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The Tale of the Tape: President Bush’s War in Iraq vs. President Obama’s Kinetic Military Action in Libya

For Installment II in our very occasional “Tale of the Tape” series (click here for Installment I), here’s a quick, down-and-dirty comparison of the two wars to date.

But first, this video really sums all of this up better than I ever could:

Tale of the Tape:

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Iraq

Libya

Name of Operation Operation Iraqi Freedom Operation Odyssey Dawn (Changed to “Operation Unified Protector” once the original U.S.-led coalition handed off operational control to NATO, another U.S. led coalition)
Connotation of Name Freedom for Iraqis, duh OOD: I’m really not sure. Something about an enigmatic sunrise?

OUP: Probably sending the message that this U.S.-led coalition is unified, unlike the U.S.-led coalition that handed the mission off to it. But that’s just a guess.

Commander in Chief George Walker Bush Barack Hussein Obama
Objective Regime Change Nobody really seems sure, including the President. Perhaps regime change, though the administration has expressly ruled out using our military, already engaged there, for that
Target Saddam Hussein’s regime and military forces who remain loyal to him Originally, Qaddafi’s Air Force and air defenses. Then, his armor and troops as well. Finally, as of 3/31, those who are fighting against Qaddafi, as well
Rationale for War Iraq’s status as a state sponsor of terror, Saddam Hussein’s history of terrorism and genocide, including use of Weapons of Mass Destruction on his own people Preventing a “humanitarian disaster” in another country’s civil war
Date the President Addressed the American People about the rationale for war and our objectives March 19, 2003, from the Oval Office (after a March 17 speech giving Saddam & sons 48 hours to leave Iraq to avert war, after the famous “Axis of Evil” State of the Union speech in which he laid out a case against Iraq) Does the off-site March 28 speech which addressed the former but completely ignored the latter count?
Date offensive operations began March 19, 2003 March 19, 2011
Initial Phase of War
“Shock and Awe” Establishing a No-Fly Zone and DON’T CALL IT A WAR!
Size of Coalition 49 nations 5 initially; with full NATO involvement, plus the mysterious “Arab Partners” (read: UAE & Qatar), that number becomes 30
Conventional wisdom on the coalition The U.S. is acting unilaterally! Utterly brilliant – particularly those “Arab Partners”
Relevant Congressional Resolutions H.J. Res. 114 (passed 296-133 in House; 77-23 in Senate), authorizing President Bush to “use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate” None. The U.S. Congress has not yet been consulted about this military action.
Relevant UN Resolution(s) UNSCR 1441, warning of “serious consequences” if regime was not forthcoming about weapons stockpiles; also, 17 previous UN resolutions whose violation the Iraqi regime had flaunted UNSCR 1973, which authorized all necessary force to protect civilians in Libya except for the insertion of ground forces
UN Vote on Key Resolution
15-0 Resolution passed 10-0, only because Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained from voting
Other military operations ongoing at the time Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan Unfinished operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as tsunami relief operations in Japan
Military commitment
Said “This will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome except victory,” and integrated ground and air campaigns in support of the mission’s objective Employed standoff weaponry (air power and TLAMs) and unsupported OGA/SOF personnel.  Maintained an express commitment not to insert ground troops nor to bring about regime change militarily
Involvement of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations
Al Qaeda fighters streamed into Iraq from outside its borders, where they carried out some successful terrorist attacks before being turned on by Iraqis and demolished by coalition troops Interestingly, al Qaeda appears to be on the side we’re helping.
Method of Bringing About Regime Change Combined air, land, and sea-based military invasion Hope
Dennis Kucinich’s reaction Impeach! Impeach!

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