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Obama and Libya -- A Concise History

By Gary Starr for the Neville Awards
March 30, 2011

From the folks who brought us the idiotic euphemism for terrorism known as "man caused disasters" we now have the "kinetic military activity" as a euphemism for war. God forbid our Fraudinator-in-Chief be seen as actually manning up and defending the United States.

Obama finally spoke to the nation about our involvement in Libya after a week and a half of confusing reasons which ranged from "Ghadafi must go" (Obama and Hillary) to avoiding a humanitarian disaster (UN Amb. Susan Rice) to no vital national security interest (Def. Sec. Robert Gates).

Meanwhile France and England cobbled together a coalition to which Obama was a reluctant sign-on. In Obamaland there is no scenario where the United States takes the lead in matters military so he had to somehow look like a leader while not actually leading. No sooner had hostilities begun when we saw Obama gassing around about the U.S. exiting the operation within a "matter of days" and dumping the this ill-conceived on who knows who. We can't remember a president so anxious to hand off responsibility to someone else after several days of attacks. But now, Nato is in charge with Canadian General Charles Bouchard heading things up. Oh, and by the way-we are still there.

Early on in the operation the international community started going wobbly:

On March 19 reported:

A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya, with one lawmaker raising the prospect of impeachment during a Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) "all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president's actions" during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

Kucinich, who wanted to bring impeachment articles against both former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over Iraq - only to be blocked by his own leadership - asked why the U.S. missile strikes aren't impeachable offenses.

On March 20 the reported:

Arab support for the US-led war in Libya showed signs of fraying today in reaction to the sheer destructive power of the initial attack, claims of civilian deaths and a warning by Muammar Gaddafi to prepare for "a long war".

The secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, appeared to wobble just over a week after his organisation, which represents 23 Arab states, voted in favour of a no-fly zone. Pictures of charred bodies led to not only the Arab League but also Russia and China expressing regret over the violence. Moscow claimed the US-led coalition was going beyond its UN mandate to protect civilians and called for an end to the "indiscriminate use of force".

Even Obama's best Muslim buddy and Ghadafi-supporter Louis Farrakhan stepped into the act:

So Obama finally had to speak. What followed on March 29 was another self-sop to Obama's narcism and greatness, filled with lots of I's and me's and attacks on the previous two administrations. Excerpted from Obama's latest "profile in courage"

Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Gaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Gaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.

At my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass an historic Resolution that authorized a No Fly Zone to stop the regime's attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.

It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies - nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey - all of whom have fought by our side for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibility to defend the Libyan people.

Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and No Fly Zone. Last night, NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians. This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday.

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.

That is not to say that our work is complete. In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded. We will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Gaddafi regime so that it is available to rebuild Libya. After all, this money does not belong to Gaddafi or to us - it belongs to the Libyan people, and we will make sure they receive it.

It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what's right. In this particular country - Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.

To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and - more profoundly - our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. 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.

Of course, there is no question that Libya - and the world - will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.

The task that I assigned our forces - to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a No Fly Zone - carries with it a UN mandate and international support. It is also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do. If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter.

To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about Iraq's future. But regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.

Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States. Ultimately, it is that faith - those ideals - that are the true measure of American leadership.

It turns out that Obama never actually got authorization to go to war from Congress. In Obamaland The UN Security Council and the Arab league are sufficient.

Again from Obama:

And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies - nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey - all of whom have fought by our side for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibility to defend the Libyan people.

Consulting leaders of congress is not congressional authorization. This current arrangement is nothing less than a diminishment of our sovereignty. For years we heard from the left about the illegal war in Iraq. George Bush had not only UN agreement, he also had congressional authorization.

But there is another reason for this Libyan action.

There is an obscure paper entitled the 'Responsibility to Protect' championed by Obama sisters Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton. This doctrine builds the framework by which countries can build coalitions, through the UN, to go to war. The 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine calls for international states to take responsibility for other states behavior to protect people against…
  • Genocide
  • War Crimes
  • Ethnic Crimes
  • Crimes against humanity
The above was the justification for the Libyan action even though Secretary of Defense Gates said Libya is not a vital interest for the U.S.

