Bill Van Auken: Washington Seeks NATO Cover for War Against Libya!

The Obama administration is formally shifting its war in Libya to NATO command, as the US dominated alliance predicts that the fighting will go on for at least another three months. The agreement to place the US led war under NATO cover emerged piecemeal amid acrimonious discussions between Washington and its NATO allies, each of which are pursuing their own strategic interests in waging an imperialist war against a former colonial country. After a 24-hour period ending Friday morning, in which US warships fired another 16 Tomahawk missiles at Libyan targets, and "coalition" warplanes, the majority of them American, flew another 153 sorties, NATO officials in Brussels revealed that planning for the Libyan intervention assumed that it would last another three months, with the option of extending this period as required. The head of the French armed forces also cautioned against any expectation of a quick end to the attacks. "I doubt that it will be days," Admiral Edouard Guillaud told French Info radio. "I think it will be weeks. I hope it will not take months." Libya, meanwhile, has reported that the civilian death toll from US-NATO bombing and missile strikes has risen to around 100. In Tripoli, hospital workers and government officials said that the latest attacks on the Libyan capital had killed a number of civilians, including women. The Al-Arabiya television network cited an unnamed source Friday as confirming that among the casualties from the air strikes was Gaddafi's son Khamis, said to have been killed in a raid on the Bab al-Aziza compound in Tripoli. In other words, as those of us who have been in a war, or served in one, in the hope of reducing our nation's casualties realize: War is Hell!!

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