Friday, October 21, 2011

Unseemly Victory Dance

Gaddafi's death has evoked some of the most breathless silliness on both sides of the political aisle I have heard in quite some time. It is being, for one thing, hailed as a “huge foreign policy success” for Obama, despite the small issue that Obama has claimed all along that we were not trying to do it. Having tried valiantly for months to disclaim any part of the effort to oust Gaddafi, the minute the guy is dead Obama is saying that, “We did precisely what we set out to do.”

Then there’s the little issue of who fired on Gaddafi's motor convoy. First we are told that it was an American Predator drone. Then we hear that an American drone and French fighters were flying together and that “it’s unclear” who fired the missile. Then the French say, “what American drone?” and claim that they fired the missile. The French sound, in fact, just a little bit miffed after Obama’s comments last night regarding “American leadership” in the Libyan operation.

I confess that I don’t know much about air combat operations since my experience was about as far from that as one can get, being several hundred feet under water, but the idea of unmanned drones from one nation flying in a furball with manned fighters from a different nation strikes me as just a little bit unlikely.

I also have to admit that Obama’s remarks about “our leadership at NATO” and “we achieved our objectives” struck me as a bit jarring when I heard them last night, after several months of hearing him assure Congress that we were only marginally involved in the Libyan operation and that we had only done the kickoff and retired to the sidelines, so they did not need to worry about the expenses we might incur or any losses that we might have in either lives or equipment.

I also have been hearing reports for months that both the French and the British have been bitching rather strenuously about us failing to do our share of the combat missions, so I can sort of understand them being a little peeved at us stepping up and crowing about it as an American foreign policy success at this point. For those of you who remember the Lone Ranger, the French are sort of taking a “What’s this ‘we’ shit, Tonto?” approach to Obama’s remarks about Gaddafi's death.

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