This doctrine will be the justification for a UN sponsored coalition attack on Israel. Any country, hostile to Israeli interests, can now petition the U.N. for "redress" against any trumped up crime that Israel commits. The U.S., under the present administration, will sit silently as these events move forward.

Here is a list of events that are now beginning to swirl around the changing climate in the Middle East, Europe and the United States:

  • Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Prime Minister, called for Israel to stop its massacres.
  • Abbas said he would give up millions in U.S. aid for unity with Hamas.
  • Abbas orders draft legislation for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state to be done within six months (September 2011).
  • The Norwegian Socialists party is calling for action against Israel.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood, now aligned with the Egyptian army is ready to lead in Egypt. They are calling for an abrogation of Egypt's treaty with Israel.
  • The U.N. is ready for Palestinian statehood.
  • On March 29 the U.S. representative to the U.N. said that the U.S. will not turn over Libyan operations to NATO just yet because they have not decided whether to arm the Libyan rebels yet. The reason: some of the rebels have connections to al Qaeda.
  • Samantha Power, anti-semite and anti-Israel, wife of Regulation Czar Cass Sunstein and White House advisor to President Obama, is quoted in the Washington Times that Obama inspired the Libyan uprising, the Egypt revolution and all of the unrest now sweeping through the Middle East. Power is also an advocate of divesting from Israel and investing in the new state of Palestine.
  • Richard Faulk, the U.N's Special Representative on Human Rights in Occupied Palestine Territories wrote a letter in 2009 in which he talked about Israel's war crimes against the Palestinians. It was contained in an interview from the George Soros funded Institute for Policy Studies and said, in part, A stronger General Assembly resolution would have set the stage for follow-up enforceable resolutions, possibly including mechanisms or even deploying a cease fire-enforcement or protection force, perhaps based on the Assembly's own embrace of the protection doctrine known as the Responsibility to Protect.
Israel and the Jews are the ultimate prize. Israel is being set up and the United States under Obama is on the wrong side.

From the Washington Times March 29, 2011

Team Obama, world police -- Human rights used as an excuse to violate sovereignty

President Obama's Monday night speech on the "kinetic military activity" in Libya revealed that he has fully accepted the faddish "responsibility to protect" (R2P) rationale for military intervention abroad. Unfortunately, this action is not just a direct attack on Libya's state sovereignty, but also on America's.

R2P - sounding a bit like a droid from Star Wars - is a school of thought that developed in response to the propensity of some regimes to commit crimes against their own people and the reticence of the international community to take decisive action. "Responsibility to protect," however, lacks the firm legal basis that would justify armed intervention in the internal affairs of another state without a declaration of war. This is specifically forbidden by Article 2, Section 7 of the United Nations Charter and by the December 1981 U.N. "Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States."

Like most left-wing causes, the law is irrelevant when it collides with liberal claims of good intentions. As Mr. Obama loftily put it, not recognizing "our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are."

Force propaganda aside, the reason the U.N. Charter and subsequent declarations insisted on the sanctity of national sovereignty was specifically to prevent the U.N. from becoming a world police force. The U.N. was founded as a multilateral organization pledged to take action only when war crossed state boundaries. Internal affairs were left to each country individually. The armed humanitarians of the R2P school believe human-rights concerns outweigh state sovereignty, and force can - indeed must - be used to set things straight. When done under the umbrella of the U.N., inconvenient matters like congressional authorization may also be dispensed with.

The downside of the "responsibility to protect" logic is obvious to everyone except Mr. Obama's inner circle. Destroying Libya's sovereignty means diminishing American sovereignty. By establishing a precedent for U.N. armed intervention in internal affairs, any country - even the United States - could be subjected to it sometime in the future. This is fine by the R2P crowd. U.S. allies like Israel have long been on their hit list. Samantha Power, senior director of multilateral affairs on the National Security Council and one of the architects of the war in Libya, is a decided enemy of the Jewish state. In a 2002 interview, she counseled a massive intervention in Israel to protect Palestinians: "What will have to be a mammoth protection force … a meaningful military presence because, it seems to me at this stage, and this is true of actual genocides as well and not just major human-rights abuses which we're seeing there, but is that you, you have to go in as if you're serious."

