Jewish World Review March 23, 2011 17 Adar II, 5771
Obama Goes for the War Trifecta
By Roger Simon
President Barack Obama has invented his own definition of triangulation: It now means stretching our military resources between three separate wars.
And the cost of our new war in Libya, estimated by some to be $100 million per day? Forgedda about it. Ain't we the richest, most prosperous nation on the earth? Well, actually, we aren't. But we will be again someday! (If we could just stop fighting these wars.)
President Obama inherited the first two wars he is fighting. But Libya is all his. True, the White House does not want to call it a war, and much of the mainstream media have gone along.
Watching the "NBC Nightly News" the other day, I heard Libya called a "military action." Sure it is. Just like Korea was a "police action." Some 33,700 Americans lost their lives fighting in Korea, and I am sure it seemed like a war to them.
But President Obama cannot admit that we are fighting a war because candidate Obama said in 2007, "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,"
But Obama has now launched such an attack even though the civil war in Libya clearly does not involve a threat to America. That's OK, however, the White House says, because Libya is not a real war. It may walk like a duck and talk like a duck, but it is not a duck. (Let's just hope it doesn't turn out to be a turkey.)
"This is a limited — in terms of scope, duration and task — operation, which does fall in the president's authorities," says Tom Donilon, Obama's national security advisor.
Congress is now whining about this — Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, says this "would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense" — but Congress will do nothing. Congress has not stood up for its constitutional authority to declare war since World War II, and it is not about to stand up on its hind legs now.
In Egypt, we saw hundreds of thousands of civilians throng the streets. The police and military joined them, and thus a dictator was toppled.
In Libya we have not seen this. We have seen small bands of young men equipped with automatic weapons who seem to enjoy firing them into the air for the news cameras. (Personally, I would advise the rebels to save their ammunition.)
Who are the rebels? Who is arming them? What is their agenda? What kind of government — democratic, religious fundamentalist, terrorist — will replace Moammar Gadhafi? We do not know. Those parts of Operation Odyssey Dawn — the first military operation named after a stripper, as David Letterman dryly put it — are not specified.
To an American electorate who thought Obama might become the next Franklin Roosevelt, Obama seems on his way to becoming the next Teddy Roosevelt. Obama launches a war and then takes off to see the Andes! Bully, very bully! (Though Teddy Roosevelt, who unabashedly loved the adrenalin of war, never presided over one as president. And he won the Nobel Prize in 1906 for negotiating a peace treaty between Russia and Japan, becoming the first American to win a Nobel in any category.)
President Obama already has his Nobel, so I guess he doesn't have to worry about the difficult task of peace treaties. Instead, he is going for the trifecta: military victories in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
You know how often trifectas pay off? Not often. But if Obama pulls this off, he enters the history books as a three-time winner.
I sure hope he is stopping at three, anyway.
The president has assured us that no U.S. ground forces will fight in Libya (I guess only our air forces are expendable), but we must get rid of Gadhafi, though we are not targeting Gadhafi. After all, Gadhafi is a dictator who is shooting his own civilian population. Just like the dictator in Bahrain is shooting his own civilian population. But we are not going to send any jets over Bahrain.
Why not? National Security Advisor Donilon once again provides the answer: "Bahrain is a very different case. There's no — there's not a comparison between Bahrain and Libya. Bahrain has been a longtime ally of the United States of America and a longtime partner."
Oh, well, now I get it. If you are a longtime partner of the United States, you can shoot down your people in the streets like dogs. But if you are not a longtime partner, we will come and bomb you.
Sort of encourages countries to become our longtime partners, doesn't it?
And you thought our foreign policy didn't make sense.
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© 2009, Creators Syndicate