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In an unusual step, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) has announced the end of operations in Libya via his Facebook page.

Traditionally it has been the role of politicians to make statements announcing peace, but US Navy admiral James Stavridis has bucked tradition by posting the following message on his Facebook page:

“An extraordinary 24 hours in Libya. As SACEUR, I will be recommending conclusion of this mission to the North Atlantic Council of NATO in a few hours. A good day for NATO. A great day for the people of Libya.”

Stavridis is something of a maverick when it comes to social media, adopting it more openly than many of his profession. He’s an active blogger on EUCOMversations – the official blog of the US European Command (which bizarrely uses Wordpress) – and his Twitter feed is a mix of official pronouncements and photos from his travels.

The US military initially resisted social media, restricting access to MySpace for enlisted men at one point, but it now recognizes that the online tools can be handy for getting its messages across and monitoring events on the ground. It has also declared the online world as another theater of war, and hasn’t ruled out carrying out physical attacks in retaliation for hacking. ®

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