U.S. to Reduce Military Role in Libya

The U.S. is going to turn over control of military operations in Libya to either a UK-France coalition or Nato, probably within days.

The Wall St. Journal says U.S. involvement in Libya show "the Obama doctrine" in action, and that it's consistent with what he said on the campaign trail in 2008. It also says it's not a position that sits well with many Republicans:

Facing off against then-fellow Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in a debate for the Democratic primary, Mr. Obama said he didn't want to just end the war in Iraq. "I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place," he said.

In contrast to his predecessor, President George W. Bush, who invaded Iraq in 2003 despite opposition from many allies and Democrats, Mr. Obama is taking pains to receive unambiguous legal authority through the United Nations, getting clear support from Arab states and then letting others—France and Britain —lead the military charge.


Military officials confirm that Obama's intent is to keep the U.S. from taking the lead militarily:

Top military officials described the cruise-missile strikes as "the leading edge" of a multiphase campaign against Col. Gadhafi. But the officials stressed that Mr. Obama's goal was to create conditions quickly that would allow the U.S. to step back and assume largely a backup role.

As to our role going forward,

Officials described America's longer-term role as providing logistical support, such as refueling allied planes and provide intelligence from drones.

Sounds like a good position to me. The less U.S. intervention the better.

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    Of course, the dalay... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by diogenes on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:51:24 PM EST
    Of course, the delay meant that the rebels who had the upper hand when Hillary and McCain suggested a no-fly zone were virtually routed by the time Obama finally got around to doing it.

    that's the Republcan view (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:19:35 PM EST
    thanks for sharing it. (not really.) I, for one, am glad he's not rushing us into another war and committing our troops.

    Not rushing? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:07:10 AM EST
    In contrast, Bush got Congressional authorization for the use of force in addition to UN resolutions and scores of countries in support.  Quick draw Obama made the decision on the quick, without Congressional authorization.  This was wait, and then hurry up.

    He should have sought Congressional and UN authorization weeks ago.  Had he done that there is a much better chance of Libyan generals defection and no need for actual US involvement.  

    By appearing to rule our military involvement, it told the Libyan military that Gadaffi was the likely winner, and so better stick with him.  Really bad statecraft.


    Hope is not a trial balloon (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by msobel on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:55:15 PM EST
    Let's hope this is true and not just a piece of rhetoric that will vanish like the public option, the closing of Gitmo, the end of torture, and all the other broken promises.

    They can take it from here (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 12:10:10 AM EST
    They have what it takes to take it from here and the EU was the one who sold him a lot of the stuff he would using against his people.  It really is their job much more so than ours, but we helped with air defense systems.  They needed those knocked out so that they could fly refueling tankers in in a pattern overhead to refuel the jets for enforcing the No Fly.  We had what it took, we did it for them, the rest is theirs.

    Correct (none / 0) (#7)
    by Politalkix on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 05:39:30 AM EST
    A humanitarian crisis in Libya is also going to affect Europe directly. The geography in that part of the world is such that Libyan refugees in the wake of a humanitarian disaster are going to show up in the doorsteps of Italy, Greece, France and other European Union countries. This is unlike the situation in Iraq where refugees mostly fled to neighbouring countries like Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

    The crisis in Libya was definitely (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 07:54:13 AM EST
    going to directly affect Europe.

    When Gaddafi threatened Western oil majors, he meant the show would soon be over for France's Total, Italy's ENI, British Petroleum (BP), Spanish Repsol, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Hess and Conoco Phillips - though not for the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC). China ranks Libya as essential for its energy security. China gets 11% of Libya's oil exports. CNPC has quietly repatriated no less than 30,000 Chinese workers (compared to 40 working for BP).

    For its part Italian energy giant ENI produces over 240,000 barrels of oil a day - almost 25% of Libya's total exports. No less than 85% of Libya's oil is sold to European Union (EU) countries. link

    How quickly the Sunday shows (none / 0) (#1)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:42:50 PM EST
    can put this Administration on the run.

    Amazing, but not.

