If only in the interest of intellectual hygiene, it would be refreshing if the Obama administration would stop ascribing moral impetuses to its foreign policy.
Today, US forces are engaged in a slowly escalating war on behalf of al-Qaida penetrated antiregime forces in Libya. It is difficult to know the significance of al-Qaida's role in the opposition forces because to date, the self-proclaimed rebel government has only disclosed 10 of its 31 members.
Indeed, according to The New York Times, the NATO-backed opposition to dictator Muammar Gaddafi is so disorganized that it cannot even agree about who the commander of its forces is.
And yet, despite the fact that the Obama administration has no clear notion of who is leading the fight against Gaddafi or what they stand for, this week the White House informed Congress that it will begin directly funding the al-Qaida-linked rebels, starting with $25 million in non-lethal material.
This aid, like the NATO no-fly zone preventing Gaddafi from using his air force, and the British military trainers now being deployed to Libya to teach the rebels to fight, will probably end up serving no greater end then prolonging the current stalemate. With the Obama administration unwilling to enforce the no-fly zone with US combat aircraft, unwilling to take action to depose Gaddafi and unwilling to cultivate responsible, pro-Western successors to Gaddafi, the angry tyrant will probably remain in power indefinitely.
In and of itself, the fact that the war has already reached a stalemate constitutes a complete failure of the administration's stated aim of protecting innocent Libyan civilians from slaughter.
Not only are both the regime forces and the rebel forces killing civilians daily. Due to both sides' willingness to use civilians as human shields, NATO forces unable to differentiate between fighters and civilians and so they too are killing their share of civilians.
In deciding in favor of military intervention on the basis of a transnational legal doctrine never accepted as law by the US Congress called "responsibility to protect," President Barack Obama was reportedly swayed by the arguments of his senior national security adviser Samantha Power. Over the past 15 years, Power has fashioned herself into a celebrity policy wonk by cultivating a public persona of herself as a woman moved by the desire to prevent genocide. In a profile of Power in the current issue of the National Journal, Jacob Heilbrunn explains, "Power is not just an advocate for human rights. She is an outspoken crusader against genocide..."
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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