Will Libya be Obama’s Bay of Pigs?

by Colonel Kenneth Allard (US Army, ret.) March 14, 2011 Often compared to President Kennedy, President Obama may well find that Libya has become his Bay of Pigs.

Barely remembered now, the Bay of Pigs fiasco occurred early in the Kennedy administration. It was the first mistake in a string of foreign policy miscues reversed only when the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 brought the world to the edge of nuclear war. The young JFK, badly advised by the CIA, was forced to watch helplessly as a rag-tag invasion force of Cuban exiles was chopped to pieces and the survivors were led away to dungeons - or worse. Castro's forces won because of a critical battlefield advantage - close air support - that the CIA somehow overlooked. Instead, the Wizards of Langley assumed that the invasion would touch off an unstoppable popular uprising against the Castro regime.

Fifty years later, an eerily similar scenario is unfolding in Libya. The fate of that sandy, oil-rich satrapy - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Gaddafi family - is up for grabs. Although the Libyan protestors once seemed as unstoppable as those ill-fated Cuban exiles, on Saturday the Associated Press reported that "Gaddafi has seized the momentum, battering opponents with air strikes and artillery fire." The Libyan dictator is using his air force just as Castro did at the Bay of Pigs. His planes are relentlessly pounding the opposition because close air support allows ground forces to mass before closing in for the kill. If he can keep the rebels off balance while controlling the skies, Gaddafi will probably survive...

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