    This is how we moved from focusing on issue of jobs and Main Street to the deficit sky is falling rhetoric.

    Obama's epitaph post Presidency will be "All it took was a few Sunday shows - on the same day - to back that guy down."

    Sorry - maybe that's harsh - but unfortunately it seems to be the pattern we've witnessed.

    When was the administration (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by robert72 on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:33:38 AM EST
    focused on jobs and Main Street? I don't remember that part.

    What are you talking about? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Politalkix on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 11:19:40 PM EST
    Your posts are getting increasingly bizarre. What "backing down" has the president done on Libya?

    The new line is that the US (none / 0) (#14)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:03:30 AM EST
    will stop taking the lead in Libya in the next few days.  I don't think my post is bizarre.  I think that's a bizarre statement; and I think the decision to say such a strange thing is rooted in the criticism that is coming from the right.

    Actually, it is the new & old line (none / 0) (#16)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 11:53:26 AM EST
    Leading up to the Security Council decision, the stated position then was that France and Britain would be in the lead with US strategic support & humanitarian aid.

    Then the US was in the lead (none / 0) (#18)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 05:23:13 PM EST
    and then they were not going to be in the lead.  There is a certain "after you Mr. Jones" quality about this Administration.  Now you see leadership, now you don't.  Much more political than practical in most cases.

    It is practical (none / 0) (#19)
    by Politalkix on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:14:34 PM EST
    to just do what is needed to stop the slaughter by Gadaffi and not worry about who is taking the lead at this time (which the President never said he would do) Unfortunately political animals like you can never leave politics aside.

    Or (none / 0) (#20)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:59:29 PM EST
    We did what we do best- and then passed on the support and maintnence of the no-fly zone over to our allies.

    it's nice he waited until (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpinva on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 07:54:58 AM EST
    the UN gave its go-ahead. it would have been even nicer if he'd waited until congress declared war on libya, before having our naval & air units commit acts of war.

    funny thing about the constitution..................

    Yes, Congress should have declared war, (none / 0) (#10)
    by Farmboy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:39:31 AM EST
    just as they did for Korea, VietNam, Cambodia, Rhodesia, Iran, Afghanistan, Grenada, Panama, Yugoslavia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan (again), and all the other times our military has acted on the commander in chief's orders.

    funny thing about Fox News talking points.......


    i wasn't aware that (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:53:34 AM EST
    funny thing about Fox News talking points.......

    these were incorporated, by amendment, into the constitution. please identify specifically where i might find them. otherwise, be an ass in private.

    it was the CoC who bears responsibility, for ordering our military to commit blatantly illegal acts of war. that said, the military commanders bear responsibility, for violating the UCMJ, in following such an obviously illegal order.

    even bush, odious as he was as president, got congress to give him an official go-ahead, before invading both afghanistan & iraq. with the sole exception of cambodia (invaded in secret, by orders of pres. nixon), all of the cited military events were, indeed, approved by congress, beforehand.

    anything else stupid you'd care to admit to in public?


    Sure. I'll admit to being ignorant of any (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Farmboy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:25:00 AM EST
    declarations of war by the US Congress since WW2. Please list all the ones you know of; that'll sure put me in my place.

    Additionally, I'll admit to knowing that Congress granted the President in 1973 the legal precedent to order military operations, provided that he reports on the actions within 48 hours of the operation to Congress and limits troop deployments to 60 days. However, as an expert in "illegal acts of war" and the UCMJ, I look forward to you enlightening me on this topic as well.


    Yes, a medieval crusade! (none / 0) (#17)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 04:25:36 PM EST
    I have to be a little sarcastic.  

    1st.  Obama is being praised for conferring with foreign organizations, the UN, NATO, the Arab League, etc., but not his own congress?  Isn't that backwards?

    2nd. Putin likens this to a "medieval crusade."  I would say that is an apt comparison.

    3rd.  Our "policy" is that Qaddafi be removed, go away, or something like that.
    That is not a policy.  It is wishful thinking.

    Personally, I think this will turn into a debacle, that will cause Obama to lose in 2012.