After Britain announced yesterday it was sending military advisors to assist Libyan rebels with organization, communication, and logistics, France and Italy have both pledged to send their own delegations of advisers. The news came out this morning after rebel leader Mustafa Abdel-Jalil met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. It coincides with word that the United States will send $25 million in "nonlethal aid" to the Libyan opposition.
Britain said yesterday it would send 20 advisers, and Italian defense minister Ignazio La Russa said his country would send 10. The French government has not specified how many it would send, but put the number "in single digits." None of the advisers have been tasked with participating in actual fighting, but comparisons to the American entry into the Vietnam War nonetheless continue to color this news.
The United States stopped short of sending in official advisers, though covert operatives have reportedly been working on the ground in Libya. Instead, the Obama administration decided to send "nonlethal" monetary aid. The administration sent a letter informing Congress of its decision to send the aid, but that communication, which the Washington Times intercepted, "does not say how that assistance will be delivered or whether U.S. troops would be involved."
President Barack Obama continues to hold the conflict at arm's length, despite the U.S. role in air and cruise missile strikes. Some are already calling the Libyan conflict "Britain's Vietnam," and with a presidential campaign on the horizon, it's conceivable that a military quagmire is the last thing Obama wants on his hands.