Finally the United Nations, Great Britain, France and the United States have pulled their collective heads out of their fourth points of contact and have launched forces into action against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi; as the attacks began, President Obama declared from Brazil that the “people of Libya must be protected.”
“In the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians, our coalition is prepared to act and act with urgency,” Obama said at a news conference in Brazil’s presidential palace following meetings with the newly elected President Dilma Rousseff.
Of course it’s only taken how long to decide to act with “urgency” Mr. President? You may have decided to move with too little, too late. Where were the United States, Great Britain and France when the revolution was on the very brink of toppling Qaddafi? It’s understood that the Bush/Cheney attitude of bomb and invade, shock and awe, and ask questions later was over kill, but there are times when America needs to use its strength to help those who are fighting to overthrow despots. There are few – if any – members of our military who wouldn’t jump at the chance to help people legitimately fighting for their liberties, as opposed to being used as tools imposing freedom by Presidential whim and edict.
Minutes before he began speaking, officials from the United States, Europe and the Arab world meeting in Paris announced immediate military action to protect civilians amid combat between Qaddafi’s forces and rebel fighters. French warplanes were targeting Qaddafi’s forces. American ships and aircraft were poised for action but weren’t participating in the initial French air missions.
France, Britain and the United States had warned Qaddafi on Friday that they would resort to military means if he ignored the U.N. resolution demanding a cease-fire.
How nice it is to have our forces be part of legitimately enforcing a U.N. resolution instead of pretending that was the reason for our involvement. This time around, our men and women will know they’re fighting with their allies as the enforcement arm of the U.N. and not pretending to enforce U.N. sanctions or simply using the United Nations as an excuse to cover a questionable invasion.
United States involvement at this point is to be limited – according to Administration officials – and its primary objectives will be to helping protect French and other air missions by taking out Libyan air defenses; however, things could intensify depending on the response and the U.S. is prepared to launch additional attacks in support of allied forces.
“This is a broad international effort,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said from Paris. “The world will not sit idly by while more innocent civilians are killed. The United States will support our allies and partners as they move to enforce” the resolution.
The President has already ruled out sending in U.S. ground troops. But the U.S. has a host of forces and ships in the area, including submarines, destroyers, amphibious assault and landing ships. One U.S. official said the Navy was planning a sea-launched missile attack from the Mediterranean against elements of Libya’s coastal air defenses.
And this is precisely how the U.S. should be conducting itself. America never needed to send ground forces into Iraq, and could have easily forced Hussein to yield through multiple, well targeted air strikes, and the use of ground forces to take him out could have been small in scope and supported from the air (i.e. Special Forces, Rangers, SAS, etc.). There was no need then, and there is no need now, to put boots on the ground, and the rebels in Libya have not asked for them. They want air cover, and the allies can certainly supply that.
March 19, 2011 at 12:30
It is nice to see the UN actually in charge in reality. (Instead of being an excuse for US dominance). If look back at history, there is an interesting connection with the Suez Crisis 1956-57 (about when I was born!) When England and France went to war with Israel against Egypt after Nasser seized the Suez Canal, and we went to our allies and the UN to say, no guys, we’re not going to do it that way. The US still being in charge, but in a rather demoralizing way for our allies. It came out OK in the end through negotiation.
Here we have a situation next door to Egypt in Libya where the US has a clear enemy going on 30 years or so, yet we are only in a support mode for France and others going in under clear UN authorization – not initiated by us for once. Which is really odd. I sure hope and pray that it is successful, and quick. Which of course, is what everybody believes at the start of any war and is almost never true, but we can hope. Because if it goes wrong at all, the right will jump all over Obama and the UN. So let’s hope for a quick and solid UN victory.
(oh, and as a constitutional aside, I don’t see at all how this would violate Congress’s authority to declare war as it really is not a war but a UN police or peace-keeping exercise. And, the US is bound to respect the UN Charter as “The Supreme Law of the Land” shocking as that may be to some. – look it up, US Const. Art. VI, clause 2).