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Obama Speech: Welcome to the role of world rent-a-cop

That’s essentially the role we’ve assumed according to President Obama.  We have a “duty” to respond to a potential humanitarian crisis like that which was developing in Libya.  Just not in Iran or Syria or, well, North Korea where the population is starving because of its government.

Let’s be clear about its application.  John Dickerson of Slate lays it out pretty well:

The statement that had sounded like a bold doctrine — that what guides a U.S. decision to intervene is not just threats to our safety, but threats to ‘our interests and values’ — came with an asterisk that led to some fine print at the bottom of the speech: Offer valid only if it’s a relatively easy military mission and we have a lot of allies and we only share a limited amount of the burden."

So the people of Iran, Syria and North Korea and other “potential humanitarian crisis” hot spots which may bring difficulties in other areas need not apply.

As for the claim that we’re stepping back and letting others run the show?  Pure artifice:

In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show.

Lets look at a few facts about the matter:

The United States supplies 22 percent of NATO’s budget, almost as much as the next largest contributors – Britain and France – combined. A Canadian three-star general was selected to be in charge of all NATO operations in Libya. His boss, the commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples, is an American admiral, and the admiral’s boss is the supreme allied commander Europe, a post always held by an American.

So, as usual from this administration, we get words that just don’t really mean what you think they mean when you get into the details of the claim.  I know, you’re surprised.  NATO is and has been run by the US since its inception and this operation will be no different regardless of who they put in a figurehead role.

Obama also claimed the mission was “narrowly focused on saving lives”.   Pure nonsense to anyone who understand what has been deployed and what is being attacked:

Despite insistences that the operation is only to protect civilians, the airstrikes now are undeniably helping the rebels to advance. U.S. officials acknowledge that the effect of air attacks on Gadhafi’s forces – and on the supply and communications links that support them – is useful if not crucial to the rebels. "Clearly they’re achieving a benefit from the actions that we’re taking," Navy Vice Adm. William Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs, said Monday.

The Pentagon has been turning to air power of a kind more useful than high-flying bombers in engaging Libyan ground forces. So far these have included low-flying Air Force AC-130 and A-10 attack aircraft, and the Pentagon is considering adding armed drones and helicopters.

AC-130s and A-10s are not aircraft used in the maintenance of no-fly zones.   They’re killers.   They hunt and kill vehicles and people.  There’s some conjecture out there that their deployment requires boots on the ground to produce targets for them, but that’s not true.  Both can operate independently without JTAC support on targets of opportunity.

The point, however is the introduction of those type aircraft have nothing to do with a no-fly zone and certainly nothing to do with a “narrowly focused mission” of protecting civilians.  They’re there to kill the opposition – Gadhafi’s soldiers and overthrow the existing regime.

In essence, he’s saying “"If we tried to overthrow Gadhafi by force, our coalition would splinter," and then supporting action to do just that hoping the Arab League won’t notice what is actually afoot.

There was a lot of hypocritical nonsense in the speech as well.  The biggest barf line for me was this:

"Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."

Except for Iraq of course, where even with the well-know atrocities including images of slaughter, mass graves, rape rooms and reports of the regime feeding its citizens through wood chippers, he definitely wanted to turn a blind eye.   And he has turned a blind eye on the atrocities in Iran perpetrated by that regime and is presently turning a blind eye on those in Syria. 

Perhaps the president ought to go back and read his own book:

In his pre-presidential book "The Audacity of Hope," Obama said the U.S. will lack international legitimacy if it intervenes militarily "without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands."

He questioned: "Why invade Iraq and not North Korea or Burma? Why intervene in Bosnia and not Darfur?"

Why indeed, Mr. President – why Libya and not Syria?  So we go back to John Dickerson’s addendum to the Obama Doctrine which in essences says “if its easy and I can score some political points, I might do it – otherwise you’re on your own”.  

So, perhaps understanding the hypocrisy of his position and how it must appear to the American people he said:

"It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs," he said. "But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right."

Again see the Dickerson corollary and substitute “what’s easy” for “what’s right”.

Finally, completely missing from the speech is the end state and exit strategy.  We have no idea.  This could go on for literally years.  To this date it is estimated to have cost the US $600 million.  And, as noted, we may claim to be in the backseat now, but the facts of the matter – the command structure of NATO – point to a entirely different reality.