Many R2P partisans like Ms. Power currently advising the president would have welcomed U.N. moves against President George W. Bush for his alleged "war crimes." Hypocrisy notwithstanding, there's little mystery how these ideologues would respond to international action against Mr. Obama's current terrorist detainee policies and expanded covert drone strikes in Pakistan.

Adopting the R2P framework also opens Mr. Obama to charges of hypocrisy. "Responsibility to protect" is an obligation, not an option, so one might ask how the administration can sit back and watch an actual bloodbath developing in Syria while chest thumping about stopping a theoretical bloodbath in Libya. "As president," Mr. Obama proclaimed, "I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action." Those mourning the innocents shot down in Syria - and Iran, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere - are not impressed.

And this from Andrew McCarthy at the National Review

Middle East Howlers


MARCH 30, 2011

If we expect the successors of Mubarak and Qaddafi to be freedom-loving democrats, we will be dangerously disappointed.

A "howler," the Wall Street Journal called it in an editorial yesterday. That certainly is a fitting description of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's latest mindboggling foray into Middle East analysis. It makes sense, she maintains, for American armed forces to get "kinetic" in Libya but not in Syria because Moammar Qaddafi is a brutal dictator while brutal dictator Bashar Assad is really a "reformer." Perhaps she has been watching too much al-Jazeera, this former first lady who was so instrumental in her husband's airbrushing of the terrorist kleptocrat Yasser Arafat - a peace-seeking statesman . . . at least between intifadas.

Al-Jazeera is the Islamist communications hub. The network's brightest star, Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood, fresh from his triumphant return to Egypt to dance on the grave of the pro-American Mubarak regime, recently issued a fatwa calling for Qaddafi's murder. And in the network's showcase cause, the annihilation of the Zionist entity, Assad and his Hezbollah confederates are just what central casting ordered. Yet, according to Secretary Clinton, al-Jazeera is the place to which people turn for the "real news," the serious analysis you just can't get from the talking heads on U.S. television.

Another howler . . . or is it? Fox News, for example, is fast becoming the Arab Spring Channel.

On its weekend talking headliner, Fox News Sunday, anchor Chris Wallace spent several minutes grilling Newt Gingrich on his marital infidelities. "Man to man," the host hectored, the former House Speaker must have had some glass-house qualms. After all, he was cheating at the very moment when he was leading the charge against Mrs. Clinton's intern-chasing husband. Gingrich - who is not yet even a declared presidential candidate - is a long shot for a nomination that won't be decided until over a year from now. Yet Wallace thought it essential, right now, to get to the bottom of indiscretions that are nearly two decades old.

Tough questioning - fair, but tough and unyielding. That is Mr. Wallace's trademark - or at least it was until Sunday's program shifted to the breaking news in Libya. Without congressional consultation, much less endorsement, the Obama administration had just dispatched the nation's armed forces to take sides in a civil war. Problem? Not at all, not for Mr. Wallace's giddy guests. One after the other, Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I., Ct.), longtime Islamic-democracy-project enthusiasts, gushed over the "rebels" and the joys of America's finally being aligned with the "Arab street" (i.e., the people who celebrated the 9/11 attacks and, just this month, the murder of the Fogels, a family of Jewish settlers in the West Bank). Without a hint of challenge from the formerly dogged Wallace, McCain and Lieberman seemed to compete over who could ooze more affinity for the "freedom fighters."

The pattern continued through the program's concluding panel of pundits, in which Fox's Brit Hume, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and Fortune's Nina Easton glowed over the "rebels" of the "Arab Spring." But who are the rebels? There was apparently no need to tarry over that seeming irrelevancy. It could only distract from the truly urgent question of whether we are doing quite enough for them - whether President Obama's Alinskyite play of helping these "freedom fighters" while claiming not to help them will be enough for them to prevail.

