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Obama Gets Carter's Disease
James Lewis says some great powers talk big and
act big. Some do big things quietly. But you can't talk big
and do nothing and still expect to be taken seriously in a world of
ruthless power players.
That's what Obama is doing in Libya
today, following in the pathetic footsteps of Jimmy Carter and Lyndon B.
Obama is a grandstanding blow-hard, and the world
understands that by now. Telling Hosni Mubarak to leave the
presidency of Egypt after 30 years of a very successful alliance that
stabilized the Middle East was unnecessary, dangerous, and humiliating
to a man who deserved better from the United States. But Obama did
more. He has just rationalized and excused the very likely event
of a radical Islamist takeover of Egypt. He thereby added
foolhardiness to his usual empty boasting. That makes his ego
This is the same Obama who accepted
Mubarak's invitation two years ago to deliver his we-love-Muslims speech
from Cairo's Al Azhar University. He first made nice with Mubarak,
and then stabbed him in the back, while puffing up his Zeppelin-size
How long does it take for the Ahmadinejads of this world to
take the measure of this man? About 15 seconds. All the
power mongers now understand that America under Obama is a paper tiger.
Under Bush we were feared, while European socialists loathed the United
States. But Khadafi gave up his nuclear weapons program right
after Bush invaded Iraq. That was not happenstance. Khadafi
feared Bush, just as he feared Ronald Reagan. Today, no enemy has
given up anything since Obama took his Nobel Prize for Hollow Rhetoric.
Today Obama is dithering about a possible no-fly zone over
Libya, and Bill Daley, his chief of staff, is telling military experts
outside the administration that they don't know what they are talking
about. A no-fly zone is an aerial blockade, one that would make it
hard or impossible for Khadafi to use his planes and helicopters to bomb
and strafe Libyan rebels. If it is effective it could knock
Khadafi out of power, which is what Obama is demanding. (Whether
he should be demanding it is another thing entirely, of course.)
But once Obama staked his credibility on a imperialistic demand for some
crummy Generalissimo to resign, he has to put up or shut up. Obama
is doing neither.
Now Obama's chief of staff is telling the
world that a no-fly zone can't be done. It's too hard or dangerous
for the United States military to do. It's too provocative.
It could go wrong.
Well, yes. That's why the voters usual
elect adults to the presidency. This is the point where the kids
are told to leave the room. LBJ would never let the military do
their jobs in Vietnam, and as a result Ho Chi Minh killed hundreds of
thousands of South Vietnamese who staked their lives on American
promises. Jimmy Carter couldn't stop micromanaging the rescue
effort for American diplomats in Tehran. Carter was defeated by
the voters after a year of dithering.
But Obama is the
ditheriest of them all. He has absolutely no experience making
difficult decisions. He is the "vote present" guy who talks big
and does nothing. The media elected him, as Joe Biden put it,
because he was a "clean, articulate black guy." Now Uncle Sam is
wearing the diapers.
is reporting White House Press Secretary Jay Carney barely survived
the briefing yesterday, 3/15/2011. CBS' Chip Reid was clearly fed
up watching the administration do nothing about Libyan atrocities while
claiming they were responding with "unprecedented" speed. Today
the clock ran out on the White House and their dithering was exposed.
At some point you have to make a decision. (video)
Q On no-fly zone, what exactly is the U.S. -- the
administration's position before the Security Council?
CARNEY: Our position, Chip, remains that we are evaluating a
number of options, military options, including --
Q But a
decision has to be made now.
MR. CARNEY: -- including a
no-fly zone. We feel that it is important that any action like
that that might be taken should be done in concert with our
international partners. Through the United Nations would be our
preferable vehicle for that, and therefore we would look to the U.N. as
a forum for evaluating that option. I think I mentioned yesterday
that today is the deadline for the no-fly zone option to -- preparations
or plans to be submitted in Brussels at NATO. And I believe the
NAC will review those tomorrow. So this process is moving forward.
But our position is that action like that should be considered and
taken if decided upon in coordination with our international partners,
because it's very important in the way that we respond to a situation
like we see in Libya, that it be international and not unilateral; that
it include the support and participation, for example, of the Arab
League and other organizations and countries in the region.
that is our sort of focus as we proceed with these conversations.
Q Is the President satisfied to follow, not lead, on deciding
whether to do it?
MR. CARNEY: I take issue with the
characterization. We think it is precisely because the president
believes that the best outcome in a situation like we see in Libya, as
we have seen in different forms in other countries in the region, that
the best outcome will come when the action taken by countries --
third-party countries outside of the country where the unrest is
happening -- be done in consensus with international partners, precisely
so that it is not viewed by those who oppose positive democratic reform
as the dictate of the West or the United States.
wouldn't it be fair to say -- accurate to say the United States is still
sitting on the fence on this? Isn't it time to make a decision,
yes or no?
MR. CARNEY: Well, Chip, you tell me if as an
American citizen would you want your president not to consider all the
implications and ramifications of taking military action.
Doesn't there come a point to make a -- where you have to make a
MR. CARNEY: And I would go back to what I said to
Jill, that we have acted with great haste, and we have coordinated
international -- led and coordinated an international response, the
likes of which the world has never seen in such a short period of time.
And we have -- we continue to consult with our international partners.
We meet -- we have met with, as the Secretary of State did, with the
Libyan opposition discussing new ways we can put pressure on Qaddafi.