This adventure – this war – despite his claims otherwise, is not one started because of a threat to any vital interests of the US.   It is again a war that the president claims required our “unique capabilities” to prosecute.

That. Is. Not. A. Legitimate. Reason. To. Go. To. War.

The more we let our allies depend on our “unique capabilities” the less they’ll develop their own.  Why do it when they can “volunteer” the US into doing it?

That’s why:

Just 47 percent of Americans support the U.S. airstrikes, while 36 percent don’t and 17 percent don’t know, according to the Pew poll.

The Gallup Poll found similar results, the lowest level of initial support for a U.S. military action in at least three decades, and the first time in 10 interventions dating to the 1983 invasion of Grenada that a majority of Americans didn’t support the action at the onset.

American’s aren’t fooled by this sort of nonsense anymore.  They understand what is or isn’t in their own vital interests and they further recognize this action doesn’t rise to that level.  Some, who support it, are calling it “pragmatic”.  Others claim it is an eminently “centrist” approach to such problems.  But some are also saying that every word in last night’s speech could have come from George Bush.

Bottom line: this is not a role that the US needs to play and certainly can’t afford to play.  The world is full of inequities, violence and death.  And despite his high sounding rhetoric last night, President Obama had turned a blind eye to plenty of it.  The only time US troops should be deployed and committed to war, such as is now happening in Libya, should be when the vital interests of the US are at stake – a point the candidate Obama made many times prior to assuming the presidency.

Libya doesn’t meet that standard and Obama’s speech last night didn’t make any convincing arguments that it did.  He once said, “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”  Interestingly his first war as Commander in Chief is a “dumb war.”

~McQ

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50 Responses to Obama Speech: Welcome to the role of world rent-a-cop

  • (Moving this comment here from another thread, makes more sense…)

    Now we’ve seen that Obama’s speech is totally at odds with reality and we also learn that A10s and AC130s have been operating to sweep away the Libyan heavy armor and artillery, don’t you think that this is really an exercise whose end goal is the deployment of troops?
    From where I sit it looks like first the coalition did the standard “gain air supremacy” by smashing the Libyan airforce and SEADS operations (under the guide of creating a no fly zone), now they are in full swing wiping out the Libyan heavy armor, artillery and presumably fortifications… doesn’t this imply, in the normal course of war, that troop deployments will be next? It seems to me that by neutralizing the Libyan regular army and depriving the rebels of any real heavy equipment the stage is set to walk in and assume control. Otherwise, they are just going to create a power vacuum in which the country will disintegrate into warring factions.
    Obama seems intent on pretending that these things aren’t happening and his speech discussed the situation a week ago with piss-weak attempts at justifying his illegal declaration of war. Is he really such a weak president that NATO is doing as it merrily pleases without him knowing or even guessing??

    • If we don’t put boots on the ground, we are very likely setting up a takeover by the MB or al Quaida.

      Boots on the ground is expensive, but having the MB or al Quaida in control is moreso (at least long term).

      As I see it this can play out three ways:

      1) Daffy wins. We lose because we supported the other side.

      2) MB or other radicals win. We lose. We look real stupid, worse than ’79 Iran stupid, since we actively supported the worst outcome.

      3) Moderate Arabs win. We win. This appears to be a low probability event. We had to invest quit a bit in Iraq to make it turn out well, and President Present lacks the resolve and leadership for that. We are hoping for a lucky coin toss, essentially, but this is hardly a fair coin . . .

      • Well, didn’t Obama just rule out (3) in his speech? Not that I am taking any word from that effort as gospel or even tangentially approaching what he might decide to do next week…

        But someone must have a plan, is it NATO? Sarkozy?? Clearly not Obama, but someone is directing some sort of campaign.

  • If his standard for going to war is that low, I consider this speech a tacit admission from him that he really was ok with Iraq after all, but was just lying about it gain political advangate.

    Such an empty suit.  Such a pitiful excuse for a man.  Hope and change!

