For all those who lathered up over Mr. Bush's "rush to war"...what must they think of Mr. Obama? Whatever you want to say about the rationale for war in Iraq, given its location, oil reserves, and history of invading its neighbors, US vital interests were undeniably at stake. What, please tell me, are the vital interests at stake here that the President avoided like a plague last night? I am anxious to see how the Washington pundits and foreign policy experts score President Obama following his national address. For me, the speech was okay, but it didn’t tell me much as a concerned American citizen.
In typical Obama fashion, the speech was delivered with an adept style, less the Lecturer-in-Chief and more with a forceful emphasis on key points the White House knew it had to make, but that’s where the “good” ends and the questions begin. It’s apparent by Obama’s words that the United States will not forcefully remove Gaddafi from power. Whew. Guess who’s resting easy in Tripoli! Sure, the Obama Administration wants the tyrant tossed. Why else would U.S. warplanes be pounding his military? But dropping a hint and showing him the door are two different things.
It is clear that President Obama has begun an illegal war - and if not illegal, then an unwise and unauthorized one - war on the cheap is not new, and has predictable outcomes. I'm intrigued by how some reporters have actually said counterfactual things like, "allied air power prevented a blood bath." It isn't possible to know what allied air power prevented, we can only observe what it did, how many civilians have died from our trying to protect them? Air power's utility shrinks when the fighting goes urban and none of us can possibly know what's going on there. The air strikes have been limited to the eastern part of Libya, shielding and creating a rebel redoubt without imperiling Gaddafi's power base in western Libya.
Further, I’m baffled why this President is still hung up on “humanitarian” relief and that being part of the reason behind the mission. Did someone from the Nobel Committee phone the Oval Office in recent weeks remind the president there is a return policy on his Peace Prize if he gets too far out there? Come on. The American people know what’s going on here. Qaddafi is running roughshod over the rebels, the United States needed to help. That meant killing as many pro-Qaddafi forces as we could find. To do anything else would send a message to other parts of the world that if you act like Mubarak in Egypt, you lose. If you act like Gaddafi, torturing and killing your own, you win.
Is Obama conflicted here? It was evident to me in the way he spoke.