And when it comes to considering military options, this president
will always be mindful of what the mission, should it be engaged, what
it entails, the risks that it poses to our men and women in uniform, and
its likelihood of having the kind of impact that we set out for it to
have. And that is his responsibility as Commander-in-Chief.
And I would suggest to you that that is what leadership is all about.
Obama's "Not Ready For This"
Robert Costa says John Bolton, the former U.S.
ambassador to the United Nations, tells National Review Online that
Obama is dithering on Libya. "Every hour that goes by shows me how
[Obama] is not ready for this," he says. "I am feeling sick to my
stomach that we are into something where the president does not know
what he is doing."
Obama, in a short speech at the White House
yesterday, called on Moammar Qaddafi, Libya’s embattled leader, to step
down and cease fire on civilians or face military action from the United
States and its allies. Obama’s remarks focused on a U.N. Security
Council resolution, passed Thursday, that authorizes military action.
Bolton notes that Obama did not establish a deadline for Qaddafi or
explain how he would proceed militarily. This lack of a clear
strategy, he worries, could inflame the situation.
"We have lost
a huge opportunity by waiting to act so late," he says. "A real
president would have had his military plan ready to go the minute that
resolution was adopted, and he would have implemented it."
sounds like [administration officials] are still talking, still
considering," he continues. "The conclusion Qaddafi may draw from
this is that he has more time. If that’s right, and we are not
prepared to act, the position of the opposition will be even more
difficult than it already is."
Earlier this week, Qaddafi allies
said that they would institute a cease-fire. However, reports of
attacks against civilians continue to emerge. Obama, in his
speech, said that any potential military action will be based around his
desire to protect civilians.
"I also want to be clear about what
we will not be doing," Obama said. "The United States is not going
to deploy ground troops into Libya. And we are not going to use
force to go beyond a well-defined goal -- specifically, the protection
of civilians in Libya."
Bolton is uneasy about Obama’s tack.
The "well-defined goal," he says, should also include more language
about ousting Qaddafi. "I am worried that Obama’s thinking is so
fuzzy, that those who say we are getting dragged into something with no
end in sight may have a point."
"Forget the cease-fire for a
minute," Bolton says. "Why not, right at the outset, take out his
air defenses? That makes the point, too. And it’s not mere
symbolic over-flight. That would make it clear that we have
military force in-theater and we are capable of using it and we are not
fooling around. That, at a minimum, sounds like something we could
have done. It is an absolute prerequisite to a no-fly zone, as
people have been saying. Why didn’t we do that right at the
beginning? All I can say is, I’m nervous and I hope we take action
Related:Ho-hum. Obama condemns
attacks on Yemeni protesters -- again -- but continues to prepare for
need someone to explain to me why "the protection of civilians in Libya"
is any business of the United States?
• American and European warplanes and
ships have been bombing Libyan bases and positions of Muammar
Gaddafi's military. There have been 110 cruise missiles fired,
according to Britain and the US, and one large airbase alone is
reported to have been hit with 40 bombs from an American B-2 stealth
bomber. Meanwhile aircraft continue to arrive at Mediterranean
bases from allied countries including Canada, Denmark and Spain.
• Libyan state TV has said there are 48 dead and 150
wounded from the attacks. Some reports suggest pro-Gaddafi
fighters have been removing bodies from morgues of people who died
in previous clashes and placing them at locations bombed by the
allies to make it look like civilians have been hit.
Condemnation of the attacks has come from China and Russia -- who
abstained from the UN security council vote approving military
action against Li bya. Both countries are routinely opposed to
foreign military intervention in any country. The Arab League
also called for a ceasefire, and the Venezuelan president, Hugo
Chávez, led a chorus of protest by Libya's Latin American allies.
• Gaddafi is reported to be holed up at the highly
fortified Aziziya military compound where he lives in Tripoli,
surrounded by thousands of loyalists who appear to have either
offered themselves as a human shield or are looking for protection
themselves. By telephone the Libyan dictator warned on state
television that there would be chaos across the Mediterranean and
North Africa because of the attacks on his country.
"completely puzzled" about U.S. position on Libya
"The U. N. Said I Could Do It"
Dr. Gerald Stephens
on Ron Paul saying that Libya airstrikes are unconstitutional -- only
Congress can declare war.
Mr. Speaker: I rise to introduce a
resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that the President
is required to obtain in advance specific statutory authorization
for the use of United States Armed Forces in response to civil
unrest in Libya. As many in the administration, Congress, and
elsewhere clamor for the president to initiate military action to
support those seeking to overthrow the Libyan regime, Congress sits
by, as usual, pretending that Article I, Section 8 of the US
Constitution does not exist. According to this long-ignored
section, "The Congress shall have Power To declare War, grant
Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures
on Land and Water."
The Congress of The United States of America is the
only authority empowered by the Constitution to declare war, not the
Executive Branch, not Obama, not a collection of globalist, socialist,
and Marxist assembled in New York.
Obama’s war in Libya is
straight out of his play book to supplant the United States Constitution
with an unelected, unaccountable, corrupt UN world order organization.
Obama’s decision to attack Libya is an act of war against a sovereign
state in which a grab bag of globalists have decided to intervene in an
unambiguous civil war. His actions are illegal and impeachable.
The political Left went absolutely insane over George W. Bush’s
unauthorized declaration of war against Iraq. The coward congress
issued not even a squeak with the violation of its sole power to declare
war. The mainstream media beat Bush and congress unmercifully for
the constitutional violation.