    • Basically, Obama got rolled by the Europeans. “It’s their mess.  This is an after-affect of French and Italian colonialism. The Libya war is neo-colonialism by the Europeans. And the United States is like fraternity pledges that the brothers make mop up the frat house floor on Sunday morning after an all-night kegger that they didn’t attend.” And what is puzzling, if not actually astonishing, is that Barack Obama, who reputedly is of such deep anti-colonialism that he kicked Winston Churchill’s bust all the way from the Oval Office to London, fell for it.

      Actually not that astonishing, he has been trying for two years to remake America to fit into Europe.

    • They are Democrats. Iraq is the bad war, very bad, because it was George Bush’s war, and Bush is a Republican.

      Look at 2002, when 60% of Senate Democrats (including current VP Biden and SoS Clinton) voted for war. 40% of House Dems voted for war. Then look at the reception they gave Gen. Betrayus several years later . . . what a cynical, politcal performance. What utter disregard for US interests.

      There was a valid argument against the war in Iraq. The Democrats never made it, however. They were just dispicable pukes playing for partisan advantage, never mind the cost to the national interest. When it was time to oppose the war, they voted for it. When it was time to win the war (or decide we couldn’t) and find the best path forward, they were AWOL on substance, and playing a cynical political game. While Bush pushed forward with the Surge, showing true leadership.

      There is plenty to not like about the Bush administration, but he was a good man, a patriot, and a leader.

    • This is Obama’s “Sally Struthers moment.”
      Yes, for only 50 missiles a day, you can help a Libyan kid live one more day.

  • I saw the speech as a delusion sandwich.
    On the front end, he talked about “American leadership”.  He was dragged kicking and screaming…or yawning and putting…into this by the Europeans and his Chicki-hawks.
    On the back end, he was telling us Americans will lead from the rear of the vanguard.  I don’t work that way.
    According to what I read this morning, the “allies” have flown about the same number of missions, while we dropped about 4:1 of their bombs.
    As to shark’s point, there is no moral consistency in Collective; everything they say is a lie or a rouse to gain crass political points.
    This is such a pretty demonstration of all that…

    • The Obama Doctrine: Quick Convenient No Risk Humanitarian Intervention Anywhere
      So far, Libya has downed one plane, with no deaths (except the six civilians on the ground who came out to greet one of the crew).

      • That was very much Clinton’s approach. Bombing from 60k ft or launching cruise missles. Or not even responding (the USS Cole, for example). Clinton’s weak responses lead to 9/11.

  • What about Syria?   Why Libya and not Syria?
     

    Syrian security forces have opened fire on anti-government protesters near the city of Daraa, killing at least 20 people, according to one witness.


    http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/deaths_fall_on_syrian_protests_20110325/

    It would seem that the situation in Syria isn’t a lot different than in Lybia.

  • There are many places in the world we can now “attack in a kinetic military operation” to save lives. Under Bush we become the world police, and now under obama we are becoming the … ? Not really sure.
    All I know is if the media was as tough on Obama as they were towards Bush we would have millions in the street and headlines filled with calls for impeachment, he lied, played on our fears, no blood for oil, and more!
    http://herbegerenews.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/obama-must-be-held-accountable/

  • White House aide Samantha Power, a former news reporter turned anti-genocide advocate, said President Obama’s two-year campaign to promote human rights helped trigger the uprising in Libya against Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s rule.

    … so Obama triggered the Libran uprising that demanded international support that prompted Obama to send the US military.
    Sounds like a repeat of the “Bay of Pigs” but this time the US actually showed up … or something ?

    • Ms. Power is sounding a lot like Baghdad Bob.

      • Obviously, The Washington Times had a bit of fun with the “news reporter turned anti-genocide advocate” line.
        On the other hand, do those folks exist at the White House ?

    • In Slate, Hitchens is arguing that Iraq was a requirement for the Arab Spring. Seems to be very true in Daffy’s case, since he shut down his nuke program due to Bush’s war.

      • Note the irony that Bush’s War made Obama’s War possible (I doubt Obama would strike at Daffy if Daffy had nukes). I don’t expect Obama to be gracious about this, since he’s a petulant child, but also since I think it will work out that Obama would have been better off in the end if he didn’t get involved.

        Flip side, however: Daffy must be pissed he gave up his nuke progam just about now. I wonder what lession this is in Iran or with Hugo?

