President Barack Obama has approved the use of armed drones in Libya, authorizing U.S. airstrikes on ground forces for the first time since America turned over control of the operation to NATO on April 4.
It also is the first time that drones will be used for airstrikes since the conflict began on March 19, although they have routinely been flying surveillance missions, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing Thursday.
Do we get to call Obama out on the lies about this Libyan war yet? Wasn’t NATO taking over the Libyan operation? Is our national media even paying attention?
I hope Colonel Gaddafi doesn’t read the New York Times:
As the struggle with Colonel Qaddafi threatened to settle into a stalemate, the rebel government here was showing growing strains that imperil its struggle to complete a revolution and jeopardize requests for foreign military aid and recognition.
In an appearance Sunday on “State of the Union” on CNN, Gen. James L. Jones, President Obama’s former national security adviser, said that the United States “is buying space for the opposition to get organized.”
But a White House official said last week that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was extremely reluctant to send arms to the rebels “because of the unknowns” about who they are, their backgrounds and motivations.
“It’s a moment in time where there is no real clarity,” said General Jones, who is now a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “But the things being worked on are being worked on to get that clarity.”
The war that was supposed to last “days” is now heading into its third week and, despite early gains by the rebels, the war is not going according to plan. Again we are obligated to ask of the Obama administration and his war machine, what now?
CBS News is reporting that despite advances made by the rebels, with the help of coalition air-strikes, the rebels are being pushed back:
Libya’s rebel forces continued to struggle against Muammar Qaddafi’s superior firepower on the ground, as the United States and other allies consider whether to supply them with weapons.
The rebels have given up nearly all the ground they have gained after allied airstrikes took out some of Qaddafi’s heavy weapons. Now government forces are changing tactics, leaving behind the armed military vehicles and moving in armed pickup trucks like the opposition does, reports CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark. That makes it difficult for coalition forces overhead to distinguish who’s who on the ground.
Faced with a series of setbacks after recent gains, the rebels now are starting to show their combat fatigue, reports Clark Outgunned and often outflanked in the field, they lack any sort of military strategy or leadership. They are eager to take ground, but are quick to flee when they face any real fighting. The reality is that a rebel military victory seems increasingly unlikely.
That’s just fracking great. It seems the question that lingers in debating Obama’s
War in Libya kinetic military action is what now?
Everyone knows this, or should know it anyway:
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that Libya did not pose a threat to the United States before the U.S. began its military campaign against the North African country.
On “This Week,” ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asked Gates, “Do you think Libya posed an actual or imminent threat to the United States?”
“No, no,” Gates said in a joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “It was not — it was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest and it was an interest for all of the reasons Secretary Clinton talked about. The engagement of the Arabs, the engagement of the Europeans, the general humanitarian question that was at stake,” he said.
How does the White House reconcile this with the fact that President Obama has authorized the use of US military in the war on Libya? The War Powers Act allows for the deployment of our military when the country is threatened. Our Secretary of Defense has acknowledged no such threat exists. So exactly when did we elect Barack Obama as King?
From the same Jake Tapper interview, this time from Secretary of State Clinton:
Tapper asked Clinton, “Why not got to Congress?”
“Well, we would welcome congressional support,” the Secretary said, “but I don’t think that this kind of internationally authorized intervention where we are one of a number of countries participating to enforce a humanitarian mission is the kind of unilateral action that either I or President Obama was speaking of several years ago.”
Clinton jumped in to offer an extended justification for going to war. “Did Libya attack us?” she asked. “No, they did not attack us. Do they have a very critical role in this region and do they neighbor two countries — you just mentioned one, Egypt, the other Tunisia — that are going through these extraordinary transformations and cannot afford to be destabilized by conflict on their borders? Yes. Do they have a major influence on what goes on in Europe because of everything from oil to immigration?”