Where are the Left and its
mouthpieces now? Could it be that they too acknowledge the UN
having superior authority over the Constitution in the matter of the
United States committing an act of war against a sovereign nation that
has not attacked the United States.
Gaddafi is a criminal but not
the only criminal in control of a country. The serious
constitutional issue of a president taking the nation to yet another war
without specific authorization to do so by congress aside, how many
other countries throughout the world have criminal governments?
How and when does a president decide to attack any one of them involving
our nation illegally?
There are confirmed reports that over 200
citizens of Nigeria have been slaughtered by opposing political and
tribal interest in the lead up to a scheduled national election.
Where are the Left and its media? Where is Obama? Robert
Mugabe, the gangster dictator/president of Zimbabwe routinely kills,
beats, jails, tortures, and starves his political opponents. Where
are Obama, England, France, and the UN? Where are the Left and its
At this very moment Saudi Kingdom tanks have
rolled into and attacked and killed anti- government protesters in
Bahrain on behalf of the king of Bahrain. Where are Obama, and the
rest of the Left wing globalists? What exactly is the difference
between anti-government forces in Bahrain and anti-government forces in
Libya? Is the United States going to seek UN approval to declare
war on Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and if not why not?
American people do not insure that any violation of the United States
Constitution is promptly stopped and punished, we may just as well
continue to sit on our hands and seriously think about inviting the
United Nations or Fidel Castro or even better SEIU to take over.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also said on Thursday that the
justification for the use of force was based on humanitarian grounds,
and referred to the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P),
"a new international security and human rights norm to address the
international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war
crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."
"Resolution 1973 affirms, clearly and unequivocally, the international
community’s determination to fulfill its responsibility to protect
civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by their own government,"
Inside the NSC, Power, Smith, and McFaul have been
trying to figure out how the administration could implement R2P and what
doing so would require of the White House going forward. Donilon and
McDonough are charged with keeping America’s core national interests
more in mind. Obama ultimately sided with Clinton and those pushing R2P
-- over the objections of Donilon and Gates.
Remember that until
Tuesday, the consensus around Washington DC was the US would not
intervene in Libya. Obviously UN Secretary General Moon’s communication of this new
"principle" (R2P) isn’t something that he thought up that morning. Apparently it was communicated (and one assumes, agreed upon) well
before then and, it would seem, may have played an important part in the
decision to participate in a place in which which we have no real
national interest at stake.
Read that last paragraph very
carefully. Well, read the whole thing carefully, but you have to ask,
what does agreeing with this "principle" mean in the future?
we intervene in Sudan or the Congo? Ivory Coast? And if not, why not? None of them, like Libya, put our core national interests at stake,
all certainly fit the new R2P principle. How about Bahrain and Yemen? Nepal?
Instead, what we see here is precisely what the left has
decried for years -- the US along with others who can afford it and are
willing to do it –agreeing to police the world. However, in this case,
it would be at the behest of the UN. We are agreeing that the UN can
determine when and where we commit our military forces simply by
invoking this principle. Invoke R2P and, by our precedent in Libya, we
agree to respond.
This is far and away different than case by
case agreements among member nations to intervene with peace keeping
troops in troubled areas around the world. This is a "principle" that
Moon says is a "new international security and human rights norm"
apparently is interpreted as a "right" to intervene with military force.
Funny -- I don’t remember us agreeing to this "new norm," do you? Did we negotiate and sign a treaty saying all of this? Or did we just
hand over our power to make sovereign decisions concerning the use of
our military to a world body? Think about it -- the new
principle, this new "norm", essentially gives the UN the ability to
decide when we should deploy military force in support of this new "norm".
Fascinating -- and not in a good way. Remember Hillary
Clinton’s words about "venue." It wasn’t proper to talk about action
against Libya at the G8 conference. That was a topic for the UN only. Now we have an inkling of why.
I’m not much on conspiracy
theories or other grand schemes, but if what Moon is saying is true and
given the action by the Obama administration that reversed its presumed
course on the subject of Libya, I am indeed concerned about the "why" of
the decision and if it was in support of the principle Moon outlined
above. If it is, we need to renounce it immediately. I don’t want
any world body making decisions about where our military should be used,
especially when we have no abiding national interest in the area of
Obama’s Illegal War
The Washington Times
says that with Thursday’s passage of United Natons Security Council
resolution 1973, the United States is set to go to war against Libya.
Removing Moammar Gadhafi from power would probably advance the cause of
freedom, but the United Nations has no legal authority to take a step of
this magnitude. By bowing to the will of the U.N. Security
Council, Obama is diluting the sovereign power of the United States.
The U.N. resolution authorizes member states to take a number of
military and nonmilitary actions to protect the people of Libya from
Col. Gadhafi's government. Under its own rules, however, the
United Nations cannot legally authorize military action to shape the
internal affairs of member states. Article 2 section 7 of the U.N.
"Nothing contained in the present Charter
shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are
essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall
require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the
Chapter VII of the charter, which enumerates
U.N. intervention powers, applies only to international breaches of the
peace. The December 1981 U.N. "Declaration on the Inadmissibility
of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States"
reaffirmed this principle with its solemn declaration:
"No State or group of States has the right
to intervene or interfere in any form or for any reason whatsoever
in the internal and external affairs of other States."
Five Security Council member states sat out the vote,
including permanent members Russia and China, in addition to Germany,
India and Brazil. China in particular objected to any action that
would compromise Libya’s sovereignty, but did not veto the resolution.
