Obama's Speech on Libya

Here's the text of Obama's speech on Libya.

Answering those who think the U.S. should be more involved in Libya:

If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.

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.

I didn't get to see Obama deliver the speech. How do you think he did? And more importantly, do you agree with him?

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    I didn't watch, but I just read (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 08:32:13 PM EST
    I don't think there's a word I disagree with.

    Thebn your position is (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:50:01 PM EST

    You and Obama state that Gaddafi gets to stay and a civil war should take plave, unless of course, someone else decides to get involved.

    This speech was incoherence defined.


    How are our mission and goals in (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:57:48 PM EST
    Libya any less coherent than our mission and goals in Afghanistan?  I think our stated mission and goals in Afghanistan are much less coherent than our Libya involvement.

    I think that is clear (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 10:02:40 PM EST
    In Afghanistan the goal is to neutralize and eliminate the Taliban and Al Qaida.

    Perhaps you can say the goal is difficult and thus the mission should be abandoned, but coherent it certainly is.

    Here it is to basically help the insurgents in a civil war against Gaddafi, but not too much.

    The difference on the coherence factor is night and day.

    FTR, coherence is not enough to make an action make sense. The Iraq Debacle was coherent, as far as it went, it was just delusional.


    That is our stated goal (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 10:13:59 PM EST
    But that isn't what always happens, like how we are now attempting to assimilate some Taliban.  I would say that our end goal in Afghanistan is unattainable though.  Doesn't mean that we don't have to address the danger of Afghanistan though and do what we can.  We can perhaps contain the danger, and I think we are making headway there.

    We did this in Libya for humanitarian reasons though...stated.  And now we have moved into the role of clearing a path for the rebels it seems.  This bothered my husband a lot too, we have crossed a line.

    As far as what is delusional though, the stated goal in Afghanistan though perfectly justified, is pretty delusional IMO :)


    That may be (none / 0) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:41:04 AM EST
    But no one has articulated anything that makes sense on Libya.

    Humanitarian reasons make sense to me (none / 0) (#78)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:03:11 AM EST
    But that is it for me.  I can't get it to make sense if we go beyond disabling the genocide.  We have no cohesive military foreign policy if we step beyond that, and it looks like people are entertaining doing so.  I can't imagine why except that someone is listening to Republicans call him a wussy or disorganized or something along those lines.  Even though he has managed militarily to do things that incompetent Republicans can only ever dream of.  He scares the hell out of them in that respect.  Makes me sad that either Obama doesn't realize how successful he is in that realm or he now wants to step in poop out of confidence....either one is sad as hell.

    We did the humanitarian thing in Egypt, we told the military they get nothing more from us if they attack the people.  We are not in that position in Libya, so disabling the military machine is fine by me because it was doable, and we did it!  Anything after that makes no sense to me though.  This is the EU's military foreign policy mess, not ours.


    Humanitarian reasons always make sense; (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:54:24 AM EST
    it's what makes me give $5 to the homeless person, makes me put $5 in the Boy Scout/Girl Scout bin and not take the cookies/popcorn/whatever in exchange.  It's what makes my friend Betsy rescue animals.  What has my daughter's employer donating surgeries to Operation Smile.  

    We do it because we help others and it feels good to make some difference in someone's life, however small that might be.  We have so much, most of us, in relation to how little some people have; I have enough to eat, a place to call home, a job and a family and good health - I can afford to share so I do.

    The humanitarian issues have existed in Libya for almost half a century, so, why now?  If we added up all the lives lost in these 40 years, all the people tortured and imprisoned, would it be less than the anticipated and imminent slaughter that finally lit a fire under our humanitarian butts?

    Those years and years and years add up.  They add up in Libya and Syria and Egypt and Tunisia, just as they added up in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And as they add up all over the region and the world.

    If our mission is humanitarian, that's fine - but let's define what that is, so we can apply that standard equally.  

    If our mission is stability, then let's say that.  And let's define what kind of stability is acceptable.  Is a country that is stable because it is being ruled by a dictator who has his boot on the collective necks of his people an acceptable variety of stable?  Are we just watching and waiting for citizen uprising to make our move?

    Is it an economic mission?  Securing the free flow of oil to ourselves and our allies?  Making sure the people of an oil-rich nation benefit from their country's resources?

    Obama can give a speech that sounds great -until you step away from it a bit and really look at what he's said.  I read a lot of self-congratulatory remarks that perhaps overstated our involvement; I don't know whether it was accurate, but I had read that Britain and France had pretty much had to twist our arms to get us to participate, but to read Obama's speech, we were once again in the lead all the way.

    We're going to do what we're going to do; people will either agree or they won't.  They will politicize the crap out of it, even if it means they have to contradict themselves hourly.  Nothing new there.

