In all my years of blogging I never remember coming across a post where someone pours their heart out and speaks aloud while announcing their indecision on an issue. Until now.
I am unsure what to think of the now enacted no fly zone over Libya or the associated policy as announced by President Obama.
To be clear the current policy as explained by the President may be too little too late given Gaddafi's advancements against the rebels and reported atrocities against his own people.
Still I find giving tyrants such as Gaddafi a free pass troubling at best and down right immoral at worst.
To that end I am conflicted by a number of unanswered questions which I do not see the media covering with any degree of seriousness.
- What is the end game? When do we declare victory. Iraq was more of a cut and dry matter than what most media outlets would give the Bush administration credit for. In this case the matters are blurred by an exponential number. When do we stop enforcement of any such fly zone?
- Can we continue to count on Arab League support? Today the Secretary General of the Arab League criticized the opening air strikes to disable Libyan air defense systems, a basic step required for a no fly zone. Will this get worse? Will they knife us in the back again? Of course if Arab League support evaporates, so will international political cover for the operation - which is what President Obama apparently was waiting for.
- What exactly is our role? In the past fifty years or so we, the United States of America, are expected to lead any such operation. In this case, the English and French were weeks ahead of us in calling for the no fly zone. Since the zone was established through the United Nations resolution, it was the French who claim to make the first "kill."Obviously the United States played a large part in last night's attack on antiaircraft facilities. Will that be all we are limited to? Will we begin flying combat air patrol missions over Libya?
- Will Congress need to get involved? Per the War Powers Act, if the action lasts over sixty days President Obama must get authorization.This is perhaps my biggest hang up with the operation beyond not knowing what victory, which is due to the implementation of such a vaguely defined policy. I understand and am aware of missile strikes or singular military actions taken in the past by Presidents without Congressional approval. Will this be the same? Should Congress authorize a no fly zone without an end game? Does President Obama have the authority to execute such a plan over an extended time period without Congressional approval?
Each of these questions revolve around a simple and basic lack of communication to the American public as to why we are committed to such sacrifice and what exactly are our goals.
I am a believer in the Powell Doctrine. If we engage in an action I want stated goals and an unfair fight in our favor.
At the moment our President is vacationing in Brazil providing us with little more than the perverbial "trust me." Given the experience of the past I am reluctant to do so.
In the mean time I believe we should pray for our men and women who are in harms way and hope for a quick, victorious resolution to the problem.