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Reaction to the Libyan NFZ decision

Lots to talk about, both domestically and internationally in terms of reaction to the No Fly Zone imposition.

First and foremost is the effect thus far.  Seemingly not much if some reports are to be believed.  Apparently 112 tomahawk missiles were launched against around 20 targets.  If you’re wondering why so many against so few targets, the answer is the type of targets they were used against.  My understanding is they were fired against air defense missile batteries.  Those type targets are spread out with command and control in one place, acquisition radars in another and the actual launchers in even another area.  So “servicing” such a target with 5 t-hawks is not excessive.

But, that said, there are reports that Gadhafi’s forces are still advancing into Benghazi and other areas.

Secondly, and this was almost predictable, the Arab League has criticized the US and allies for the initial campaign.  Yes, the same Arab League that has been calling for the establishment of an NFZ for a couple of weeks.  Reason for the criticism?  The strikes are reported to have killed … civilians.  Of course the primary reason for the NFZ was to prevent further killing of civilians by troops loyal to Gadhafi.

Arab League head Amr Moussa told reporters Sunday that the Arab league thought the use of force was excessive following an overnight bombing campaign that Libya claims killed at least 48 people.

"What we want is civilians’ protection, not shelling more civilians," he said.

Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but tomahawks are an area type weapon that really aren’t at all discerning about the target. They’re told to go to a particular place and do their thing. Whatever is in that area is not going to like the result. The problem, of course, is if your intel isn’t good and it goes to a place full of civilians, well, the result will be dead civilians.

That apparently has happened in the case of some of the t-hawk missiles launched yesterday.

We all understand "collateral damage", but when the entire purpose of the mission is to prevent such "collateral damage", it doesn’t do well for that mission to then cause it. Should it continue, we’ll see a dwindling coalition, especially among the Arab faction. And you can count on Gadhafi to propagandize the results to the max. Think Saddam’s "Baby Milk Factory".

Here at home, well, it has been an interesting set of reactions. Most Congressional Democrats, to include Nancy Pelosi, have held their nose and backed the President’s decision. But not all of them. The anti-war Congressional liberal caucus has condemned the decision.

A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya, with one lawmaker raising the prospect of impeachment during a Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

That’s quite a coterie of liberals.  Of course I’m pretty sure the war powers act covers the Constitutionality angle, however, Obama can certainly expect to hear from these people in the coming days and weeks.   Kucinich thinks that firing the missiles are an impeachable offense.

And liberals fumed that Congress hadn’t been formally consulted before the attack and expressed concern that it would lead to a third U.S. war in the Muslim world.

I especially enjoyed Charles Rangel’s point about all of this:

"Our presidents seem to believe that all we have to do is go to the U.N. and we go to war," Rangel said

Precisely so.

I expect those who didn’t agree the Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force for Iraq constituted a declaration of war to be much more upset by this.  Firing missiles into Libya at the behest of whatever global body “authorized” it is still an act of war.  In the case of both Iraq (in violation of the cease fire) and Afghanistan (harboring the NGO that attacked the US) there was a much firmer basis for going to war in each place than in Libya.  We’ll see how far those who prosecuted this line of argument against the Bush administration do the same with the Obama administration.

Full disclosure – I’m not anti-war, I’m anti-this war.  I see absolutely no compelling national interest that should involve us in Libya.  I say that so I’m not lumped in with the next two goofs.

Michael Moore and Louis Farrakhan.  Now there’s a pair to draw too.  Moore took to Twitter to vent his displeasure:

It’s only cause we’re defending the Libyan people from a tyrant! That’s why we bombed the Saudis last wk! Hahaha. Pentagon=comedy

And we always follow the French’s lead! Next thing you know, we’ll have free health care & free college! Yay war!

We’ve had a "no-fly zone" over Afghanistan for over 9 yrs. How’s that going? #WINNING !

Khadaffy must’ve planned 9/11! #excuses

Khadaffy must’ve had WMD! #excusesthatwork

Khadaffy must’ve threatened to kill somebody’s daddy! #daddywantedjeb

Moore comes from the terminally naïve “war is never the answer” club.  I certainly agree in this case – it’s not the answer for us.  That said, funny how, as usual, Bush became a source for Moore’s displeasure at the Obama decision.  Although this next Moore tweet did at least make me laugh:

May I suggest a 50-mile evacuation zone around Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize? #returnspolicy

By the way, the article about Moore’s pique mentions the irony of the fact that the strikes in Libya come on the 8th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war.

