While US officials deny any "ground forces" are deployed to Libyan soil, you've got to think this may technically correct, but the statement may be objectively misleading.
Here's what I'm thinking: The US is pretty risk averse as it is to put bombs on a civilian target -- even when it has ground forces down there to protect. The ROE over Afghanistan is highly restrictive and most jets are relegated to executing low passes to frighten the bad guys rather than actually drop ordnance.
But in a UN-mandated situation with very limited goals and objectives, you'd have to think the level of confirmation of targeting has to be even higher. We all know the only way to do that is with eyes on the ground. US commanders are tiptoeing around the whole "contact with rebel groups" issue, so it's unlikely we have some guerrilla jundis punching up 9-lines with their PRC-117s.
So who's got eyes on? While DT isn't sourced well enough to know for sure if the snake eaters are in there, you've gotta assume they are. One of our sources tells us it's likely SEALs have been deployed from submarines using SDVs to infiltrate rebel-held shorelines. We know the US Navy has subs in the area since they lobbed TLAMs out of SSGNs and we know SSGNs can accommodate SDVs and teams -- sometimes 2+2 does = 4.
We also know that a few weeks ago, a British diplomat was briefly detained with his SAS security detail. The press often doesn't distinguish between SAS and SBS (the UK equivalent of SEALs) and the British government never confirms nor denies either's operations. So, let's bet dollars for doughnuts some of our Brit friends are poking their heads out of urban hides painting targets.
But given that the French have taken such a prominent role in the air campaign, we're thinking the special Berets Verts are probably also helping designate targets. And they may also be camped out at the end of runways in places like Bengazi and Sirt relaying when airplanes -- like the Galeb that was shot down today -- take off.
Bottom line, it just doesn't pass the smell test that there aren't NATO eyes on the ground in some manner. With the eyes of the world so focused on this battle and the risk that it could all go to hell in a handbasket with one errant 500-pounder, there's just too much risk to not have spec ops in there.
After all, these units aren't technically "ground forces" -- they're "naval forces" which happen to be on the ground...hmmm?