This may have been a political move, since the abstaining countries are
now in a position to raise principled objections to whatever happens
once force is utilized. To claim the United States forged an
international consensus seems premature when Resolution 1973 did not
have the support of countries representing 42 percent of the world’s
True to its internationalist instincts, the Obama
administration would never contemplate an action that lacked U.N.
approval, yet United Nations permission alone is inadequate. Sen.
Richard Lugar, Indiana Republican, believes that the Congress should
debate a declaration of war over intervening in Libya. But the
White House has not sought even the type of congressional authorization
for the use of force that President George W. Bush did before the
invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It would be ironic, to say the
least, if Obama waged war with less legal backing than his predecessor.
International military action in Libya, even coming this late in the
game, will be decisive. Resolution 1973 authorizes "all necessary
measures" to "protect civilians," short of deploying ground troops,
which still leaves a variety of potent options for coalition commanders.
The stated policy of the United States has been and should remain regime
change, but the White House must seek some form of congressional
approval before military action is taken against Libya. Obama
cannot be seen as a mere instrument of the United Nations, which would
relegate the U.S. Constitution to second-class status behind the U.N.
Charter. If U.S. troops are going to be put in harm’s way, the
authority must come from elected representatives in Washington, not from
a bunch of international bureaucrats hanging out in Turtle Bay.
Obama Promised -- "No Boots On The Ground"
seen Camp Lejuene Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and now they are
joining the fight against Libya. 2200 marines from the 26th Marine
Expeditionary Unit, or 26th MEU will take part. Their mission is
to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people.
right now they are doing exactly what we need them to do. They are
doing what they are told and right now that's protecting Libyan people
against Qadhafi forces," said Captain Timothy Patrick, a Marine with the
A press release from the 26th MEU reads, in part:
"Protecting the innocent and conducting
combined operations are what we are designed to do, our forces are
doing both as part of the U.S commitment to protect Libyan
Patrick says that Marines from the 26th MEU are
coming on the end of their deployment. They will be replaced with
Marines from the 22nd MEU.
Barack Obama invited Sen. Richard Lugar and
others to White House last Friday where Obama downplayed the need
for war authority because there would be no
boots on the ground and American planes over Libya.
A U.S. fighter went down inside Libya.
All of the crewmen were rescued. Unfortunately, during the
rescue of one of the flyers, the U.S. Marines opened fire from their
aircraft, shooting six civilians.
Here comes another
investigation and another public relations nightmare.
Barack Obama just lies, and lies, and lies, and
lies -- and the ObamaMedia never, ever calls him on it.
has to go.
Led Into War By A Man Who Can't Be Trusted
Timothy P. Carney says Americans will have a
hard time supporting Obama's war in Libya -- because the United States
is already fighting two wars, because Obama never publicly made the case
for involvement, because Congress never authorized the war, and because
there are no identifiable American interests.
But just as
important, for those Americans paying close attention, is the growing
realization that Obama can't be trusted. His assurances that
America's military role in Libya will be limited in scope and duration
carry little weight after the lies and evasions of his top aides.
Not even a week into our war on Libya, the White House has already
peppered Americans with a handful of falsehoods, equivocations and
On Tuesday, for instance, Obama was asked
by Spanish-language Univision about an "exit strategy" from Libya.
"The exit strategy," Obama said, "will be executed this week -- in the
sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to
shape the environment. We will still be in a support role.
We will be supplying jamming, intelligence and other assets unique to
It depends on what the meaning of "exit" is, I guess.
ABC News White House reporter Jake Tapper responded to Obama's word
games: "Planes in the air? Ships in the Mediterranean?
Intelligence being provided? Doesn't sound like an exit strategy
at all." But it was a typical Obama play of redefining words to
mean something they have never meant before.
Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton also falsely downplayed our role in this war. "We
did not lead this," Clinton said of Operation Odyssey Dawn. But
Vice Adm. Bill Gortney of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sure made it sound
like we did: "In these early days, the operation will be under the
operational command of Gen. Carter Ham. ... And the commander of Joint
Task Force Odyssey Dawn ... is Adm. Sam Locklear."
his own moment of prevarication, speaking Saturday of "over 110 Tomahawk
cruise missiles fired from both U.S. and British ships and submarines.
..." Turns out the Brits had fired two of those missiles.
That's like talking about the time the NBA's Michael Jordan (69 points)
and John Paxson (two points) poured in 71.
the administration would want to downplay the U.S. role -- Americans
have little appetite for another war, and so this White House wants to
pretend this isn't a war. It's something called, "kinetic
military action." But official deception just means people
can't trust the administration when it says the U.S. is pulling back or
One of the starkest instances of Obama
administration deception on Libya came from an unnamed "senior
administration official" regarding the clear clash between this
unauthorized entry into an offensive war and an emphatic statement Obama
made in 2007: "The president does not have power under the Constitution
to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not
involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."
When the Wall Street Journal pressed the administration official on
this, the official claimed that Obama's campaign trail comments referred
to "an invasion like we saw in Iraq." But that wasn't the
question. Very simply, Obama's actions don't match candidate
Obama's rhetoric, but the administration twists words and facts to try
and hide any discrepancy.
but why does the Fourth Estate cover for this liar? Why do
senators and congress critters turn their backs? Why is the
judiciary sitting out?
He lies all the time -- about little
things -- about life and death things -- and he's always exposed.
But there he goes, smiling, on top of the world -- a little golf
here -- a little vacation there -- -- one more party -- a little time
with the guys.
