Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The President on Libya

President Obama partially sold me on his case for attacking Libya last night. He did not make me a “true believer,” but if the facts on the ground were as he stated them then I can see justification for our intervention and, while not entirely supportive, am no longer entirely opposed to our participation in the instigation of a “no fly zone” in that country.

The facts on the ground being as he stated them is by no means a given, of course, because I believe nothing that anyone in my government tells me, and that includes Obama.

He lost me when he started talking about regime change, though, because while he decried the use of the term, his rhetoric about the need to remove Qaddafi from power is regime change even if you don’t call it that. That whole segment was filled with dissonance, such as describing Qaddafi’s forty years of reign as a tyrant when his predecessor removed Qaddafi from the list of terrorist sponsors and less than two years ago, on Obama’s watch, John McCain was visiting Qaddafi and praising him for his “peacemaking efforts in Africa.”

He spoke at length about the mission being limited to the protection of civilians and that we were not assisting the rebels in overthrowing Qaddafi, which was at odds with rhetoric coming from the rest of his government, which is saying that we can provide arms to the rebels despite the arms embargo, and that we might do so. It is also in conflict with our provision of A-10 and AC-130 aircraft, which have no role other than to attack forces on the ground and are, as we speak, being used to destroy Qaddafi’s ground attack forces in support of the rebels.

As far as I can tell, regime change remains a significant part of American foreign policy. If we lose patience with the leader of a nation, we will start screaming regime change and throw that leader out by force if necessary. The “consent of the governed” is secondary to consent of the United States.

He mentioned that he consulted the United Nations, allied leaders, and members of both parties in Congress before taking this action, which has the be the quickest brush-off ever in failing to address the issue of his taking this action without proper authority under the constitution which dictates the governance of this nation. More on that another time.

He spoke of turning over command to NATO and “sharing the burden,” which is fine, but while we only pay 22% of the budget of NATO, I have no doubt that we will provide a lot more than 22% of the aircraft and ships needed for the operation. How many aircraft carriers does NATO have? How many A-10’s or AC-130’s?

On the question of intervening Libya but not in Somalia, for instance, or the Ivory Coast or anywhere else that people are dying in significant numbers, he spoke at some length, but if he answered the issue it certainly was not apparent to me. Reality is that there is no answer to that question, and that is a serious problem arising from this intervention.

All in all it was a speech that did not resolve for me the empty feeling that is left by one fact – here we are with another war which was started without firm support of this nation’s people, for reasons that are unclear, with objectives that are even less clear, and that has no end in sight. He may have clarified the beginning slightly, but he did not clarify the objective at all, and he did not even mention the end.


Ema Nymton said...


"... I believe nothing that anyone in my government tells me,..."


On what planet do you live? You might want to try to move to USA. The government of USA is made up of the good caring people of USA, honest, open, giving, and helpful.

Ema Nymton

Jayhawk said...

TThat sets a new record for stupid, even coming from you.

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