Dan Nexon has pretty effectively summed up the "Obama Doctrine" as the "Humanitarian-intervention-against-militarily-weak-fossil-fuel-producing-countries-in-strategically-important-regions-that-are-also-located-near-many-large-NATO-military-bases-and-are-run-by-dictators-who-kind-of-piss-us-off-and-have-no-powerful-allies Doctrine."
That seems to sum it up pretty well. The only thing I'd add is that it also includes both parts of Obama's key campaign refrains, Hope and Change. As in, we're going to hope that change comes to Libya in the form of a new, non-Qaddafi government; we're going to hope that this regime change takes place without the US/NATO doing anything to foment it; and, finally, we're going to hope for change in the pattern of internal changes of governance in that region going horribly awry vis-a-vis western cultural and security concerns.
Hope and Change are more than just elements in an Obama catchphrase. In Libya, they're all the president has to go on, given that he has no clear plan, no clear objective, no clear timeline, and no clear understanding of the region, of the people we're helping, or of military matters as a whole.
When I was assigned to the Army Operations Center in the early 1990s at HQDA, the chief of staff was Gen. Carl Vuono. He sometimes found occasion during our briefings to him about current and planned operations to hammer home a point: "Hope is not a method and wishes are not plans."
Don't tell me what you hope will happen, don't tell me what you wish you could do, he repeated. "Give me a plan that makes it happen."
How I wish Gen. Vuono, long retired now, could have coached the present commander-in-chief about Libya and the speech about it tonight.
That's the crux of the matter here. Forget for a moment that the only real reason Europe cares about what's happening in Libya is that they get their oil there (see image at right). Forget also - as the Obama administration would like you to do - that as more information comes out about those on whose behalf the US, and its European masters, are bombing and strafing Libya, and pounding it with missiles, there is more and more reason to be concerned about the fact that we are allying ourselves with them.
Even forget that this supposed "handoff to NATO" that Obama has been bragging about every chance he's gotten is really just a handoff of Libya efforts by a coalition which is led by an American General, and whose only heavy military hitter is the US to...another coalition, which is led by an American Admiral, and whose only heavy military hitter is the US.
Concentrate, instead, on this one key fact: this American president, who ran on a platform of not being the Left's caricature of George W. Bush (a fantasy character who ran headlong into wars with no planning, no Congressional authorization or oversight, no true mission, no exit strategy, no Plan B if things didn't go swimmingly off the bat, and no real regard for outcomes or consequences), has run the US headlong into a war with no planning, no Congressional authorization or oversight, no true mission, no exit strategy, no Plan B if things don't go swimmingly off the bat, and no real regard for outcomes.
In other words, the U.S. - which already has enough wars going on, thank you very much - has just been inserted into a civil war in a country whose only resources are terrorism, sand, and Europe-bound oil, with no goal in mind. We're just going to keep pounding the ground with 30mm/105mm/500lb ordnance, hoping that something good happens for somebody we like, and that something bad happens to the guy we don't -- but, let me be clear, the something bad which we hope will happen to that guy we don't like will have to happen on its own, because while we'll keep on hoping for it, we're absolutely not going to take any action to make it happen. As Josh Treviño noted last night, "This is the first time in American history that a President has simultaneously set a war aim and disavowed means to obtain it."