He lies in the books bearing his name. He
gets up on TV, smiling and beaming, and reads the lies from the
teleprompter. These lies were written by staff, and approved by
handlers. He stands up in front of the world -- and lies.
He'll say one thing -- and a week later he'll say the direct opposite.
No body challenges him.
He can say the most outlandish things --
and has -- and no body questions him.
I don't get it.
Obama Is Keeping His Peace Prize
M J Lee
says Obama defended his Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday, saying that
Americans "don’t see any contradiction" in him ordering an attack on
Libya to make sure "people aren’t butchered because of a dictator who
wants to cling to power."
"When I received that award, I
specifically said there was an irony because I was already dealing with
two wars," Obama said in an interview with CNN from El Salvador.
"So I am accustomed to this contradiction of being both a
commander-in-chief but also someone who aspires to peace."
he is focused on ensuring that Libyans can "live out their own
aspirations," Obama defended America’s involvement in Libya, saying,
"we’re not invading a country, we’re not acting alone -- we’re acting
under a mandate issued by the United Nations Security Council in an
unprecedented fashion and with unprecedented speed."
And he said
again that the U.S. military has already saved lives there. "I
think the American people don’t see any contradiction in somebody who
cares about peace also wanting to make sure that people aren’t butchered
because of a dictator who wants to cling to power," he said.
foreign leaders have called on Obama to return the Nobel Peace Prize he
accepted in 2009 since ordering the Libya attack.
Voting "Present" Once Again
says it is getting hard to keep
track of the many farcical dimensions of the Libya enterprise without a
scorecard. The hypocrisy of our anti-war President and say-anything Vice
President set a new land speed record even among politicians. The
vagueness of the mission has received wide comment and appropriate scorn
from all sides. As Jonah Goldberg remarked on the Fox News panel last
night, Obama has achieved a rare daily double of angering peacenik
hippies (aka, the Democratic Party) and bomb-before-breakfast neocons.
Obama has -- for the moment at least -- avoided the trifecta of
angering our European allies, who had a more robust attitude about the
matter from the beginning, by handing over direction of military
operations to NATO. While the legal controversy over whether Obama
should have consulted Congress or asked for a vote of approval (or
perhaps a formal declaration of war -- on what grounds exactly?) will
grind along for another few days or weeks, the NATO command decision
should raise eyebrows a whole lot more -- not because of the additional
confusion it may introduce into battlefield decisions (are we really
going to decide bomb targets by committee?), but because Obama is
abrogating his constitutional responsibilities as commander in chief.
The new role of NATO is not receiving the scrutiny it should because
NATO is an old and revered institution, and after all an American
military officer (currently Navy Admiral James Stavridis) is the supreme
commander of NATO. But this is not your father's Cold War skirmish
taking place. Everyone understood during the Cold War that NATO was
primarily a political enterprise keep western Europe united, and
secondarily a military convenience for the United States should open war
with the Soviet Union break out. To be sure, in the event of war, the
President would have consulted closely with European leaders, but no one
doubted who would be calling the shots, and as a practical matter the
President of the United States would be in direct command of the war
Under the current operation, however, Obama's place in the
chain of command is ambiguous. Even though an American sits at the apex
of NATO, it appears as though the command decisions involving American
military forces will be coming from a NATO committee rather than from
the commander-in-chief. This is almost certainly an unconstitutional
delegation of the president's command responsibilities; it is
incompatible with the "commander-in-chief" clause of Article II of the
Constitution. Among other things, it dilutes Obama's accountability for
the results. This may well be Obama's strongest innermost desire, of
course. He clearly has no stomach for his duties as commander-in-chief,
and in handing over to NATO is voting "present" once again.
US Pressures Allies To Command Libya
Anxious to reduce its front-line air combat
role in Libya, the US -- that's
Obama -- pressed its allies who first pushed for the
campaign to come up with a workable alternative, reports Forbes.
U.S. officials said the leadership handoff would come within a few days
-- with Barack Obama facing growing congressional misgivings -
and fellow NATO countries held crisis talks about the military
In Ankara, Turkey, state-run TV quoted the foreign
minister as saying Turkey's objections concerning NATO's role had been
met and NATO would indeed take command. No official action on such a
switch was immediately announced.
The U.S. has been vague about
what combat role the American military might continue to play once
allies take the formal lead.
American and allied planes and ships pummeled Libyan air defenses
and other military targets Thursday as the international alliance
confronting Moammar Gadhafi moved toward shifting its command lead from
Washington to NATO.
U.S. officials avoid describing the operation
as a war. White house press secretary Jay Carney said it was "a
time-limited, scope-limited military action."
hung over the domestic politics of U.S. handling of an air campaign that
is being executed by a coalition of countries, including Canada and
several European allies, under a U.N. Security Council mandate.
Critics have questioned the purpose and cost of U.S. military
involvement, as well as the legality of Obama acting without Congress'
Related:Carney on Libya: "It’s Not a
War, It’s a Time-Limited, Scope-Limited Military Action"
Related:The question wages on in
Washington whether the U.S. is at "war," at "combat mission" or at
Related:The Good: NATO Agrees to Take Control of Libya
Operation. The Bad: Refuses to Take Control of Attacks on Ground
Libya Proves Obama's Lack Of Leadership
Asked about the confusion surrounding planning
for the military action in Libya, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
explained that the Pentagon had not previously done "something like this
kind of on-the-fly before."
says that sums up the lack of clarity, as Speaker of the House John
Boehner put it, about this operation as well as about the rest of Barack
Obama's major initiatives.
