Joint Chiefs Chairman: Libya Is A Stalemate

Ben Smith picks up on this statement by Admiral Mike Mullen that the rest of the media seems to have missed:

QUESTION: I wanted to ask you about the NATO campaign in Libya, if you think that it’s winnable as it is now, and what’s the latest on whether or not the U.S. will arm the TNC to help push them over the – over to win?

ADM MULLEN: There’s – best to my knowledge, there’s no decision to arm the [Transitional National Council] TNC on the part of the United States. And secondly, I think, as I’ve said in the past, in the end this is a – the political outcome is the one that is – is the one that we see. Certainly, I have been impressed with what NATO has done here, how fast it got together with the pressure that it’s brought on Qadhafi. It’s dramatically attritted his forces, his major forces. That said, there’s still plenty of challenges associated with the regime forces who have adjusted – that’s not a surprise – adjusted to the opposition tactics, and we are generally in a stalemate. Although with the strikes over time, Qadhafi’s forces are continuing to be attritted and additional pressure has been brought.

In the long run – and I think the recognition of TNC was a big deal, and there are a lot of countries working to try to support them in their effort. And in the long run, and I don’t how long that is, but in the long run, I think it’s a strategy which will work with respect to the removal of Qadhafi from power.

Remember when we were told it would be a matter of “days, not weeks” ?

FILED UNDER: Africa, US Politics, World Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. John Peabody says:

    Yes, I remember….all too well. The White House really was sounding “okay, were behind this one”, but it just didn’t work as expected. Hmmm, an unexpected result…who’d have thought it?

  2. Edvard M says:

    Mullen and Obama both said Libya was a stalemate back in April.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    American casualties: zero.

    Chance of Gaddafi surviving: nearly zero.

  4. Xora says:

    @michael reynolds: @michael reynolds:
    Ideals in our United Nationed World should be to “fight issues” in a Strong and Fair UN Court (even within the rules of having ‘Veto” rights and ‘Permanent Members” No such things as UN Resolutions eg 1973 where countries are given rights to simply use their big guns to blast away everything of the poor little folks/Countires. These big bullies, like all bullies like to fight with proxies or robots/drones so that they are not hurtable. (unfortunately, these little folks are just as innovatives, their anger, frustrations, resolute against ‘unfairness’ and servival instinct drove them to fight a different Unconventional war which we call Terriroism, The invent sucide bombs, stleath soldiers, and ieds…(of course we shout foul), they use religions, race , ultruism to streghten their lots)
    Totality of this all is that American casualties:zero, Gaddafi”s surviving may be poor , but he may unleash his people to fight in the home ground of the Americans, some Nato countries,
    Woe to us all…..
    When that happens, “new Al Quadas????
    Thousand Years Vengence” ?
    Anyway this suggestion will never work, even if humans are humans, we are just too stoopid
    bytheway, just curious, if Gaddafi is so much of being hated by his people, How is it that he dares distribute guns to a million libyans ??????

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Okay then.

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    What this boils down to is the perfect track record post-war administrations have in thinking some new weapon from the skies will make previously impossible policy goals a reality. Our presidents and their advisors seem permanently infatuated with air power despite our not having won a war since World War II.

  7. 11B40 says:


    Forgive me, if you will, but, as un-Christian as it maybe, I no longer find the idea of muslims killing muslims all that upsetting. Those are, as Fouad Ajami has pointed out, the lands of “I against my brother; my brother and I against our cousin; and, my cousin, my brother and I against the stranger”. I recently went back through Samuel P. Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations…” to see how well his thoughts were holding up some 15 years after he sent them off to the printers. One of his little gems, toward the back of the book, was his advice to avoid internecine muslim conflicts. Apparently, this concept has yet to be found actionable by President Obama’s administration.

    By interesting contrast, one might think back several months to the takeover by an elected muslim government in Ivory Coast. There was a passing media mention of the massacre of 800 or so Christians by the followers of the new muslim President. While I’m not that much of a quantitative type, that number seems to me to be in the ballpark with the numbers being reported by the “Arab Spring” aficionados, but different, if you get my drift, in a No NATO Need Apply kind of way.

    Islam is the millstone around muslim necks. If you don’t have a plan to eradicate that misbegotten ideology, then you’re in over your proverbial head and the best thing to do is to stay as far as possible away. Unless, of course, your goal is trying to redistribute more of our missing commonwealth to our muslim brothers and sisters.