At that point, Clinton suggested that the U.S. went to war to repay NATO allies for support in Afghanistan. “We asked our NATO allies to go into Afghanistan with us ten years ago,” she said. “They have been there, and a lot of them have been there despite the fact that they were not attacked. The attack came on us…They stuck with us. When it comes to Libya, we started hearing from the UK, France, Italy, other of our NATO allies…This was in their vital national interest…”
This is the real Obama Doctrine of American non-exceptionalism in action. Having no sense of exceptionalism means not having to take action, and not having to take any leadership role in what goes on. Oh, but we will send our military when other countries interests are at stake.
Isn’t it amazing how this new brand of non-exceptionalist, leftist Democrats suddenly have the backbone to use our military, the same military they loathe so much, at the drop of a hat? Or at least, when there’s an election in less than two years?
Are there protests in the streets yet calling for an end to this imperialist Presidency?
This should come as no surprise to anybody:
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25″ men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.
Was President Obama aware of any of this before he started a war with Libya?
The President last Friday, before the bombs started falling:
“Muammar Qaddafi has a choice,” Obama said. “The resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. That means all attacks against civilians must stop. Qaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Adjadbiya, Misrata and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.”
That’s pretty emphatic.
As of a few hours ago, the Washington Post ran a piece with this inevitable headline:
Allied strikes pummel Libya’s air force but do little to stop attacks on civilians
From said story:
The Libyan military’s attacks and the mounting civilian deaths call into question whether the internationally imposed no-fly zone can achieve its goal of protecting civilians, let alone help loosen Gaddafi’s grip on power. It seemed unlikely that the coalition, which has argued in recent days over the scope and leadership of the allied mission, would countenance a significant escalation.
President Obama was clear in what the
original mission was for his Libyan adventure–the protection of civilians and a cease-fire. Now we read that the stated goal is not being achieved with the no-fly zone these targeted air strikes.
So now what? Marines wading onto the shores of Tripoli? Really? I’m hoping that this is over and done with as soon as possible, because the longer this goes on, the more the likelihood that the Obama plan is not working and then things will really start to get ugly.
Prime Minister David Cameron has made his case before Britain’s House of Commons, which voted overwhelmingly in support of the Libyan War, with a final tally of 557-13.
A bit late, as military action had begun three days before, but we can allot some points to the Brits on that note. At least they’re putting together some semblance of how checks and balances in government should work in a time of war.
President Barack Obama, on the other hand, was in South America working on his bicycle kick:
The contrast in leadership styles is stunning, wouldn’t you say?
The UN resolution on Libya appears to generate more questions than answers:
“The goal is to protect civilians first of all, and not to invade or occupy,” [WIlliam Hague, UK Foreign Secretary] said. “The resolution is clear on that point … we don’t want any side to go too far, including Libya, by attacking the civilian population.”
It’s plain that whichever way the stated aims of the intervention are defined, achieving them will be highly problematic. The least of them – a genuine ceasefire – would effectively freeze the current confrontation in place, with rival camps entrenched in the east and west. The conflict could degenerate into a prolonged stalemate, as in the Korean peninsula or Georgia. Meaningful negotiation would be impossible while Gaddafi remained in power.
Interventionists cannot achieve Gaddafi’s removal, another key aim, by force of arms, bar a ground invasion or a lucky shot. (The same goes for democratic governance.) The west is relying instead on more mass defections, an army mutiny or a palace coup – what analyst Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute has called “regime breakdown”.
The countries who supported the resolution already look uneasy and squeamish about military action to begin with (with the exception of the French, who suddenly have taken the mantle of world’s cowboy from the United States for the time being). They waited until the last possible moment, when Gaddafi had come roaring back against the rebels, and appeared on the verge of retaking Benghazi. All while the rebels had been begging for assistance from the West. This is standard fare coming from the United Nations.
But what’s the endgame? The military action would have to pound Gaddafi’s defenses to the point where they will no longer be a threat, but that would risk casualties, as the world watches.
