For weeks, the administration dithered over Egypt and calibrated its actions to the lowest and slowest common denominators, on the grounds that it was difficult to deal with a rancid old friend and ally who had outlived his usefulness. But then it became the turn of Muammar Qaddafi—an all-round stinking nuisance and moreover a long-term enemy—and the dithering began all over again. Until Wednesday Feb. 23, when the president made a few anodyne remarks that condemned “violence” in general but failed to cite Qaddafi in particular—every important statesman and stateswoman in the world had been heard from, with the exception of Obama. And his silence was hardly worth breaking. Echoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had managed a few words of her own, he stressed only that the need was for a unanimous international opinion, as if in the absence of complete unity nothing could be done, or even attempted. This would hand an automatic veto to any of Qaddafi’s remaining allies. It also underscored the impression that the opinion of the United States was no more worth hearing than that of, say, Switzerland.
Posted by Karol at 01:28 PM
I’m just going to cut and paste my FB comment here:
I’m sorry, but what exactly is Hitchens suggesting as a course of action? This is the usual hot mess of “the President is not doing enough” that people who, you know, will never be President are prone to writing/saying.
Last time I checke…d, Libya is a sovereign nation. When you start blasting sovereign nations’ armed forces on their own territory, that’s called an act of war. Wars, as we commonly fight them, mean that if we break it, we have to _fix_ it. We’re already doing that in two places and it’s having an, um, “adverse affect” on our military budget, OPTEMPO, and readiness. Oh, and there’s no guarantee that whomever ends up in charge will _appreciate_ our actions, much less mutter “thank you” as they step over Muammar’s corpse. But, hey, you’re right, let’s do SOMETHING because, OMG, people are DYING.
P.S. Oh, and this goes double when Quaddafi, if he _does not_ keep slaughtering civilians, is going to end up on the wrong end of the equal sign of the equation that goes soccer goal + rope + severed naughty bits + mouth of overthrown head of government = likely outcome. Hell, if I were him and got threatened, I’d sweetly utter the following: “Really? I have something to say…it’s better to burn out than to fade away!” then use the mustard gas he allegedly still has left over.
P.P.S. And I just recalled that Bahrain used their ground forces (and rumor has it Saudi Arabia’s also) on civilian protesters in their square. So, tell me again what the standard is? Because I’m thinking we better be awful careful about setting precedents.
Ok, I’ll cut and paste mine too:
I think it’s fine for the president of the United States not to *do* something. I don’t think it’s fine for him not to *say* something. Hitchens has it exactly right. We’re not Switzerland and we’re also not, say, Suriname. We’re the leaders of the free world. We should act like it.
We really need to settle on a venue for this debate. ;P
James, I remember my father listening to the Voice of America back in the USSR. It was a pain to get a semi decent reception – since the frequency was often jammed and I highly doubt he would have bothered getting that reception if Obama was the prez back then. Reagan’s administration was saying what he wanted and needed to hear. What would’ve Obama’s message have been back then? That commies need to see our unclenched fist and all would be well?
For the record–I think Reagan was, while still a mortal, very much a case of “perfect man, perfect time.” Trust me, I think that it’s a toss up between he and Ike as to which was our best Cold War President…and no one else comes close. Unfortunately, this ain’t the Cold War.
As I recall, Reagan did a cut and run from the mid east after Lebanon. His other big mid east action was to supply weapons to our enimies.
Another deer in the headlights moment from Obama. I’m starting to think the reason that more Americans aren’t truly incensed by this idiot is because they’re too busy looking at their watches and wondering when 2012 will finally arrive.
Proof that Obama was born in a canoe. deathbed converstion with my dad provided proof that Obama was not born in hawaii.