  • It’s a number of possible things -
    A distraction for something else he has in the pipe – possibly the kill team news, or some other government (Obama) plan.
    An attempt to make him appear like a real leader for the next election?
    An excuse to spend more and stress an already stressed economy even further to justify more government fingerpoking?

    As has become his trade-mark, when the man takes decisive action, it’s wrong.

    • It simply could be the economy.
      He certainly seems to have decided to “kick the can” down the road to the next President on entitlement reform.

      • If that’s the plan, he should remember the media can be a fickle tool – if just one of them breaks ranks and starts hammering him for very long, the others will follow and the economy, and his failure to fix it, will become all the news, all the time, until some more exciting distraction arises.

        The love affair that is Obama is strained, at best. Locking a few more of them in closets, refusing to meet with them and answer questions will eventually piss off someone high up past the mark of restraint they practice in the hope of satisfying their longing to feel his tender pat on their pointy heads.

        • No it won’t.  What are they gonna do, support a Republican come election time?

          They’re useful idiots, and they’re trapped, and both they and Obama know it.

    • So when 64 senators signed a letter recently that urged President Obama to get involved on developing a “comprehensive” deficit reduction package, it appeared to be a big deal.
      But even though Obama has expressed grave concern about the country’s ocean of red ink, he has refused to endorse the Senators’ letter, his fiscal commission’s recommendations for $4 trillion of deficit reduction in the coming decade, or embrace any other approach.

    • A distraction…

      Remember the big head of steam Republicans and the Tea Party had after the 2010 elections? Then again, the first week Boehner  took over as Speaker?

      It’s been non-stop distraction since: the Arizona shooting, the civility debate, the Koch brothers, and now Libya.

  • I think it is time to ask, again, just what the function of NATO is in a post Soviet Union world and why we are in it. Having just reread the North Atlantic Treaty I fail to find any justification in it for NATO action against Libya, military or other. Perhaps I missed something.

    • Common timactual, you’re not actually naive enough to believe that things like constitutions and treaties have any, you know, bearing to what great leaders such as President Obama should or shouldn’t do?  Obviously such a great man like our president doesn’t need to bother himself with such trivial matters.  /sarc

  • Where’s the media fascination with Cindy Sheehan’s vigil near the 18th green of the Andrews Air Force Base golf course?

  • Well if our military has become a rent-a-cop organization, where are the $1B/day rent checks? As many have mentioned previously, agree/disagree with GWB he had one position and he stuck with it. I don’t see how The Dear Golfer can manage to stay upright with all the spinning positions in his head.

  • The real problems here are hypocrisy and bumbling.  The first – that The Dear Golfer and the dems would have burned Bush alive for doing this – is maddening.  Unfortunately, it is what it is, and getting mad about democrats being completely immoral liars is a bit like getting mad at a scorpion for stinging: it’s what they are.

    Bumbling, however, is much more serious.  I would argue that getting rid of Godaffy is a Good Thing.  For one thing, we owe him some payback for the murders of quite a number of Americans over the years.  For another, he’s a beast cut from the same bolt of cloth as Saddam, Assad, Hitler, Stalin, etc.  The world would be a better place without him.  I am not going to get too exercized about our refusal to get involved in Syria or Yemen or North Korea or even Iran for the same reason that I didn’t get too upset with Bush for not intervening in those and other places when he was in charge: our power has limits. 

    That being said, The Dear Golfer cannot seem to make up his mind on this.  He f*cked around for weeks while Godaffy was killing his opponents, and even now can’t seem to decide how to get rid of him or, indeed, if that’s even what we’re really trying to do.  Worse, he appears not only to have no game plan for a post-Godaffy Libya, but seems blissfully unconcerned that it could become an islamist state not unlike A-stan after the Soviets were kicked out or an utterly failed state like Somalia in the ’80s.

    In short, he’s a putz, and it’s a damned dangerous thing to have a putz in charge of the country.

    Cite from NeoWhite House aide Samantha Power, a former news reporter turned anti-genocide advocate, said President Obama’s two-year campaign to promote human rights helped trigger the uprising in Libya against Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s rule.

    What “two-year campaign to promote human rights”????  And, since awesome, inspiring words of The Dear Golfer caused this, will Power lay the blame at his feet if things go badly in the end?  Kind of doubt it…

    • The problem with getting rid of Daffy is that those who replace will likely will be worse. The other problem is if we fail to get rid of him, we have allowed him to ‘defeat” us–and given him little reason to respect us.