And a cease-fire would mean what exactly? The resolution-supporting nations have condemned Gaddafi for the violence against the rebels and civilians. Does a cease-fire absolve him of all that?
I’m convinced that listening to Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech — not the words, but the man — were more than a few young Arabs who were saying to themselves: “Hmmm, let’s see. He’s young. I’m young. He’s dark-skinned. I’m dark-skinned. His middle name is Hussein. My name is Hussein. His grandfather is a Muslim. My grandfather is a Muslim. He is president of the United States. And I’m an unemployed young Arab with no vote and no voice in my future.” I’d put that in my mix of forces fueling these revolts.
That was Tom Friedman in a recent column. What he writes must be true, because like, Friedman writes for the Times and is therefore, like, super smart.
Unfortunately for Friedman, he still thinks his 2009 fantasies are still valid, because 2011 has an alternate reality:
A coalition of six youth groups that emerged from Egypt’s revolution last month has refused to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Cairo earlier today, in protest of the United States’ strong support for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who was ousted by the uprising.
“There was an invitation for members of the coalition to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but based on her negative position from the beginning of the revolution and the position of the US administration in the Middle East, we reject this invitation,” the January 25 Revolution Youth Coalition said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
Apparently, these young Egyptian rebels didn’t listen to Barack Hussein Obama’s speech in Cairo, despite the fact that they only live there. Unlike Friedman’s fantasies, they did indeed have a voice in their future, and they made change happen on the streets of Cairo. All of that, in spite of Barack Hussein Obama, not because of him. Can you blame the Egyptians in giving the administration a big “thanks, but no thanks”?
And this is in Egypt, where the revolution went off relatively smooth, as Mubarak washed his hands of the whole thing and went on his permanent vacation. Imagine how the young revolutionaries in Libya feel right now? As Colonel Qaddafi is steam-rolling the rebels, murdering his own people, while President Speechmaker’s administration and the world community dawdle over what’s appropriate.
We were told all along that Obama would take a more “pragmatic” approach to the Muslim world. No more pissing off Muslims with military interventions that would just tick them off even more than they already were. No, we were told, they hated us because of George Bush and the neocons. Well, Obama made his nation building speech. A lot of good that did.
The Obama administration has painted itself into a bit of a corner:
[T]he State Department and the Pentagon have been adopting positions that would make intervention to change that military balance difficult, if not virtually impossible. On Monday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said an arms embargo included in the U.N. resolution meant that “it’s a violation for any country to provide arms to anyone in Libya,” including the rebels. On Tuesday Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that “it’s very important that there be a U.N. decision on whatever might be done,” including imposing a no-fly zone. [...]
It’s beginning to look as if what Mr. Obama has “engineered” is a situation in which the United States and its closest allies have declared that a dictator must go “as quickly as possible” – and have not only constrained themselves from ensuring that outcome but are actively hindering it by refusing to provide arms to the opposition. So far the United States has not even recognized the opposition administration set up in Benghazi – even though the White House has said repeatedly that Mr. Gaddafi’s regime is no longer legitimate.
Mr. Obama, who skipped a meeting of his top aides on Libya Wednesday, may hope that the Libyan rebels will defeat the Gaddafi forces without outside help – or that other Western governments will provide the leadership that he is shunning. Meetings of NATO, the European Union and the Arab League in the next several days may produce decisions that loosen the straitjacket the administration has applied to itself. If not, the world will watch as Mr. Gaddafi continues to massacre his people, while an American president who said that he must go fails to implement any strategy for making that happen.
I’m not sure that the United States has any reason to interfere in a Libyan civil war, especially one that would warrant military intervention, unilaterally or otherwise. The problem is that as soon as the President made it the position of the United States that Qaddafi needed to go, he needs to back that up. The Libyan revolt began while the Mubarak regime closed up shop in Egypt, and I can only assume that team Obama felt that Qaddafi would leave just as easily, as the protests grew.
If that’s the case, the Obama administration is just as inept and clueless as previously feared, and probably even more so.