Obama’s Libyan Speech: Words. Just Words.
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Days after the fact of US involvement, and perhaps weeks after meaningful military action would have boxed in M. Qaddafi, President B. Hussein Obama took to the airwaves to give another leg-tingling, but irrelevant speech about a subject upon which he remains clueless: Foreign Policy. In his Libyan leg tingler, he specifically mentioned the town of Misratah:
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Gaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. The water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misratah was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assault from the air.
Giving comfort to the besieged townspeoples of Misratah the President continued his speech, vowing to commit American assets to curtail the looming humanitarian crisis:
Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Gaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.
At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973. We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Gaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit his air defenses, which paved the way for a No Fly Zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance.
Never fear, Misratahns, President Barack Hussein Obama has your back! No way he was going to let anything happen to you. He as much as looked directly into the camera at the besieged peoples of Misratah and said so. As General Douglas MacArthur had his moment: “People of the Phillipines, I have returned!”, President Obama had his Libyan moment:
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. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.
In the intervening days since the President’s speech, his war policy has swung wildly in all directions: Bomb Qadaffi, Don’t bomb Qadaffi. Bomb the Rebels. Don’t bomb the rebels. No boots on the ground. Soft sneakers of the CIA on the ground. All the while, the innocent Libyans in Misratah have become the self-fulfilling contradiction that is the White House’s Obama Doctrine.
From Reuters dated April 4, 2011:
Gaddafi forces using tanks and snipers are carrying out a “massacre” in Misrata with corpses on the streets and hospitals full of the wounded, evacuees said, with one describing the besieged city as “hell”.
Misrata, Libya’s third city, rose up with other towns against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in mid-February, and it is now under attack by government troops after a violent crackdown put an end to most protests elsewhere in the west of the country.
“You have to visit Misrata to see the massacre by Gaddafi,” said Omar Boubaker, a 40-year-old engineer with a bullet wound to the leg, brought to the Tunisian port of Sfax by a French aid group. “Corpses are in the street. Hospitals are overflowing.”
Stalemate on the frontline of fighting in eastern Libya, defections from Gaddafi’s circle and the plight of civilians caught in fighting or facing food and fuel shortages prompted a flurry of diplomacy to find a solution to the civil war.
But the evacuees from Misrata had more immediate concerns.
“I could live or die but I am thinking of my family and friends who are stranded in the hell of Misrata,” said tearful evacuee Abdullah Lacheeb, who had serious injuries to his pelvis and stomach and a bullet wound in his leg.
“Imagine, they use tanks against civilians. He (Gaddafi) is prepared to kill everyone there … I am thinking of my family.”
Swathed in bandages, evacuees gave some of the most detailed accounts yet of conditions in Misrata, the last major rebel-held city in western Libya which recalled sieges of town and cities in the Bosnian conflict.
As the dead are littered across the city, the Libyan citizens in Misratah are learning the hard way about the Obama Doctrine. As President Obama said two years ago: “Words. Just words.”