We would all like everyone to be
covered by health insurance. We would all like the economy to
boom. And we would all like the killing by Moammar Gadhafi to stop
in Libya. But in each case, Obama's execution of his goals has
been helter-skelter. While he claimed the stimulus would fund
shovel-ready projects, Obama later admitted that he learned there is no
such thing as a shovel-ready project.
While he claimed the
healthcare bill was a carefully constructed plan that would reduce
costs, it is actually raising costs and is so unwieldy that the
administration has already granted more than a thousand waivers to
companies and unions so they don't have to comply with it.
Similarly, as he headed off for a five-day tour of Latin America, Obama
claimed that military strikes in Libya would be strictly a humanitarian
effort and that, within a matter of days, the U.S. would hand off
control of the operation to others.
All that was undercut by
Obama's statement a week earlier that the Libyan dictator must go and
the fact, as it turns out, no one knows who will take control of the
operation. In recent days, coalition partners France, Britain,
Turkey have been squabbling about the shape of a new organizational
structure to replace the American command structure. Nor does it
make any sense that the U.S. would claim it wants to stop Gadhafi's
murder spree without having a goal of taking him out.
As with the
stimulus and healthcare initiative, Obama is throwing money at a
perceived problem without having a clear idea of how the effort will
achieve its goal.
On top of that, Obama's humanitarian aims in
Libya conflict with his previous positions on Iraq. At best,
Gadhafi has killed thousands of civilians. Saddam Hussein killed
300,000 of his own people, used chemical weapons, and tortured his own
Because of Saddam's removal, Iraqis no longer undergo
torture by having electric prods attached to their genitals or by being
given acid baths. They no longer have holes drilled into their
ankles and skulls. They are not left naked in refrigerators for
days. They do not have their tongues cut out and their ears cut
off. They are not forced to watch their wives and sisters being
Yet Obama opposed American intervention in Iraq.
Obama's lack of consistent principles suggests that he makes policy by
holding his finger up to the wind to see which way the polls are going
at any given moment.
Having had previous experience only as a
community organizer, Obama should not have been expected to have had the
competence to be president and commander in chief. Adulation by
the press and his brilliant oratory gulled Americans into voting for
That should serve as a lesson when we elect our next
10 Things Libya Tells Us About Barack Obama
says America's intervention in Libya, riding on the coattails of
Britain and France, may yet turn out for the best. There are
indications that coalition air power has given the rebels the
opportunity to stem and perhaps even turn the military tide against
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces.
Regime change may not be a
declared objective but if Gaddafi remains in power, that will be a huge
blow to American prestige, not to mention the effect on the human rights
of ordinary Libyans. But it is very possible that Gaddafi will be
killed or overthrown in the coming days.
If success is achieved
then this will be as much despite as because of Obama's policies.
The past few weeks have betrayed a number of startling truths about the
way Obama views the world. Here are 10 of them:
1. Obama prefers to follow Europeans
rather than lead them.
2. Obama's failure to consult
Congress further illustrates that much of his campaign rhetoric
about President George W. Bush's foreign policy was bogus (other
evidence includes the increase in drone strikes and the maintenance
of Guantanamo and the accompanying military tribunal structure).
3. Obama will go to war even when there's no vital
American interest. Robert Gates, the Pentagon chief, let the
cat out of the bag today.
4. Obama accepts the notion
that an American imprimatur on military action is distasteful --
running the risk of fuelling anti-Americanism. He seems
reluctant to try to persuade nations that America is a force for
good, perhaps because he is unsure of this himself.
Obama dithers and delays before making a decision and then appears
to regret it and pursues the policy he has chosen with
half-heartedness (this is what he has done in Afghanistan).
6. Obama is a good speaker but a poor communicator.
Obama has a tendency to take "tough" action because he's afraid of
appearing weak (he also did this when he fired General Stanley
8. Obama really does believe in the
"international community" and the intrinsic goodness of the UN.
9. Obama will go to war, but would prefer not to admit it.
10. Obama is prepared to go to war with muddled military
objectives and no plan for the end game.
Libyan Operation Could Last Months
is reporting that ahead of Obama's national address on Libya, top
officials of his administration claimed major strides were being made in
bolstering rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafi's forces but acknowledged
there was no timetable for ending the international operation.
Lawmakers of both parties voiced skepticism over the length, scope and
costs of the mission.
"We have to a very large extent completed
the military mission in terms of getting it set up. Now, the
no-fly zone and even the humanitarian side will have to be sustained for
some period of time," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
for how long on NBC's "Meet the Press," Gates said, "Nobody knows the
answer to that question." But he said sustaining the no-fly zone
would take "a lot less effort" than establishing it. He said the
Pentagon was planning to shift some of its resources to European and
other countries pledging to take on a larger role.
disagrees with Obama, says that Libya does not
pose a threat to the United States, nor is it "a vital national interest
to the United States."
Obama Still Murky on Libya
Victor Davis Hanson
says Obama just gave a weird speech. Part George W. Bush, part
trademark Obama -- filled with his characteristic split-the-difference,
straw-man ("some say, others say"), false-choice tropes.
support for those "yearning for freedom all around the world" was the
sort of interventionist foreign policy that a Senator Obama -- if his
past reaction to the removal of Saddam Hussein is any indication --
would have objected to, especially in the case of sending bombers over
an Arab Muslim oil-exporting country. Since Saddam was a far
greater monster (gassing thousands is far worse than turning off the
water to neighborhoods) than the monsters that Obama now wishes to slay,
I think he has confused rather than enlightened his audience.
