Libya's recently resigned ambassador to the U.S., Ali Aujali, is optimistic about the outcome of the bombing of his country. He tells me he thinks dictator Moammar Gadhafi will be ousted, that free and fair elections will be held and that a new government will be pro-Western.
From his lips to Allah's ears.
Given the history of the Middle East, such a notion requires greater faith than that possessed by the holiest of holy men.
After first displaying indecisiveness about Libya, President Obama touted his shotgun marriage to a "coalition" of nations attempting to dislodge Gadhafi. In Brasilia, Brazil recently, the president used the word "coalition" five times. Was this an attempt to align himself with former President George W. Bush, who advanced a "coalition of the willing" against Saddam Hussein in Iraq?
President Obama seems to be channeling his predecessor. He signed an order closing Guantanamo prison as his first presidential act, but recently announced it will stay open and the military tribunals established by President Bush and supported by Congress will resume. And now, instead of Saddam Hussein, Obama is going after Gadhafi. Is this the same man who delivered a stem-winding, anti-Iraq war speech almost nine years ago in Chicago when he was a state senator?
That speech is worth revisiting.
State Senator Obama said on Oct. 2, 2002 that he isn't "opposed to all war," only "dumb war, rash war."
Substitute Gadhafi and Libya for Saddam Hussein and Iraq in this excerpt from that speech: "I suffer no illusions about (Moammar Gadhafi). He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions. ... He's a bad guy. The world and the (Libyan) people would be better off without him."
Here is Obama in 2002, with his ultimate argument against the Iraq war. Again I substitute Libya for Iraq and Gadhafi for Hussein: "(Gadhafi) poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors ... the (Libyan) economy is in shambles ... the (Libyan) military (is) a fraction of its former strength and ... in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history."
If Obama believed what he said in 2002 about Iraq and Saddam Hussein, doesn't that seem a good rationale for not committing anymore treasure -- which we have run out of -- and possibly more American lives with no greater goal than unseating Gadhafi in the hope that someone better will take his place?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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