Pat Buchanan
"NATO is moving very slowly, allowing Gadhafi forces to advance," said rebel leader Abdul Fattah Younis, as the Libyan army moved back to the outskirts of Ajdabiya, gateway city to Benghazi.

"NATO has become our problem."

Younis is implying that if NATO does not stop Libyan soldiers from capturing Ajdabiya, the rebels may be defeated -- and NATO will be responsible for that defeat.

And who is Abdul Fattah Younis?

Until six weeks ago, he held the rank of general and interior minister and was regarded as the No. 2 man in Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

Yet his military assessment does not appear too far off.

Last week, Gadhafi's forces were again on the offensive, after having been driven by U.S. air and missile strikes all the way back to his hometown of Sirte.

What gave the Libyan army its new lease on life?

The Americans handed off the war to NATO and moved to the sidelines, restricting U.S. forces to supporting roles.

As of today, however, it appears that if the U.S. military does not re-engage deeply and actively in this war, the Libyan uprising could go down to defeat. And we will be blamed.

How did Barack Obama get us into this box?

Last week, Sen. Jim Webb questioned Gen. Carter Ham, head of the U.S. Africa Command.

As neither the United States, nor its citizens, nor any U.S. ally had been attacked or imperiled, Webb asked, what was the justification for the U.S. attack on Libya, whose government, Gadhafi's government, the State Department still recognizes as the legitimate government of Libya?

"To protect lives," was Ham's response.

Yet, as last week brought news of the slaughter of 1,000 civilians by gunfire and machete by troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the man we recognize as the legitimate president of the Ivory Coast, a question arises: Why was a real massacre in West Africa less a casus belli for us than an imagined massacre in North Africa?

Was Obama stampeded into war by hysterical talk of impending atrocities that had no basis in fact?

That is the issue raised by columnist Steve Chapman, that ought to be raised by a Congress that was treated almost contemptuously, when Obama launched a war without seeking its authorization.

On March 26, over a week after he ordered the strikes on Libya, hitting tanks, anti-aircraft, radar sites, troops and Gadhafi's own compound in Tripoli, 600 miles away from Benghazi, Obama told the nation he had acted to prevent a "bloodbath" in Benghazi.

"We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi -- a city nearly the size of Charlotte -- could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."


Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
 
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