The just happened to already be deployed on the USS Kearsarge, and we sent them there so we can have a quick response force in case something goes wrong (i.e. the pilots crashing)
    2) The United States does not have a single Marine on the ground. We have them on ships. Ready to strike. But not on the ground. So don't bother using the term, boots on the ground.
    3) NATO, specifically through the efforts of France, decided to institute a no-fly zone. The United States volunteered. yes. But look at how Obama, compared to so many other US presidents (Bush), took so long just to even think about a no-fly zone.

  • JLT, as much as it pains me to take my time to explain this to you, I hope that it helps you understand that devilboy42 is correct and it clears up a lot of issues with everyone else that reads this.

    There are not combat ground forces in libya right now.

    Here are your events.

    The 26 MEU deployed 3 months early in October of 2010 and hit the deck in afghanistan in january leaving the 26 MEU without a BLT(Battalion Landing Team or ground forces). That left the meditteranean with no security or reaction force(MEU) with the assests needed to accomplish their mission if given one.

    About three weeks ago a few companies of marines were sent to go replace the lost BLT that is currently in afghanistan to hold over the meditteranean until the 26 MEU can be activated and deployed properly(which is also leaving ahead of schedule)

    2,200 marines have not yet deployed to "libya" and they will not deploy to libya. I know this because i am one of the 2,200 that makes up the BLT for the 22nd MEU and because the 26th MEU is already in afghanistan.

    Check your god damn sources before posting some bull shit on this page.

    Any other questions?

  • They are wearing sandals, no boots this time :)

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