Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Redux on Libya

There's been a lot of criticism of Pres. Obama for going to South America as he decided to send our military on yet another mission to Libya. Some accuse the Right and the Far Left of being too critical based largely on their ideology. Some of that criticism may be true. In my opinion, I believe much of the criticism is warranted (and this too pains me, because, as an American, I want to support our President in times of conflict). I'm also of the opinion the reason so many in the Administration--from Gates to Clinton to the Joint Chiefs--gave so many differing versions of the mission is because the President was absent. Yes, I understand he can do his job from anywhere in the world via video conferencing and other means, including on Air Force One. But I sincerely believe when the President, as Commander-in-Chief, decides to send the military into harm's way, face-to-face strategic meetings with your key people is more effective and more appropriate (This reminds me that it took Pres. Obama months before he had his first one-to-one meeting with Gen. McChrystal, his Afghanistan commander).

And to make my point, the New York Daily News, a liberal newspaper and supporter of the Administration, wrote this today (highlights of the opinion piece):

"The two U..A. Airmen who ejected from the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet that crashed in Libya yesterday were, thank God, alive and rescued safely..

But events could just as easily have gone the other way. They could have died in their plane or been captured by Moammar Khadafys forces. Then what? Would Americans have understood why President Obama put those lives at risk?..Less anyone miss the point, he's been carrying his duties as command in chief from South America...While Obama has declared 'it is U.S. policy that Khadafy needs to go,' his military flexings extend only to the limits of the Security Council resolution okaying operations aimed at constraining Khadafy from killing civilians by the thousands..

But no one quite knows what that means...This is not the fog of war. It's war fought in the fog of politics. America's fighting men and women nobly accept the risks of the former. They should never be asked to cope with the latter...

Clarity please, Mr. President."

I also firmly believe if Pres. Obama and the Coalition forces acted earlier; they might have gotten to Khadafy. After all, we did know his address, and that's always key to any air strike against an enemy unlike trying to find Bin Laden. If you recall, it was just several weeks ago when many of Khadafy's commanders abandoned him. Some pilots actually defected and many refused orders to fly missions to kill other Libyans. In addition to all of this, entire areas of the country were rebelling against Khadafy's regime. Instead we and the Coalition hesitated. And in that time of hesitation, Khadafy unleashed hell upon his own people.

The Administration also had time to get congressional authorization. That too might have avoided some of the criticism he is now getting from his Progressive base and others.

I'd like to paraphrase the New York Daily News: Timely clarity, Mr. President.

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