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April 29, 2013
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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
March 29, 2011
23 Adar II, 5771
Obama's BAM! ZAP! and POW!
It was “Mission Accomplished” but without the banner.
In a strong, almost pugnacious, speech last night, President Barack Obama said he had achieved his initial goals in Libya. “So for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear: the United States of America has done what we said we would do,” he said.
Slashing the air with his left hand, he used language that was not only robust, but martial: “We struck regime forces….We hit Gaddafi’s troops….We targeted tanks.”
BAM! ZAP! POW!
Obama admitted that he militarily intervened in Libya even though America was not at any risk. “There will be times…when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are,” he said.
And that is why we are fighting in Libya. Our interest is to have a stable world and our values are to promote democracy and to prevent a “massacre” in Libya and “violence on a horrific scale.”
“We must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: our opposition to violence directed against one’s own citizens; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people,” Obama said.
Which you could call the Obama Doctrine, except we hold so few countries to it, including dictatorships that we not only do business with, but whom we also call friends and allies, that it doesn’t deserve that title.
But Libya is the right enemy at the right time because we think we can defeat Moammar Qadhafi on the cheap - - that is by using air power alone - - and supporting rebel forces.
Make no mistake, Libya is ruled by a “tyrant,” Obama said, who “has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world - - including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.”
“In the past,” Obama said, “we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day.”
Qadhafi is a monster. This is undisputable. Though the European Union has been selling him weapons since 2004, the same year President George W. Bush lifted a U.S. trade embargo against the monster.
And so as we begin our third on-going military adventure in the Mideast, we know who the bad guy is. But who are the good guys? Who are the rebels? What do they want? And what kind of government will they form if they get the chance?
On this, Obama was virtually silent. “Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will go to London, where she will meet with the Libyan opposition and consult with more than thirty nations,” he said.
So I guess it will be up to Hillary to find out who the good guys are. Though she still may be baffled. We sometimes make mistakes about whom we are talking to. Our intelligence as regards to the Middle East is still a little sketchy.
We went to war in Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that did not exist and, years later, knowing we had to get better spies, we were caught by surprise by the popular uprising in Egypt. (And when, by the way, during his 30-year reign in Egypt, did we tell Hosni Mubarak, our good friend and ally, that we would not tolerate his violation of our “core principles”?)
But we had to act. If we had not “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,” Obama said.
This is the new Domino Theory. In the Sixties, we said if the communists took over South Vietnam, Japan would follow and then Australia and then we would be battling men in black-clad pajamas on the Golden Gate bridge.
Today, our new Domino Theory states that refugees from Libya would de-stabilize Tunisia and Egypt. I don’t know about Tunisia, but having been to Cairo, I think you could slip a few hundred thousand refugees in there and nobody even would notice.
No matter. “As we speak,” the president said, “our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda around the globe.”
Mission accomplished. But ongoing.
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