Meanwhile in Farrakhan land, a question was asked of Obama:

FARRAKHAN: "I warn my brother do you let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the world…Why don’t you organize a group of respected Americans and ask for a meeting with Qaddafi, you can’t order him to step down and get out, who the hell do you think you are?

Well, George Bush, of course.   /s

Andrew Sullivan points out that this is an action that breaks yet another of Obama’s campaign promises:

My point is that Obama made a specific distinction on this in the campaign. And I quote again:

"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."

My only point on this is that the decision to commit military forces in North Africa – made on a dime in one Tuesday meeting – is a direct breaking of that campaign promise.

And, in this case, Sullivan is actually right – there is no “actual or imminent threat to the nation” from or concerning Libya.  None.

Times Square in NYC saw a sprinkling of anti-war protesters outside a military recruiting station:

An anti-war demonstration in Times Square that was meant to mark the eighth anniversary of the Iraq invasion quickly became a protest against the military strikes on Libya Saturday.

About 80 protesters gathered near the U.S. military recruiting center in Times Square, chanting "No to war!" and carrying banners that read, "I am not paying for war" and "Butter not guns." A quartet of women in flowered hats who called themselves the Raging Grannies sang: "No more war, we really mean it!"

Of course they should have been staging their protest outside of Hillary Clinton’s home since she apparently was the moving force in taking us to war while the SecDef Gates opposed it.

Finally, and this is just another example of poor leadership – you don’t commit your nation to war, and make no mistake that’s precisely what this is- and put young American men and women in harm’s way  and then gallivant off to Rio.

As they like to say nowadays, it’s the “optics” of the thing.  And in this case, the optics are poor.  He’s decided that the priority for our nation is to attack Libya, but his priority is, instead of postponing a trip that could be conducted another time, to continue on to Brazil even while his nation goes to war.

Yeah, about that, not good.  Not good at all.

~McQ

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19 Responses to Reaction to the Libyan NFZ decision

  • The longer the operation drags on the greater the chance, strange as it may seem, that the Duck of Death will attract support. He certainly will, from all the fringe elements and crackpots of the world. Louis Farrakhan today came out in support of Khadaffi and so has Chavez. Farrakhan said that “they would love to go into Libya and kill brother Khadaffi and his children as they did to Saddam Hussein.” Obama faced hostile leftist crowds in Brazil.  Even Joan Baez has recently expressed her misgivings.  If a humanitarian crisis occurs in Libya, these protests will redouble; it will not matter whether it was authorized by the Security Council or led by France. It will be, as it always is, America’s fault .

    I am strangely reminded of the Tar Baby…

  • This is gonna be HILARIOUS…………. and the best part?  There’s not a single Republican within 50 miles of this decision for the Dems to LIE about and try to pin it on.  Obama owns this, including the 48  poor innocent civilians whose blood is now all over his hands.

    “Obama lied, Libyans died!”
    “Obama set up a war for our nation, then went to Rio for a vacation”
    “Our troops are fighting around gulf, while Obama plays another round of golf”
    “No blood for rebels!”

    • No MSM interest. No grim milestones. No troops on the ground yet.
      I think the two things that would be politically dangerous would be:

      long, drawn-out stalemate
      or
      lots of civilian casualties

      If we just keep interdicting the road to Benghazi I don’t see too many casualties.. Stalemate is the bigger problem, but how long and Qadafi hold out without oil revenue?

      • We went down the road with Saddam.  We made life worse for the people of Iraq and changed nothing about its leader.

