Not exactly. In fact, according to the New York Times, we may be expanding our role, at least in terms of air power and intelligence gathering:
From the air, the United States is supplying much more firepower than any other country. The allies have fired nearly 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles since the campaign started on March 19, all but 7 from the United States. …
Besides taking part in the airstrikes, the American military is taking the lead role in gathering intelligence, intercepting Libyan radio transmissions, for instance, and using the information to orchestrate attacks against the Libyan forces on the ground. And over the weekend the Air Force quietly sent three of its most fearsome weapons to the operation.
As the AP points out, Barack Obama’s reassurance in his speech yesterday that NATO has taken over the mission from the U.S. doesn’t actually mean much in practice. “In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically,” AP reports. “In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show.” The U.S. will reportedly still be supplying much of the most-needed weaponry and military equipment, including attack and surveillance planes, intelligence equipment, and refueling tankers.
According to the AP, 22 percent of NATO’s budget is provided by the U.S. – which by far exceeds the contributions of any other country. And while the operations in Libya are being run by a Canadian general, he will answer to an American admiral. The American admiral will, in turn, answer to the supreme NATO commander, also an America. In other words, this will be a coalition-led war in name only – which is a good thing. Otherwise, the allied forces would have to settle for using less effective equipment, which would make the operation less likely to succeed. And we would also have to allow a foreign country to control our troops, which is unthinkable.