Anyone know where NATO can get some laser guided missiles - cheap?
Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in sustaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time, according to senior NATO and U.S. officials.
The shortage of European munitions, along with the limited number of aircraft available, has raised doubts among some officials about whether the United States can continue to avoid returning to the air campaign if Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi hangs on to power for several more months.
U.S. strike aircraft that participated in the early stage of the operation, before the United States relinquished command to NATO and assumed what President Obama called a "supporting" role, have remained in the theater "on 12-hour standby" with crews "constantly briefed on the current situation," a NATO official said.
So far, the NATO commander has not requested their deployment. Several U.S. military officials said they anticipated being called back into the fight, although a senior administration official said he expected other countries to announce "in the next few days" that they would contribute aircraft equipped with the laser-guided munitions.
Calls at a NATO meeting this past week for more countries to contribute to the air campaign fell on deaf ears so it's probable this request will face a similar fate. There are still only 4 nations out of 28 who are engaged in combat missions.
Meanwhile, US commanders expect to re-enter the fight soon. The rebels are screaming for more air cover and NATO is stretched to its limit.
NATO leaders are probably hoping that Barack Obama will offer American help. They will have a very long wait if they think that.