An essay posted at Al Jazeera makes a compelling argument for putting troops on the ground in Libya.Professor Leila Hudson from the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts says Libyan conflicts have been fought by the cavalry going back to the Arab Revolt in WW1:
The brilliantly successful campaign was not predicated on air power but on mechanised cavalry raids. TE Lawrence was the original special forces attaché, deeply embedded with the Arab army and an intimate and joint author of Faisal’s strategy.
Then in WW2:
The British “Special Air Services” quickly found that parachuting into the theatre was a disastrous tactic, and had their greatest success using jeeps mounted with old RAF machine guns to raid and destroy hundreds of Axis planes on the ground. Again it was ground forces that led and harried planes, not the other way round.
Then the “Toyota Wars”:
When Gaddafi sent 10,000 Libyan troops into Chad in November of 1986 and seized most of the northern part of the country, the Chadian army under the new leadership of “Africa’s Pinochet” Hissene Habre, supported by the US and France, responded with columns of Toyota trucks and Land Rovers with mounted guns.
These columns encountered the Libyan artillery in January 1987 and won a decisive swarming victory that killed nearly 800 Libyans, and destroyed over a hundred tanks and armoured vehicles, capturing dozens more for good measure.
Fast-moving vehicles that are easily disguised as civilian are obviously hard to target from the air. Which is why we’re in a stalemate.