After the President’s Libya Speech, I Still Have Questions

| March 29, 2011 | Comments (0)

Last night, President Obama did his best impression of an embarrassed schoolboy handing in a two-week late term paper he hastily finished the night before and told us what he thinks we’re doing in Libya and why Operation Air Quotes is the right thing. You can read the speech here and determine for yourself if he accomplished either one.

I’m still pretty confused about the whole thing, which puts me on the opposite side of the fence from John McCain who loved what the President had to say. I have far more questions now than I did before the speech, and the likelihood that I’ll get any answers is only slightly greater than the likelihood that Steve Jobs will hand-deliver a special edition The Delivery iPad 2 to my front door this evening or that Steve Green is entirely sober after last night’s drunk-blogging. I’m going to do my best to get all my questions out during The Delivery tonight, but I wanted to share a few of them, along with some solid articles I’ll be using in my rant (Wait…did I say “rant”? I meant discussion. Yes…discussion!).

Question the First: What, exactly, are we doing in Libya?

The President says that we’re not at war with Muammar Gaddafi; we’re just keeping civilians safe with a No-Fly Zone. But the phrase “No-Fly Zone” isn’t exactly the same as “No-Tank Zone”, “No-Infantry Zone”, or (God forbid!) “No-Mustard Gas Zone”. So even when Gadaffi’s air force is blown into its component elements, we can’t be assured Libya’s civilian population is safe because he’s still in power and still has ground forces he can use. The obvious solution is to either kill Gaddafi or drive him forcibly from power, but the President has said repeatedly that’s the one thing we won’t do. So what are we doing? Victor David Hanson and Nick Gillespie have some thoughts along the same lines.

Question the Second: Is there an Obama Doctrine?

I’m tempted to say there is no such thing as an Obama Doctrine for our foreign policy, but Daniel Foster might have found it tucked away in the speech. I’m not exactly sure this works because, so far as I can see, the President’s foreign policy principles are simpler. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that this administration will only use the power of the United States where our allies direct and only in such quantity as they require. We’ll take no direct action, military or otherwise, on our own because that would be, well, Bush-like. I think that’s still too simple, though. Barack Obama’s thinking is seldom simple and straight-line. As I said before, he doesn’t think around corners so much as he thinks around tesseracts. Somewhere in his administration’s Byzantine and apparently contradictory comments on Libya the past few days is a policy foundation. It’s entirely possible we haven’t drilled down far enough to find it. Jennifer Rubin wrestled with this question in her post here.

Question the Baffling: Who are these rebels we’re helping?

I have yet to hear anyone from the administration tell us who the Libyan rebels are. We know that some of them, at least, are members of al-Qaeda who have been killing our soldiers in Iraq. We don’t know how many of them there are nor do we know whether they’re leading the rebellion or just came home to help topple Gaddafi. The President didn’t name any individuals or specific groups involved. Now, it’s possible he didn’t want to put any specific rebellion leaders in danger, but I’d say that cat is well out of the bag considering that at least one of them has gone public in the international media. So why doesn’t the American public have any of these names, straight from the President? If we’re going to spend our soldiers to aid the rebellion, we should certainly know the names of the people involved. Of course, that assumes the rebel leaders are people we’d want to help if we knew about them. There is the distinct possibility that they aren’t, and the President has committed us to war, on behalf of our allies, to help people who have done little in their lives but try to kill our fellow Americans. That would be very bad indeed.

TwitterFacebookStumbleUponGoogle BookmarksDeliciousFriendFeedTechnorati FavoritesGoogle GmailRedditWordPressShare

Other Posts of Interest:

Tags: , , ,

Category: Alliances and Allies, No More Tyrants, Our Friends, The Europeans

About Jimmie: View author profile.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

 characters available
Performance Optimization WordPress Plugins by W3 EDGE