Unfortunately, he didn’t take any classes while speaking from National Defense University- and God knows he could use a couple. We could focus on why he didn’t speak from the Oval Office, the place from which every other President has explained our military engagements to the American people, but the answer is pretty easy- he’s not comfortable there. He needs to move, stretch out that frame, grip the podium, and besides, he can’t see the teleprompter at his desk…
No, where the speech was given pails in importance when compared to what the speech said, so let us begin…
Obama told us that had we not intervened in Libya, the stability of the entire region would have been shaken. Really? I know he’s been busy vacationing in South America and hitting the links with the nice weather, but is this really why we’re in Libya- to keep the region stable?
The Middle East and North Africa have been en fuego for about three months now. I’d like to think he knew that, which is why we toss the flag.
He then defended this premise with the rebels. We can’t have Qadhafi killing the rebels and creating a refugee crisis for Tunisia and Egypt… except that we already have a refugee crisis of Libyians in Tunisia and Egypt. It’s all about timing. But more importantly, who are these rebels that demand our blood sweat and tears in defense?
Well, we know that at least one of the rebel commanders, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, fought US forces in Afghanistan and was responsible for recruiting and sending more fighters than anyone else to Iraq. In al-Hasadi’s home town of Darnah, the radio cries out, “Dear brothers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan… now is the time to defend your land!”
Of course, they’re just misunderstood… right?
“Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different,” Obama said. “And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.“
I’m, I’m, so proud… except:
Let’s see here, if I had to point towards two of the biggest problem states in the Middle East, the two states most responsible for instability and failure to achieve Middle East peace with Israel, the two states most active in sponsoring and promoting terrorist organizations of all stripes, the two states that pose the greatest risk to the United States and its allies, those two states would be Syria and Iran. And this President has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about it. What’s sad is that Obama got a Mulligan- a little golf lingo for the Golfer-in-Chief- on Iran. He abjectly failed in 2009 to back the protest movement, a movement far more democratically focused than ANYTHING we’ve see in the current Middle East crisis, yet he did nothing.
And Yemen, really? Can you say al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula? Remember Hasan Nidal , Christmas Day bomb plot , or the Parcel bomb plot ? How about the recent news that AQAP took control of a strategic town near Aden and the Ammunition factory that went with it? How many rounds of ammo do you think were “liberated” before the factory caught fire?
Obama said that in times of justifiable intervention, we should not be afraid to act. Well, then why have you not acted in Iran, Syria, and Yemen? Do they not deserve the same standard that Libya seems to enjoy?
The President continued, “The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the U.N. Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security.“
Ah, dawning democracy. So poetic, yet so much bullshit. A case in point, Egypt. We on the right warned, repeatedly, that there has to be concern about the Muslim Brotherhood. That what was occurring on the ground in Egypt was looking very, very similar to that of Iran in 1979. Liberals cried foul and Obama threw Hosni Mubarak under the bus. Well, that secular movement of youths yearning for democracy- bye bye. I’d say told you so, but this is getting a bit repetitive…
As for showing dictatorships that violence was not the answer to popular protests (see Iran), well, he’s about 18 months late for that now isn’t he.
And the United Nations. This very same argument was used for Iraq, and Obama vehemently opposed the war. Why is it good enough for military conflict in a state that the US has no interest, but it is not good enough for a state that the US has enormous interest?
Obama promised that, “The risk and cost of this operation — to our military and to American taxpayers — will be reduced significantly.”
Because NATO is really in a position to handle the conflict. I don’t buy this for a second. Intervention is expensive. Libya, in its first week of military action, has already cost $600 million dollars . I’m not really sure why we’re not demanding Europe pay us back, considering it is in their interest, not ours. Obama has consistently failed to point out how this is in our national interest. And from a messaging standpoint, the Administration is all over the place. Obama is saying Qadhafi has to go, but Gates and Admiral Mullen disagree. Obama calls Libyian intervention in our interest, but Gates clearly states that it is not.
And really, this is winding down? Gates was asked point blank if military operations might be over by the years end- nine months from now- and his answer was, “I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that.” We just committed AC-130 and A-10 gunships to attacking Libyian regime ground forces. They ain’t cheap, are desperately needed in Afghanistan and Iraq and are by the very nature of their mission, inherently more at risk to enemy fire. Yet we’re winding down.
The fact of the matter is that no one knows why we are conducting military operations against Libya. The intervention has been superficially shrouded in humanitarian concerns, yet the mission has simply not been articulated to the American people. Just from listening to the Administration explain itself, its not even clear the Administration is united on what the hell is going on in Libya.
I said this a couple of weeks ago in a discussion about Libya. I think it still stands:
You asked on the last thread what I thought of Libya, well, I think its a mistake to be involved right now, and I think that for a couple reasons.
1) The devil you know versus the devil you don’t know. Who are the rebels? The primary tribal faction against Qaddafi is Salafist. Supporting the rebel movement is the Libyian Islamic Fighters Group- an ally of al-Qaida. Is it really our intent to help out the allies of al-Qaida?
2) What’s in it for us? Sounds selfish, but that’s the whole point of diplomacy and conflict. You don’t do either unless you’re getting something out of it. So, what’s in it for us? Oil? All of it goes to Europe and we couldn’t refine it if we wanted to. Qaddafi removed? The alternative is what to make this worth while? Revenge? We’re about four weeks too late to be effective with that premise…
3) Focus. We’re busy. No, really, we’re really fucking busy. Fighting season in Afghanistan is about to kick off, we’re trying to wind down Iraq and, oh by the way, the Middle East is on fire. Of course, this doesn’t include the host of domestic issues that Obama Van Winkle seems to be sleeping through. Do we really care about Libya right now?
4) Why are we there? Obama says it is US policy that Qaddafi goes. ADM Mullen (CJCS) says he can stay. Obama says that while it is US policy for Qaddafi to go, the military objective is humanitarian (which I’m not sure how you do without boots on the ground). There is this guy called Clauswitz, you should read some of his stuff.
“No one starts a war–or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so–without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”
“War is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means.”
So, what’s the end game and why is that end game not being articulated to the American people?