Have you ever wondered aloud what we’re doing in Libya? Have you suggested to your friends that perhaps we shouldn’t put our soldiers under the command of unreliable nations whose motives for acting in Libya are unclear or outright hostile to our own? Do you think that the administration should comply with the War Powers Act and explain its actions to Congress so that our representatives can make informed decisions about funding our efforts there? Would you like a little clarity from President Obama on who we’re fighting for and against and what, if anything, constitutes victory?
QUESTION: It’s a good subject for the floor. (Laughter.) We’ve entered a situation in Libya that looks increasingly quagmire-like. And it’s starting to create a political headache for the Administration with Republican leaders arguing that the actions were inappropriate in the sense that they circumvented congressional approval for them. What is the – your vision for the endgame, a medium-term plan for U.S. involvement in Libya? And what do you make of House Speaker Boehner’s remarks?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, I am going to be testifying tomorrow at great length, probably longer than anyone cares to listen about all of these issues – Brad’s question, your question I’m sure will be fodder for the testimony. But I have to take issue with your underlying premise. I think that there is very clear progress being made in the organization and the operational ability of the opposition, the Transitional National Council, the military efforts on the ground. I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that Qadhafi and the people around him have their backs against the wall. The kind of support that we saw forthcoming for the Libyan opposition at the recent Libyan Contact Group meeting in Abu Dhabi was very heartening. Money is flowing, other support is available.
So I know we live in a hyper-information-centric world right now, and March seems like it’s a decade ago, but by my calendar, it’s only months. And in those months, we have seen an international coalition come together unprecedented between not only NATO, but Arab nations, the Arab League, and the United Nations. This is something that I don’t think anyone could have predicted, but it is a very strong signal as to what the world expects to have happen, and I say with all respect that the Congress is certainly free to raise any questions or objections, and I’m sure I will hear that tomorrow when I testify.
But the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Qadhafi’s side or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been created to support them? For the Obama Administration, the answer to that question is very easy.
As both Victor Davis Hanson and Ed Driscoll noted, it takes an exceptional amount of gall for the Secretary of State to question the patriotism of those who challenge the administration when not all that long ago, she was the one preaching “dissent is patriotic”.
But let me take her question seriously for a moment. Whose side are we on in Libya? The Secretary of State would have us believe the fight is simple: the tyrannical Gaddafi against the freedom-loving Libyan people. Is that really the case? Three months ago, no one in the administration could say for sure that we even knew who the rebel leaders were. The President said we did, Hillary Clinton said we didn’t, and various administration officials wobbled all over the place on the subject like a bunch of Weebles on a ship’s deck. Even if the administration has sorted out who is a good rebel and who is a member of al-Qaeda, freshly returned home after a little vacation spent killing our soldiers in Iraq, they sure as heck haven’t told us.
In fact, those of us in the cheap seats — you know, the American people who are supposed to be getting occasional updates on little matters like war — are still where we were at the end of March. The paragraph I wrote then still applies.
So, here’s what we know so far. In days or weeks we’ll hand over the leadership we don’t have of this war that’s not a war, the object of which is to remove Muammar Qadaffi from power but not any time soon or not even at all, to one of our coalition partners who may or may not still be a coalition partner so we can begin our exit strategy that’s not an exit strategy.
I have no idea whose side I’m on in Libya because I don’t know what the sides are and neither, I suspect, does anyone else, including Hillary Clinton. We remain ignorant because Hillary Clinton and her boss Barack Obama has chosen to leave us almost completely in the dark.
Pointing that out then demanding the administration do its duty under the law is not unpatriotic, no matter what our Secretary of State says. It’s responsible citizenship and we should keep doing it until they tell us what we need to know.
Category: The World At Large