In his “Libya Speech” of 28 March, President Obama became the political equivalent of Pilate, washing his hands of the violence connected to his rape of Libya and turning the whole mess over to the NATO rabble for the furtherance of the crucifixion of Qaddafi. It needed ten days or so after he began the carnage for him to come to this point but he majestically proclaimed this fact with a toss of the head as he bid a fond adieu to NATO, effective 30 March, with best wishes, of course.
Obviously uptight, Obama seemed to be trying to convince himself of what he was saying and gave repetition/redundancy a new life. He could have been through in ten minutes but he belabored his subject to the point of boredom. He began, as always, with high praise for the military but had to be somewhat flustered by all the military brass before him, and none smiling. The officers recognized his floundering and had to wonder why he hadn’t at least tried to explain his actions when he instituted them and no doubt were wondering why he called his presentation an “update,” not an explanation of his actions.
The reason, of course, was the fact that he had no clear plan from the get-go in order to present one, simply mentioning (or maybe it was State Secretary Clinton, certainly not the military) that he would start the operation – just establishing a “no-fly” zone – and then, apparently without consulting the alliance, that NATO would take over. His primary reason for the action seemed to be that Qaddafi was attacking his people but didn’t mention that his people had taken to the streets first.
This is no brief for Qaddafi, a cruel man, but no different from the other Muslim dictators that brutalize their people….like Assad in Syria or Saleh in Yemen currently. Regimes generally change on the point of the sword in the Middle East so the Libya issue was sort of just normal – civil war among the tribes with the strongest and/or meanest taking over, or the current despot winning reelection the mid-east way, with blood in the streets. Nothing new!
Obama was sure to mention Iraq – the great mistake – sort of in the vein of Jimmy Carter, never one to pass up an opportunity to slam Bush 43, even – or especially – while on foreign soil. Obama chose a “foreign” theater with a huge captive audience, ironically, of the military, to speechify formally (complete with teleprompter) to his people instead of in the Oval Office, which is where he should have been alone, not making a speech but simply explaining his actions personally. This was the way of both Bushes and Reagan, as well as Clinton…same day stuff, not an “update” after a five-day vacation in Latin America plus the weekend NCAA earth-shaking dribble-derby. He even compared Libya to the Bosnia actions (apples to oranges), extolling the speed of his maneuvering (actually his bumbling) while obviously denigrating that of Clinton.
Whether as simply disingenuous or plainly stupid, Obama apparently didn’t realize in slamming Bush again that he had done just what he said he was against in 2002-03 – invading another country without cause, though he failed to mention that Bush had gone to the Congress and secured approval, whereas he hadn’t bothered. The military brass must have winced when he said that non-military means would be employed from now on to bring Qadaffi to his knees, thus giving away the game and encouraging the dictator to sweat out the rebels.
The president said, “Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him.” Defense Secretary Gates, sitting before him, had stated days ago that this was not true, meaning that Gates was either stupid or a liar…or that Obama was. The citizen can make the call. Libya’s entire population is 2 million people less than that of New York City. Qaddafi’s troops number 76,000, compared to the total military of the U.S. – 3.3 million, counting the Reserves and National Guard, with 1.4 million on active duty. Should Americans shudder at the magnitude of Qadaffi’s “strategic” threat? Obama has been on the stump lately ranting against “bullying,” and gave an exact example of it in Libya.
If little Libya was of strategic interest, just think of the strategic interest of Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria and Iran vis-à-vis the current Libya-like repression in those countries. It’s a lead-pipe cinch that Obama has learned in Libya (or has he?) that he needs to stick to giving odds on the NCAA and never again attempt to plan military operations (either when or how), especially as designed by State Secretary Clinton, as apparently in this case. She’s off to Europe to make the case but should only resign. As for Obama, impeachment would be too nice. The patients are running the Washington asylum.
But it’s like Obama said in his best “in-your-face-America” posture concerning his prerogatives…We won!