Libya, Obama, and Getting Caught With Your Pants Down
Two years ago, the spontaneous uprisings on the streets of Tehran presaged events in the Middle East today and, more specifically, Obama’s strategy and response. Then, as the uprising was being brutally suppressed by an Islamo-fascist regime courtesy of Facebook and Twitter, the Obama Administration dithered and offered words. The end result was obvious. Fast forward two years and it would appear that the Obama Administration was once again caught flat-footed with events in the Middle East. Starting in Tunisia, then Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and, to a lesser extent, Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, it would appear that Obama and company failed to comprehend events before they unfolded or as they were unfolding.
This could possibly be excusable if not for the fact that many on the Left and Obama himself have made much ado regarding an amorphous, rather general National Intelligence Estimate before 9/11/01 stating that Bin Laden wanted at attack the interests of the United States. This amounted to a big “DUH!” memo. I wonder where, or if, there is a National Intelligence Estimate regarding the uprising in Tunisia, or Egypt, or any other country for that matter. Is our intelligence in the Middle East so inept that we cannot gauge the mood of the people on the street? I thought that was Intelligence Gathering 101. And if so, then it is no wonder Osama Bin Laden remains at large. The result is that the United States is caught flat-footed and grasping at an ad-hoc, seat-of-your-pants policy. At the very least, shouldn’t we have had a “if this, then that” plan in place?
I have nothing against ousting despotic rulers. Whether Mubarek fit that definition is one for debate. Everything I have read indicates that he was becoming an aloof leader clinging to power for the sake of it. Better before, but even during the Tunisia uprising, we should have been asking what we would do if this spread to Egypt and beyond? Instead, Obama waffled and was non-committal- supportive of Mubarek one day, insisting that he leave the next. Again, even as it became clear the uprising and protests would not abate, the United States did not plan for the aftermath. What is to replace Mubarek? Today, the most cohesive political entity is the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization whose slogan is “Islam is the solution,” who believes in Sharia Law, and whose leadership is vague about whether they would honor the peace treaty with Israel. This whole episode of paralysis by Obama has left our allies in the Middle East- especially Saudi Arabia and Israel- shaking their heads in disbelief.
Now, he has Libya. Khaddafi is nothing more than a megalomaniacal despotic tyrant. When the uprisings began in Libya, did Obama honestly believe that he would pull a Mubarek and resign power? Is that what happened in Iran two years ago? When Khaddafi said he would use his military against the uprising- against his own people- did Obama think he was bluffing? Only after Libyan tanks started shelling their own citizens and his Air Force attacked his own citizens did the United States act through the UN. If the stated concern of protecting innocent lives from their own military was true, then we could have, without UN action, established a no-fly zone over Libya.
Ah, but Obama cannot state the real reasoning or policy, if such exists, because to do so would be to expose himself as the hypocrite that he is. Before and during his candidacy for President, Obama painted himself as the anti-war President, the answer to Bush’s ill-begotten ways and policies. We had no business being involved in regime change. To do so would be a harkening back to the bad old days of Yankee imperialism. There would be none of that on Obama’s watch. In Obamaland(world), every country and every ruler would be treated as equals with us and dialogue would solve everything. After all, he had hoodwinked the American populace into voting his President. But, it does not work that way. Khaddafi did, in fact, turn his military loose on his own people just as Saddam Hussein did when he launched chemical attacks against the Shiites in Basra and the Kurds in northern Iraq. He turned his military on his own people just as Iran brutally beat down a popular uprising on the streets of Tehran. This ignorance may work when Russia forays into Georgia, but this is the Middle East. At the very least, Obama needs to call a spade a spade. He can gussy it up with all the well-placed worded oratory he wants, play soccer with kids in Brazil, and shoot hoops at the White House all he wants. The very real purpose of our military intervention in Libya is to tip the balance of power with the ultimate goal of regime change. He cannot say that because to do so would reveal him as the hypocrite that he is. Perhaps, he should just apologize to Bush, then retire to the White House, drink a beer, smoke a cigarette, and eat some humble pie.