There was no mention of the Congress. Is he going to ever ask its
approval? And if not, why the repeated emphasis on asking others
such as the Arab League or the UN for their approval -- given that their
representatives, unlike ours, are largely not elected?
speech dedicated to clarifying our policy, it left it even more murky.
What was our objective, and what is it now? Obama asserted that
"We have stopped his deadly advance." But is that the aim -- the
status quo, and a sort of permanent safe zone for rebels in accordance
with UN directives? Or are we going beyond that to eliminate
Qaddafi, who is the source of the problem? Obama now says he won't
overthrow Qaddafi by force, but that is what he hopes, in fact, will
happen as a result of our military presence:
"Of course, there is no question that Libya
-- and the world -- will be better off with Qaddafi out of power.
I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and
will actively pursue it through non-military means. But
broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a
This is reminiscent of George H.W. Bush's
declaration that he wanted Saddam gone, had used our military to save
Kuwait, but not to remove Saddam, urged others to remove him -- and then
ended up solving one problem while creating another more violent and
Constant reference was made to UN sanctions, in
contrast both to the costs incurred in Bush's Iraq, and the dithering by
Clinton in the Balkans. He talked of allies, of joint operations,
and a diminished American role to come. But again, to fulfill the
UN mandate of saving the Libyans, he is going to have to violate -- or
at least go beyond -- it by going after Qaddafi, a task he now seems to
have outsourced to the Europeans, after ceasing the Tomahawk attacks on
key Libyan ground installations. Why brag that "we targeted tanks
and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities and we
cut off much of their source of supply" when we are not going to do it
any more, in admission that to do so would be going well beyond a
Translation: It now seems good to have
removed Saddam, but too costly. It was good to remove Milosevic,
but it took too long. So I will remove Qaddafi much more quickly
and at far less cost, but I won't do it by targeting Qaddafi, but by
preventing his aircraft from flying and hoping Qaddafi goes away.
Qaddafi deserves our special intervention because he is worse than other
dictators, such as an Assad who is a "reformer" or Ahmadinejad whom we
won't "meddle" against. We successfully sought a UN resolution to
protect the people, and will stick by it, but hope somehow someone will
go beyond it and remove Qaddafi. We are an exceptional nation that
has always acted out of humanitarian concerns in a way not true of other
countries ("To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and --
more profoundly -- our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under
such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some
nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other
countries. The United States of America is different."), but
unfortunately in this case
"...the United States will play a supporting
role -- including intelligence, logistical support,
search-and-rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime
communications. Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based
coalition, the risk and cost of this operation -- to our military,
and to American taxpayers -- will be reduced significantly."
Somehow, I don't think Qaddafi will be impressed
enough to step down; the European allies will be somewhat confused over
the degree of future American support; the rebels will wonder whether
they should take Tripoli or should settle for a zone of sanctuary;
critics won't know whether Obama will ever consult the Congress; we
still don't know why Qaddafi was worse than an Assad or Ahmadinejad --
or who or what the rebels are and what the U.S. role will be to ensure
something better than Qaddafi.
Other than that, it was yet
another well-delivered, split-the-difference, mellifluous Obama speech
that said essentially nothing of substance.
Why Obama Really Started the Libyan War
Ben Johnson says that anyone seeking to know
why Barack Obama really committed U.S. troops to Libya's civil war can
begin by dismissing virtually everything he said in his speech Monday
night out of hand. For instance, Obama claimed he initiated this
military action for humanitarian reasons. Failing "our
responsibilities to our fellow human beings…would have been a betrayal
of who we are," he said. "Some nations may be able to turn a blind
eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America
However, in July 2007 the Associated Press
reported, "Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday
the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems
and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough
reason to keep U.S. forces there."
So, why does Obama really
support the action in Libya?
1. It serves no U.S.
For most Americans, the fact that a war in no way
promotes U.S. interests would be a prima facie argument against
initiating it. For left-wingers, the less our nation has to gain
from a war, the more apt they are to support it. Liberals are
afflicted with irrational guilt over privileges they believe Americans
enjoy due to exploitation and militarism. These impulses can only
be quieted through irrational acts of self-sacrifice on behalf of those
who disregard, dislike, or actively hate us. Thus, liberals view
"humanitarian" wars as a means of righting the wrongs their ancestors
perpetrated over scores of generations -- consider it a form of
"redistribution of bloodshed."
2. It is anti-colonial.
Most presidents do not fashion U.S. foreign policy to weaken the
alliance between Third World leaders and the West, but, as then Barack
Obama likes to remind us, he is not like other presidents. Dinesh
D'Souza has posited Obama is motivated by anti-colonialism. While
D'Souza's thesis is open to debate, it is undeniable that, Obama, like
all liberals, feels guilt over Western "exploitation" and seeks to make
amends by harming those closest to us.
3. It advances
fundamentalist Muslim interests.
Although Deputy National
Security Adviser Denis McDonough classified the opposition as "quite a
broad movement of people," Hillary Clinton was more honest. "We do
not have any information about specific individuals from any
organization that are part of this," she said. "But of course, we
are still getting to know the people."
4. Strengthens the
globalist socialists at the UN.
