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A Half-Assed Kinetic Military Action

March 30th, 2011 by Myrhaf · No Comments · Foreign Affairs, Politics

There is one line in Obama’s speech on Monday justifying military action in Libya that stands out, amongst a lot of illogic and contradictions, as the real reason:

…I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

The prospect of emotionally wrenching pictures of suffering was too much for the President. Obama is not worried about logical arguments, but the emotionalist thinkers who look at pictures out of context and ask, “Why didn’t we do something?”

Take this passage:

Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

He asserts that a massacre in Libya is not in our national interest, but gives no reasons. Why does he think Americans will accept a non sequitur? He expects his audience to think emotionally rather than rationally. A fuzzy thinker listening out of focus would feel bad about the massacre, and therefore agree that it’s not in the national interest to let it happen.

Here is another incoherent passage:

Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gadhafi 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. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.

Now, just as there are those who have argued against intervention in Libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Gadhafi and usher in a new government.

Of course, there is no question that Libya — and the world — would be better off with Gadhafi 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.

So we don’t want repressive leaders to conclude that violence is the best strategy to cling to power, but we’ll let Gadhafi cling to power.

Others, such as Thomas Sowell and Melanie Phillips have written about Obama’s incoherence.

The more I read the more I’m struck by how half-assed this kinetic military action is. We could end up with jihadist regimes in Egypt and Libya, with billions of dollars in oil money — not to mention foreign aid dollars from American taxpayers — at their command to fund terrorism against us. What then?

Further half-assedness from the Obama administration:

Challenged on whether Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in attacking Libya without congressional approval, Clinton told lawmakers that White House lawyers were OK with it and that Obama has no plans to seek an endorsement from Congress, attendees told POLITICO.

Allahpundit muses on this,

Isn’t he required under the War Powers Act to seek congressional authorization after 60 days of hostilities? Or is this guy so intent on waging war whether Congress likes it or not that he’d go to court to try to have the WPA ruled unconstitutional? Normally I’d dismiss that possibility as insane given that he did, after all, run in ’08 on his anti-war cred and that not even a Republican president would dare pull a move like that amid bipartisan clamoring for accountability, but I don’t know that anything can be safely ruled out at this point.

The half-assedness is not just in America. Over in France,

Sarkozy won a fair measure of praise for being the first leader to recognize the Libyan opposition as the legitimate leadership of the country – but even that may come back to haunt him if things go wrong. Sarkozy’s decision was taken almost on the spur of the moment, and under the spectacular brow-beating of mediagenic philosopher Bernard-Henri LÉvy, who decided to make crusading to protect the Libyan opposition a re-make of his 1990 campaign as the savior of the Bosnians during the Balkan war. Sarkozy reportedly did so without even consulting his newly-named Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe (who was said to have been both hostile to the move and aghast that a media star had taken his role as France’s top diplomat). “There may heavy consequences,” says Bitar, “when a president makes decisions based on input by celebrities.”

(Emphasis added.)

This whole thing was started by a French philosopher? If I believed in God, that would be enough bring me to my knees in prayer.

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