  • Actually, I’m sort of impressed, I thought all you had to do to get the left to sign off on war was to have absolutely no American self interest involved.
    I saw a report that French jets had struck an armored column and have been asking “What’s with the flying tanks?” Then I read your article on the “new UN principle” R2P.
    Can we now place “Defund the UN” higher on our list? Because if we adhere to that concept coming from those oligarchs , they will drain us dry supporting anti-Americanisms everywhere. And it will be a feature not a bug.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/eddriscoll/2011/03/20/code-pink-where-are-you/

    Does Obama consult with the US Congress?  Bush did that, remember?  Does he ask Congress for an expression of support for the use of military power?   Bush, did that, and we still hear from the left that he got insufficient authorization.  No.  Obama and Clinton get permission from the UN, the EU, and the Arab League instead.  I guess when you’re a liberal, that’s all that counts. No need to bother with the Congress or in making a case to the American people.
    So, now we are in a war with no clear objective: Is it to establish a “No Fly Zone,” or get Qaddafi out? What if we get a NFZ, which our military will establish quickly, but Qaddafi doesn’t go or continues his war without aircraft? What then? Are we on the hook to protect Libyans from Libyans? How long before the pictures of dead and dying Libyans, supposedly killed by our missiles and bombs, have the UN, the Euros, and the Arab League backing out? Guess who will get left holding the bag of sand?
    Code Pink, where are you?

    Heh!  Good question.

  • History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farse.

    There seem to be about five different policies afoot today. One minute, because there’s no real national security interest, it’s a humanitarian mission, the next it looks like we’re backing the rebels. Qaddafi has to go. Qaddafi might stay. We’ve got former CIA al Qaeda specialist Scheuer out today saying that al Qaeda is among if not in control of the rebels and that, ironically, is what Qaddafi says in his letter to Obama (which was a bizarre letter).

    So it will be interesting to see what this turns into when the wave function collapses. It’s a very postmodern mission, especially with the French carrying the perfume.

  • And Obama and Qaddafi are both carrying themselves with equal dignity. Perhaps our wonderful president has met his match on the world stage.

    • The latest is that Gates is saying the U.S. will hand off the lead role in Libya in a matter of days.

      I guess the overnight polls didn’t look good.

      • I suspect we are just doing the initial strikes and then the Frogs and the Brits will actually do all the ground strikes. We will probably do the air patrol.
        If they just keep bombing anything that rolls up the highway to Benghazi, this could be pretty easy to pull off even for the Europeans.

      • I’ll believe that when it happens.

  • What is especially disappointing is that if this had been Bush instead of Obama, we could probably have avoided doing most of this.  Obama failed through his indecision on this (and nearly everything else) to cash in on “the threat” of the use of force.  He has taken the threat of the use of force off the table as a first move more than once, that the threat was gone.
    Bush got Libya to drop their nuclear program based entirely on the thread that Bush was crazy enough to use force.  Our clone of Tuvok has no military Arab “street cred.”

  • Sullivan only partially quoted Obama.  The full quote from December 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.
    As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

  • Obama further stated in his 2002 Anti War speech:

    That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
    Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.
    He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
    But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

    I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda.

    • That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Qadhafi. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN calls for protecting civilians, attacked opposition groups, and coveted absolute power. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Libyan people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Qadhafi poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Libyan economy is in shambles, that the Libyan military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Qadhafi will require a US action of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

      I know that an invasion of Qadhafi without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda.

       

  • Strike against Libian forces is not acceptable

  • Can somebody tell me why the Euros are doing this?  They – especially the French – have never showed any particular concern for “civilian casualties” before, especially not in Africa or the ME.  In this case, however, they acted quickly and all but unilaterally: when’s the last time we saw a UN resolution about the use of force go through the UN so quickly?

    When I think about the French proclivity to sell anything to anybody (and, by extension, do anything to protect their markets) AND the British letting that terrorist go in a pretty obvious quid pro quo to get their hands and Ghaddaffi’s oil… Well, it doesn’t seem to me to hard to put one and one together.

    So, they get to have their little war for oil.  Maybe they’ve already cut a deal with the rebels… whoever they are.  And best of all is that they got Uncle Sugar to take the blame for any civilian casualties or other foul-ups.

    And why DID The Dear Golfer go along?  After literally years of posturing against Bush’s wars in particular and wars not CLEARLY in America’s best interests in general, why did he suddenly agree to go along with the Frenchies and Brits?  What’s in it for him?

    Something stinks to high heavens here, and MiniTru and the Congress seem remarkably uncurious.

  • The Libyan intervention has now begun and I am afraid that the end of the war is not in sight. I hope the US learned the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. The country is involved in another war, but this time it can’t afford to waste such amounts of money as it is still not out of a crisis.

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