Perhaps not, the consensus seemed to be. It will probably take arming them and providing other logistical support. It was left to the house lefty, Juan Williams, of all people, to point out that we really don't know much about the rebels - except that some of them seem to be anti-American Islamists. Maybe, he suggested, we ought to find out more before we start passing out matériel that could one day be turned against us.

Williams had stumbled, at long last, on the fact so inconvenient that it must not be spoken: The "Arab Spring" is actually the Islamist Spring. Islamists as "freedom fighters"? Now that's a howler. The very concept of "freedom" in Islam is markedly different from the "freedom" at the root of Western democracy. Islam envisions not individual liberty but its antithesis, perfect submission to Allah's law - and the Judaeo-Christian notion of equality is nowhere to be found. There is a reason why Islam has no democratic tradition.

The Islamist mission is to impose this law, sharia, a totalitarian code to be enforced by rulers who would be just as authoritarian as the despots they are replacing. There is too much evidence to permit the Arab Spring heralds to refute this proposition head on, so they deflect. They spin Middle East developments as a major defeat for al-Qaeda and its philosophy of extorting change through violence.

This, however, confounds ends and means. Al-Qaeda's approach - holding that even Muslims should be killed if they won't hew to the terror network's construction of Islam - has always been an outlier, attracting only a fringe of Muslims. In contrast, its goal of imposing sharia as the gateway to Islamicized societies is not merely an al-Qaeda goal; it is a majority position in the Muslim Middle East. It is not al-Qaeda that is trying to put Muslim apostates to death in Kabul; it is the U.S.-backed Afghan government. It is not al-Qaeda that is administering "virginity tests" in Cairo; it is the U.S.-built Egyptian military.

The biggest difference between Qaddafi and the coming Islamist despotism is that the latter, faithful to its ideology, promises to be intractably anti-Western and disdainful of non-Muslim religious minorities. Thus Arab Spring enthusiasts tend to develop laryngitis when it comes to the taxonomy of their "rebels." Nor, other than the mantra that troop surges have succeeded, is there much chatter about the spring that came early for Iraq and Afghanistan - where non-Muslims are persecuted, homosexuals are abused under the guidance of the clerics, Iran's influence grows, and the "Zionist entity" is dutifully reviled. (Anybody want to bet me on whom the new Iraq will support in kinetic Islam's next faceoff with Israel?)

Only days before Secretary Clinton's Assad howler, we had the Arab Spring's first blooms in Egypt. In a referendum, Egyptians voted by more than 3 to 1 (an overwhelming 77 to 23 percent) to adopt a framework for swift new elections - the opposite of the deliberate transition process that would have given non-Islamist democrats a fighting chance to build effective secular democratic parties and institutions. The plan voters endorsed quite intentionally will enable the Muslim Brotherhood to achieve electoral success in parliament this September. The Brothers will then be poised to rig the presidential election three months later, and to control the drafting of any new Egyptian constitution. We already know that one part of the current constitution will remain sacrosanct: the article establishing Islam as the state religion and sharia as fundamental law.

Arab Spring fans told us the urbane Egyptians were even more determined "freedom" seekers than the tribal Libyan "rebels." They scoffed at those among us who warned against having too much confidence in the Egyptian military - which has been mentored by American counterparts for the last 30 years - as a hedge against the slide toward Islamism.

In the event, the military - which, like the Brotherhood, mirrors Egyptian society - predictably favored the Brothers. To stoke the illusion of a true democratic uprising, Secretary Clinton sought to meet with the anti-Mubarak vanguard. They rebuffed her. It's not hard to understand why: She is an American, and they despise Americans; she is tilting at windmills, and they are hardheaded Islamists. Meanwhile, campaigning Muslim clerics and activists publicly framed a "yes" vote as a call for more sharia and a denial to the Coptic Christian minority of an equal role in civic life (for in Islam there is no separating civic life from sharia). The Islamists won going away.

So what we can expect from the "rebels" if they oust Qaddafi? What can we learn from the Egyptian election - coupled, in Iraq and Afghanistan, with rampant anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, and abuse of non-Muslims despite years of U.S. democracy-building? You won't find out from watching the talking heads. They've decided not to ask.

- Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America
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