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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. Johnson.

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 tripping dangerous.

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 ego.

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.

Continue reading here . . .

Meanwhile . . .
Fox News 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?

MR. 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.

And 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.

Q  But 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.

Q  Doesn't there come a point to make a -- where you have to make a decision?

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."

"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 quickly."

Related:  Ho-hum.  Obama condemns attacks on Yemeni protesters -- again -- but continues to prepare for another vacation.

I need someone to explain to me why "the protection of civilians in Libya" is any business of the United States?
Libya Attacks Under Way -- Live Updates
Recap of some of the developments overnight:
    

•  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.

    
Related:  European governments "completely puzzled" about U.S. position on Libya
"The U. N. Said I Could Do It"
Dr. Gerald Stephens comments 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 media stooges?

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?

If the 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.
 
Bruce McQuain says I’ve told you about the timeline of the US decision to intervene in Libya, but I’m not sure I was clear on the supposed reason.  So take a moment and read how Obama turned on a dime toward war:
    

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," he said.

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?

Do 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, but 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 concern.
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. charter states:
    

"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 present Charter."

    
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 population.

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"
Shumuriel Ratliff says we've 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.

"In Libya 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 26th MEU.

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 citizens."

    
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.

That report doesn't balance with this one:
   

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.

   
Nor this one:
    

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.

This guy 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 misleading statements.

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 us."

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."

Gortney had 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.

It's understandable 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 drawing down.

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.

Continue reading here . . .

Related:  Obama even lies to his own people

Excuse me, 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."

Saying 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.

Some 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
Steven Hayward 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 24/7.

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 Mission
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 operation.

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."

Uncertainty also 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' approval.

Continue reading here . . .

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 "kinetic-military action."

Related:  The Good: NATO Agrees to Take Control of Libya Operation.  The Bad: Refuses to Take Control of Attacks on Ground Targets…
Libya Proves Obama's Lack Of Leadership Skills
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."

Ronald Kessler 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 people.

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 gang raped.

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 him.

That should serve as a lesson when we elect our next president.
10 Things Libya Tells Us About Barack Obama And War
Toby Harnden 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.

5.  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.

7.  Obama has a tendency to take "tough" action because he's afraid of appearing weak (he also did this when he fired General Stanley McChrystal).

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
The AP 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.

Asked 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.

Related:  Gates 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.

His 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?

In a 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 mistake."

    
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 unending.

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 UN-sanctioned no-fly-zone?

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 is different."

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. interests.

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.

The most 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.

Read the whole thing here . . .
Huh?
   

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 activity."


But it's not a war -- no it's a clusterfark!

And that 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 White House.
Stalemate
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 fighting.

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 of anonymity.

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.

Continue reading here . . .
That Was Then.  This Is Now
    

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 Rebels
  
    
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 Darna.

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 2007.

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 government.

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.
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