I am not a fan of the ill considered military action we are currently participating in. As I've written earlier the only logical outcome of our actions is to increase civilian casualties by prolonging the conflict, to create unsustainable pockets of resistance within Libya governed by al Qaeda, and to Carterize American foreign policy. I had low expectations for Obama's speech last night. Incredibly I found it to be equal parts of Alice-in-Wonderland divorcement from reality and garden variety mendacity.
It left me wanting to throw up in my mouth.
As best we can tell from this speech, we are killing Libyans of all sorts today because Obama opened his Anxiety Closet and saw a potential massacre about to happen in Benghazi. Was this fear real or imagined? We have no way of knowing. We were also given no reason why this particular act of brutality exceeds the daily output of Iran or North Korea. We are to take it on faith that the threat was real and, more importantly, that it was of such import that American lives had to be risked to stop it.
What remains unclear is how this situation is righted as regime change is off the table:
Of course, there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.
This assertion requires a willful suspension of our disbelief because in the past Obama hasn't shown himself to be concerned about bloodbaths caused by a helter-skelter withdrawal from either Afghanistan or Iraq or by the slaughter in the Congo or any other third world hell hole:
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.
"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now—where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife—which we haven't done," Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.
"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now—where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife—which we haven't done," Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea," he said.
The implication is that we will continue to provide aerial cover for the various enclaves until such time as the "coalition" loses interest or Qaddafi falls.
I found the description of the impact of Qaddafi putting down a revolt against his rule to be the most troubling:
Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful – yet fragile – transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.
I am not one to cry racism, but any observer is hard pressed to read this and not come away with the feeling that as far as this administration is concerned black Africans are not people. We know that pogroms are underway in the areas held by the "rebels" and black Africans are be forcibly driven out. Apparently the possible refugee crisis in the more media friendly environs of Tunisia or Egypt is more important than the actual refugee crisis being created in Niger by the administration's actions.
In his flailing about to try to establish a logical framework for one of the most dunderheaded foreign policy adventures since Bay of Pigs, Obama says:
It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.
This is simply nonsense of the first order. In Libya we faced nothing of the sort. There was a widely dispersed insurrection which Qaddafi would eventually have put down. It might have been ugly, but no moreso than what rebels face anytime a rebellion doesn't succeed. The idea that it was "right" to intervene in Libya with no intention of removing the regime makes as much sense as saying we were "right" to encourage revolts in East Germany (1953) or Hungary (1956) when we had no intention of removing the regime. All the administration has accomplished with this half-measure, if it even rises to that level, is virtually ensure that Qaddafi will regain control of Libya, he will wreak vengeance on the rebels -- and rightly so considering that they have brought on NATO airstrikes, vastly increasing both damages and deaths -- and then he will thumb his nose at the US and NATO and, again, rightfully so.
Why are we ruling out the use of American ground forces and the idea of regime change? For no other reason than Obama and his court of sycophants want to continue to claim that George Bush was Satan.
More troubling than the vacuousness of the speech and the underlying racism is the way he studiously avoided giving any description of who we are fighting to protect. He claims early in the speech that our troops are "going after al Qaeda around the globe." That is simply a falsehood. In Libya we are standing four-square with al Qaeda as it attempts to overthrow Qaddafi.
This was a feckless speech by a feckless man. It provided no information, no rationale, no strategy, no outcome, and no endgame for this magnificent cluster-whatever.
In the words of one of my platoon sergeants, "I've been to two goat ropes and a county fair and I ain't never seen nothing like this before."