Libya moving toward “stalemate,” U.S. begins using armed drones
U.S. and NATO airstrikes have destroyed up to 40 percent of dictator Muammar Gaddafi's forces, but the leader – and the loyalists – still cling to power, according to CBS News. Admiral Mike Mullen has said that the conflict may have reached a "stalemate," illuminating fears that the war could turn into a prolonged battle that follows the same course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the BBC.
American forces have been participating in the conflict since March 19, when President Barack Obama said that he stepped in to avoid a massacre of innocent Libyan civilians. While Allied troops from European countries are also helping the rebels, it seems that their efforts aren't enough.
On Thursday evening, Obama authorized the use of predator drone strikes in the country, the same attacks that have caused many innocent deaths in countries such as Pakistan. This also marks a more active role for America in the conflict, prompting some criticism for what is perceived as "mission creep." Many are fearful that the U.S. could become mired in Libya, which could cost the already debt-ridden America billions more dollars.
Britain, France and Italy have sent military advisors to the rebels, which signals that the U.S. is not the only country taking a more active stance against Gaddafi's forces.
"The president has said where we have unique capabilities, he is willing to use those," secretary of defense Robert Gates said.
Some experts fear that this could also bring about more anti-Western sentiments in Muslim countries that are currently struggling to break away from old traditions. For many Muslims, the predator drone symbolizes "the arrogance of U.S. power," according to The Washington Post.
So far, the U.S. public appears to favor the Libyan war. An ABC News poll found that 56 percent of Americans approved of the conflict on April 17.