Obama stated Monday night if he
had not gone into Libya, "The writ of the United Nations Security
Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words,
crippling that institution's future credibility to uphold global peace
and security." He had no trouble ignoring more than a dozen UNSC
resolutions about Iraq before that war, but the Left typically
genuflects at the altar of the UN and the "international community."
5. It increases presidential executive powers.
important reason Barack Obama backs the war in Libya is simple: it
benefits Barack Obama. He has already shown a willingness to rule
by executive orders, regulations, and decrees -- bypassing Congress to
implement his supporters' far-Left agenda. The ultimate power is
the power to make war, and he predictably launched this war like a king.
Even left-wingers at The Huffington Post are waking up to this power
grab. HuffPo's Rob Kall has described the Libyan war as "a brazen
act of hubris, a grab for even more executive power." As this
author has noted, this war philosophy means Obama can send troops
anywhere he and a handful of United Nations members agree upon, from
Mauritania to Micronesia, from Nepal to Naples. The Left's
political philosophy is dedicated to aggrandizing power as far away from
the people as possible (see reason #4), and such a power grab should not
be surprising from someone who praised "an "activist" executive branch.
Lie, after, lie, after lie.
Did we invade Libya? Hell yes, we invaded Libya. We
continue to invade Libya!
Of course we have "boots on the ground" -- attack aircraft killing
tanks, the Navy offshore launching cruise missiles that are blowing up all kinds
of stuff, and command, control and communications -- all the usual
"war-fighting" stuff, and all the usual "war-fighting
not a war -- no it's a clusterfark!
boy should ask the Libyans if it's a war. I'm sure the viewpoint
from the battlefield is quite different than from the West Wing of the
Joby Warrick and Liz Sly are reporting that
U.S. officials are becoming increasingly resigned to the possibility of
a protracted stalemate in Libya, with rebels retaining control of the
eastern half of the divided country but lacking the muscle to drive
Moammar Gaddafi from power.
Such a deadlock -- perhaps backed by
a formal cease-fire agreement -- could help ensure the safety of Libyan
civilians caught in the crossfire between the warring sides. But
it could also dramatically expand the financial and military commitments
by the United States and allied countries that have intervened in the
six-week-old conflict, according to U.S. officials familiar with
planning for the Libyan operation.
New evidence of a possible
impasse emerged Friday as an opposition spokesman called publicly for a
cease-fire that would halt the fighting and essentially freeze the
battle lines. The Libyan government rejected the proposal, saying
that it would not "withdraw from our own cities."
At the same
time, British officials privately disclosed a recent visit to London by
a senior aide to one of Gaddafi’s sons, prompting new speculation that
those close to the Libyan leader were exploring ways to end the
Gaddafi loyalists continued to pound rebel fighters in
the key oil hub of Brega, a town that had been claimed by
anti-government forces less than a week ago. Yet, despite repeated
setbacks in recent days, intelligence assessments suggest that the
rebels, with continuing NATO air support, are capable now of maintaining
control of strongholds such as Benghazi as well as key oil fields in
eastern Libya, according to two U.S. officials privy to classified
reports from the region who agreed to discuss them only on the condition
U.S. analysts have concluded that Gaddafi will
likely not step aside voluntarily, despite recent defections by top
aides. Nor is he likely to be driven anytime soon from his Tripoli
base, where he has surrounded himself with highly paid fighters and
tribal kinsmen who remain fiercely loyal, the officials said.
Flashback 2007: Obama says America can’t resolve someone
else’s civil war. Also, in 2007, Obama
said, "The President does not have power under the Constitution to
unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not
involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."
I still don't understand what we're
doing in Libya.
US Forces Are Training & Arming Libyan
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal
is reporting that two former
Afghan Mujahedeen and a six-year detainee at Guantanamo Bay have stepped
to the fore of this city's military campaign, training new recruits for
the front and to protect the city from infiltrators loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
The presence of Islamists like these amid the
opposition has raised concerns, among some fellow rebels as well as
their Western allies, that the goal of some Libyan fighters in battling
Col. Gadhafi is to propagate Islamist extremism.
Abdel Hakim al-Hasady,
an influential Islamic preacher and high-school teacher who spent five
years at a training camp in eastern Afghanistan, oversees the
recruitment, training and deployment of about 300 rebel fighters from
Hasady's field commander on the front lines is Salah
al-Barrani, a former fighter from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or
LIFG, which was formed in the 1990s by Libyan mujahedeen returning home
after helping to drive the Soviets from Afghanistan and dedicated to
ousting Gadhafi from power.
Sufyan Ben Qumu, a Libyan army
veteran who worked for Osama bin Laden's holding company in Sudan and
later for an al Qaeda-linked charity in Afghanistan, is training many of
the city's rebel recruits.
Both Messrs. Hasady and Ben Qumu were
picked up by Pakistani authorities after the U.S.-led invasion of
Afghanistan in 2001 and were turned over to the U.S. Hasady was
released to Libyan custody two months later. Ben Qumu spent six
years at Guantanamo Bay before he was turned over to Libyan custody in
They were both released from Libyan prisons in 2008 as part
of a reconciliation with Islamists in Libya.
False Pretense For War In Libya?
Alan J. Kuperman
is reporting that the evidence is now in that Barack Obama grossly
exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya.
Obama claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a "bloodbath"
in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.
But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the
next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing
that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians, but
rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his
Misurata's population is roughly 400,000. In
nearly two months of war, only 257 people -- including combatants --
have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 -- less than 3
percent -- are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting
civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties.