Barack Obama’s speech on Libya was filled with the straw man arguments and self-congratulatory mumbo-jumbo that have leapt from this president’s Teleprompter ever since he took office. He offered no coherent argument for this intervention that wouldn’t in principle commit us to intervening all over the world, yet at the same time suggested he would not even see this intervention through if it cost too much or took to long. He offered only boilerplate about the nature of the rebellion we are supporting but then refrained from committing to giving the rebels arms.
So which is it? The United States must intervene militarily to avert any humanitarian catastrophe anywhere in the world or else betray our values. But at the same time, we are not going to pursue regime change, we are not responsible for the forces that our interventions unleash and we are not going to stick around as long as that Bush guy did in Iraq. Obama tried to rally the country around the flag as if we are at war, yet continued to pretend we are not at war, refusing to even utter the word. Obama is trying to split the difference, as if war is something that can be handled by focus groups.
Obama is president today because he opposed the Iraq war when Hillary Clinton did not. Yet by the logic of his arguments on Libya, the Iraq war would have been justified if our troops took orders from the French and we left Saddam Hussein in power. The president has seen fit to take us to war without the approval of Congress and without leveling with the American people.
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