Candidate Obama may have pursued smart politics (for the tactical purpose of gaining power) by mainstreaming "Bush lied, people died" and other inflammatory nonsense. The intent was to impugn the motives of those of us who saw the GWOT enterprise as the best choice among many terrible choices. Libya, however, reveals Candidate Obama's foreign policy prescriptions, billed as smart diplomacy by liberal media operatives, as more balderdash for the dustbin of history. It also calls into question just how smart the politics of 2005 to 2009 will ultimately prove to be for Obama and the Democratic Party.
MSNBC and The New York Times may not have figured it out, but pursuing regime change in Libya completely shatters Obama's "I'm not Bush" theatrics. Sure, there are differences. Obama parties, vacations and hits the golf links far more often than George W. Bush ever did.
Libya follows hard on Obama's Gitmo prison fold. I've read the twitchy screed of several apologists who, under the guise of legal opinion, try to provide propaganda cover for Obama's obvious failure to close Guantanamo Bay. These law school scribblers seek to obscure the big picture by magnifying scrawls on the margin. The big picture? The community organizer has put on a cowboy hat.
Gitmo, like Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Libya, were the best of bad choices.
Commanders have to make the best decision they can based on the evidence at hand -- that is the hell of adult reality. The clock ticks, and the bad guys act. To paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, war is the realm of friction, and friction means mistake after mistake after mistake. The "unknown unknowns" blindside you. Sometimes the "known knowns" do, as well. This is why winning takes courage, resilience and the will to endure. Those are cowboy traits. Obama has a hat. Does he have the cattle?
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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