      Daffy was nuetered by Bush, Obama may well give him a comeback.

    • Here’s a question…
      Last night, were were not taking GaDaffy out.
      Today we ARE.
      How do you fight a war with a waffle…?!?!?

      • Waffle?  Waffle?  We should be so lucky – the guy is tablespoon of olive oil in a blender.

        We’re protecting the civilians on a humanitarian mission, and God help any civilians who support Khaddafi and are in the vicinity when an A-10 ground attack aircraft decides they’re a military target flying in the ‘no-fly’ zone.  AND we’re not there to remove Khaddfi, just to achieve regime change AND, we’re no longer in charge, NATO is in charge, and we’re, um, well, we’re in charge of NATO, sorta, maybe, but not really, you see?


        As the AT&T character in the T-mobile add observes, “it makes sense if you don’t think about it”.

    • Worse, he appears not only to have no game plan for a post-Godaffy Libya, but seems blissfully unconcerned.

      I would seriously like our MSM to do their jobs and start asking this question, TODAY!

      • Well, I’d like to wake up in the morning in the Playboy mansion naked, exhausted and blissfully happy, but that ain’t gonna happen, either!

    • We all knew this was coming …

      During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island asked Adm. James Stavridis about NATO putting forces into “post-Gadhafi” Libya to make sure the country doesn’t fall apart. Stavridis said he “wouldn’t say NATO’s considering it yet.” But because of NATO’s history of putting peacekeepers in the Balkans — as pictured above — “the possibility of a stabilization regime exists.”

      … funny how Obama more or less promised this won’t happen.

      • Oh no Neo!  Those won’t be American Troops!  they’ll be NATO troops!   (Even if they’re American).


         

        • Yeah, kind of like how we withdrew all “combat” forces from Iraq.  Yessir, those 50,000 (IIRC) GI’s in Iraq are all absolutely NOT combat troops.  See how that works?

  • He still could not explain the mission.  As far as I can tell, he sees us having two missions: the military one of establishing the NFZ which will now “pass” to NATO (don’t get me started on that little legerdemain), and a political one of removing Qaddafi.  He sees these as somehow separate missions.  Those are the sort of distinctions without a difference that clever speech-writers and memo-drafters in Washington come up with that prove impossible to implement in the field.  What if the political opposition needs our military support to bring down Qaddafi? Is the answer, “No?”  What if Qaddafi won’t leave, and is spoiling for a fight?  So what is the exit strategy? How do we know when the military mission can stand down? Can the military cease and desist while Qaddafi is still in power?

    Folks, as suspected.  There is no plan except to bomb away and hope that something happens.

  • Let me ask a question about this new doctrine.

    Suppose a dictator had taken control of a democratic nation, ignored the courts, subverted the legislature, ruling by fiat.  He seized billions of dollars in private property and gave it to his friends.  He enforced the law based upon race and some laws not at all.   He intimidated his political opponents with threats of physical violence and actually used violence on numerous occasions.  He seized control of the production of food, the use of water and the production and consumption of energy.  He nationalized banks, making college graduates indentured servants.  He is working to deny the secret ballot and to force all workers into labor unions. 

    Would the above behavior justify US military intervention to free the citizens?

  • Remember when we had a president who invaded and bombed foreign nations, took a lot of vacations, held prisoners in Guantanamo, and was in bed with a big energy company, giving them all sorts of perks and letting them off the hook for taxes?
    I remember it like it was yesterday

  • This isn’t about being the world cop.

    This is about “increasing the contradictions.”

    To understand Obama, you have to think the way he does, like an orthodox Marxist.

  • the A-10 was the orphan plane of the late ’70sbut how cool.500ft loop.vulcan cannon.saftey bathtub!what is not to like.
    added bonus;depleted uranium bullets to piss off the green weenies.

  • Last night John Stewart covered Obama’s Libya speech, <a href=”http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-march-29-2011/america-at-not-war—obama-defends-military-action-in-libya”>America at Not-War</a>.

    My favorite bit was Stewart’s rejoinder to Obama’s stern: “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.”

    “What are you so mad at us for? We just wanted to know why you were bombing Libya.”

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