    I would, however, like to see a lot more concern for the citizens of this country who are losing their place in the world because at every turn, our government finds new ways to weaken the safety net and has done precious little to provide the conditions for everyone to prosper.  

    If we're going to be humanitarian, let's not just talk about it, let's live it.


    I think what Obama did is living it (none / 0) (#100)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:56:21 AM EST
    "Living it" is not a one-time event (none / 0) (#125)
    by sj on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:45:52 PM EST

    We will arms the rebels (none / 0) (#95)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:51:25 AM EST

    Do you have evidence :)? (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:55:49 AM EST
    That WE are arming the rebels :)?  You may not have it yet, so I have to ask :)  I assume that we will because it has been leaked that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are arming them and we arm Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

    I am predicting it (none / 0) (#102)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:57:51 AM EST
    Indeed, it actually makes sense.

    I don't know what to do with that (none / 0) (#103)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:58:36 AM EST
    If that is the road we travel on

    After a sip of coffee (none / 0) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:04:58 AM EST
    That has proven over the years to be sooo fricken dangerous in the long haul.  If Obama goes that route he had better make certain he gets this done/finished NOW (and how can you do that...you really can't) and he is reelected because if he doesn't, the oil guys probably take over again and who the hell knows what they would do with a Libya in such a situation that we are arming?  And Libya is his baby now in whatever respects he keeps dipping his toe into it.

    Consider that issue (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:10:19 AM EST
    when you gauge the wisdom of this intervention. It comes next in the situation.

    By your argument (none / 0) (#115)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 11:23:24 AM EST
    If Libya is freed, it was a good decision?

    No. The standard has to be how did you act with the knowledge of the situation in real time.  Sometimes your beliefs will turn out to be wrong and sometimes they will be right.

    But we have to reject any argument that says "if the intervention in Iraq had gone swiftly and been completed in 6 months, it was the right call".

    Either your justifications to take an action are right at the time or they are not.

    Given the facts on the ground, the intervention was right IMHO.

    Everyone can Monday Morning quarterback.  Decisions had to be made or people were going to die.


    I believe that we must (none / 0) (#119)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:18:37 PM EST
    act upon the knowledge we have in real time, but I also have to take into account what my own country would do in different situations with Libya because that is knowledge that I have in real time too.  It makes more sense to me too to embrace the risks that I KNOW are there, than trying to embrace projected risks I place on Libyans that I do not know as well.

    It is a real risk, what NeoCons would want to do and possibly actually do with Libya if they were in power and it was still undone and we still had a role in all of it.


    I fear you are naives in the assumption (none / 0) (#120)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:23:52 PM EST
    U.S. military has done all it can in Libya and won't do more as the situation evolves.

    I'm not saying they've done all they can (none / 0) (#121)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:27:06 PM EST
    They've done all they should!  And even if we have better refueling tankers in the air, they need their own.  I can't help them with surveilance either, they'll have to use what they have because we should not sell them ours.  We can sell Great Britain and France some refueling tankers though.

    Our involvement to end in a few days? (none / 0) (#131)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:31:13 PM EST
    UPDATE: And just like that, Adm. James Stavridis, the top military officer of NATO, floated NATO ground troops for Libya.

       During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island asked Adm. James Stavridis about NATO putting forces into "post-Gadhafi" Libya to make sure the country doesn't fall apart. Stavridis said he "wouldn't say NATO's considering it yet." But because of NATO's history of putting peacekeepers in the Balkans -- as pictured above -- "the possibility of a stabilization regime exists."

        So welcome to a new possible "endgame" for Libya. Western troops patrolling Libya's cities during a a shaky transition after Moammar Gadhafi's regime has fallen, however that's supposed to happen. Thousands of NATO troops patrolled Bosnia and Kosovo's tense streets for years. And Iraq and Afghanistan taught the U.S. and NATO very dearly that fierce insurgent conflict can follow the end of a brutal regime. In fact, it's the moments after the regime falls that can be the most dangerous of all -- especially if well-intentioned foreign troops become an object of local resentment.

    Stavridis added that we have no idea who the Libyan rebels are. link

    Unless you change the regime (none / 0) (#108)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:16:36 AM EST
    and put enough troops on the ground you will not stop the killing.

    I'm sure the folks at the Pentagon and NATO (none / 0) (#118)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:45:37 PM EST
    weren't aware of that until now.

    Then Obama should quit the (none / 0) (#124)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:39:53 PM EST
    humanitarian talk.

    So, you're willing to put American lives (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:19:26 PM EST
    at risk for cheap oil, but not for humanitarian purposes?

    Thanks for demonstrating what your values are really all about.


    Cheap oil is in the national interest (none / 0) (#153)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:20:34 PM EST
    saving the world is not.

    Thanks for demonstrating your total lack of understanding.


    Actually, it would be in the national interest (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:31:06 PM EST
    not to be so dependent on cheap oil, but then I realize you consider that an impossibility.

    Yeah, it would be nice (none / 0) (#160)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:12:35 AM EST
    Unfortunately good intentions as road paving material leads to bad places.

    Like the 2003 Iraqi invasion? (none / 0) (#162)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:10:19 AM EST
    Good point.

    I was thinking of electing Obama (none / 0) (#164)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 11:53:18 AM EST
    Re: (none / 0) (#168)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 04:39:23 PM EST

    Proven on 11/4/08

        REMEMBER - sometimes a majority simply means that all the fools are on the same side...

    BTDs inconsistent coherency standards (none / 0) (#27)
    by Politalkix on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 10:54:22 PM EST
    If the goal in Afghanistan is to neutralize the Taliban and Al Qaeda but if the Taliban and Al Qaeda seek refuge in Pakistan and if Obama does not explicitly spell out that he is going to invade Pakistan (including sending ground forces into that country on a large scale if that is needed) to root out the Taliban and Al Qaeda from that country, then the mission in Afghanistan is incoherent by the standards BTD is using for Libya. It would amount to fighting a little bit against Taliban and Al Qaeda but not too much.

    The lack of explicvitness on Pakistan (none / 0) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:40:10 AM EST
    is a function of realpolitik.

    Pretend not to know that if you wish.


    In the light of realpolitik (none / 0) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:51:55 AM EST
    Our involvement in Libya makes a great deal of sense to me, but only does so for me if WE now stand down and other nations complete this mission.

    It isn't fair though BTD to be able to justify one involvement on the scales of realpolitik and not the other.  If anything has been established though in discussing Libya among so many able minds it is that our country cannot sign onto the Libya mission to any greater degree than it has already done.  The President does not have the political will of the people.  Our other military involvements make it impossible for our people to have any energy remaining to get behind anything else of a kinetic military nature.


    grounds when someone explains the realpolitik behind it?

    Very Easy BTD (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by Politalkix on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 12:58:12 PM EST
    We want support from the Arab Street. That support is stronger than support from friendly dictatorial govts in the ME.
    We want more US and Western influence in Libya, not through imposed dictatorships but popular support of the people there. We want less Chinese Russian, Venezeulan influence in that country.
    We want US relationships with the Arab world to be as normal as our relationship with countries like Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan, S. Africa, India and Brazil.
    Providing humanitarian support in Libya is the moral thing to do, it is the realpolitik thing to do.

    OK (none / 0) (#101)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:57:19 AM EST
    The realpolitik justification is easy:

    If Libya falls we will have an example set for every other regime in the region that unlike in Egypt, if the cruelty level is raised high enough and there is oil on the line, tyrants can survive and feel emboldened.

    We are on the verge of real change in the ME and we have two examples of revolution, the relatively peaceful example of Egypt and the violent example of Libya.

    We need both of those situations to turn out positively. If they do not, our geopolitical position is GREATLY weakened.

    And Iran, the real threat in the area, will feel even more emboldened.


    Precedent? (none / 0) (#104)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:58:56 AM EST
    Syria next? SAUDI ARABIA>!?!?



    To be fair (none / 0) (#106)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:09:43 AM EST
    We have the same hold over Saudi Arabia that we had over Egypt.  We arm them, we can stop doing that immediately.  It seems to me that the Syrian protest seems to be growing similar to the Egypt protest.  We have no pull with the Syrian government though where arms are concerned.  And very little credibility with Baathist Sunnis too.

    Arms (none / 0) (#112)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:45:23 AM EST
    If we didnt send arms to Saudi Arabia or Egypt, I bet China and Russia wouldn't mine a new customer.

    The lack of explicitiveness about Gadaffi's future (none / 0) (#145)
    by Politalkix on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 06:00:07 PM EST
    is also a matter of realpolitik. The President is trying to make sure that the Libya mission is not seen by Americans through the lens of Iraq, has to keep a coalition from getting splintered as well as not box himself into a situation like GWB did (when he said that America would get OBL dead or alive).
    I thought you would understand that!

    What in the hell is explicitiveness :)? (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:06:18 AM EST
    Explicitiveness like coherency (none / 0) (#169)
    by Politalkix on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:29:57 PM EST
    is probably jargon :-) that BTD sometimes plucks from thin air to give the feeling that he knows what he is talking about when he really doesn't have a phreaking clue. :-) :-).

    So France, the UK, the Arab League, (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:00:01 PM EST
    NATO, etc. are all just nuts?

    I don't think so.


    Add the U.S... (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Dadler on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:30:30 PM EST
    ...And, yes, all of us are nuts.  Have been for some time, and we act nuts every day all over the globe.  What history in the last fifty years tells any of us differently?

    What track record are you basing your faith on?



    Faith? No. (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:32:18 PM EST
    Agreement with the goal of supporting the Libyan people in getting rid of Gaddafi, as we seem to be able to do, yes.

    The African Union was (none / 0) (#57)
    by KeysDan on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:17:48 AM EST
    critical at one point to get on board with Resolution 1973, but when they balked, it was no longer critical.  Those nuts have not been heard from since.

    Nuts? (none / 0) (#67)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:38:55 AM EST
    Why do you conlude that? I do not know what their interests are in this.

    My focus on what the US interest is.

    Your answer tells me exactly what I want to know - you have no real answer for what the US interest is in this.


    What our national interest in the Middle East (none / 0) (#109)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:20:38 AM EST
    should be is $50/barrel oil.

    Without that we are not going to be able to do all these other things everyone seems to want.


    Nope, I think you have it backwards (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:36:22 AM EST
    Afghanistan's coherence has long since passed its half life.....Nine years later it makes little sense now.

    Libya, if the current policy continues (meaning no U.S. ground troops), will involve far fewer troops and far less risk, and a goal that still has hope of being achieved.


    That's (none / 0) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 05:54:43 AM EST
    really true. We might have that goal but but it might be something that's impossible hence here we are 9 years later.

    The Goal (none / 0) (#76)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:01:25 AM EST
    Isn't cut and clear because the situation isn't cut and clear.

    In those situations you want a reasonable approach explained and laid out on how you will come to decisions, and I think he laid an approach out.

    Whether you agree with it is something else, but expecting an approach as specific as what you claim to respect is flat out silly given the situation and the various factors.

    Bush was the guy who couldn't do nuance.  That's why we upgraded.


    upgraded (5.00 / 0) (#170)
    by NYShooter on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 04:11:30 AM EST
    to a liar who can do nuance.

    Well, I guess that's progress.


    In the past, Obama agreed with you (none / 0) (#75)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:53:50 AM EST
    In his pre-presidential book "The Audacity of Hope," Obama said the U.S. will lack international legitimacy if it intervenes militarily "without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands."

    He questioned: "Why invade Iraq and not North Korea or Burma? Why intervene in Bosnia and not Darfur?"

    Now, such questions are coming at him. AP

    Obama does not have public support (none / 0) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:04:47 AM EST
    to do anything more in Libya.

    Did Obama have public support (none / 0) (#88)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:32:41 AM EST
    for military action in Libya prior to taking the current action?

    To date, I haven't seen the government taking much heed to what actions the public supports or doesn't support. Why would this be any different?

    We must win in Libya

    Sound familiar.


    No, he didn't have solid public support (none / 0) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:42:43 AM EST
    beforehand either.  The past precedent of Presidents being able to immediately respond militarily didn't seem to require such a thing, and they usually felt pretty free to runout the clock on their 90 days too if they wanted to.

    It is a different world though now with instant media.  Things can get very unpopular for a President very quickly and any President functioning in this climate will have to be very careful in those 90 days too because it is easier for things to be documented and to inform large numbers of people quickly.  With the other stresses on the American people right now, I don't think anybody is going to have patience for anything else in Libya.


    Instant media has been around (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 11:02:57 AM EST
    all during Obama's term in office. Public opinion has not been the driving force on the direction Obama and Congress has taken during that time.

    I don't think he can ignore it much longer (none / 0) (#159)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:09:20 AM EST
    Plenty of opportunities to test out (5.00 / 0) (#165)
    by MO Blue on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 12:07:00 PM EST
    how much public opinion matters to Obama and the Democratic members of Congress. From how draconian the cuts to domestic programs, to gutting SS and Medicare, additional tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations and mission creep in Libya, all will be tested in the next year.

    My forecast is that it will be the wealthy individuals and corporations winning by a land slide and regular folks losing big time. But not to worry, Dems can count on people to rationalize their behavior as the best they can do and/or "they are better than the Republicans" and Sarah Palin is scary.


    It may not be that easy (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 08:40:45 PM EST
    I'm not convinced that Gaddafi will go quietly into the sunset. I'm sure him and his inner circle remember what happened to Saddam and his loyalists. He may figure that the same fate will be his. He has a very strong incentive to continue the battle.

    minor quibble (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by bocajeff on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:14:35 PM EST
    regime change didn't take 8 years in Iraq. It took a couple of weeks at most.

    As for how Arabs will view this will likely be determined by how the whole thing turns out. If Qaddafi is gone and Libya becomes peaceful and prosperous then all is good. If
    Gaddafi is gone and the replacement is just as bad if not worse then not so good. Not to mention if
    Kaddafi stays...

    Regime Change (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:02:38 AM EST
    That wasn't regime change...that was regime destruction. There is STILL no permanent government in Iraq!

    I was very pleased, in the very part you quote, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Peter G on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:25:19 PM EST
    to see the sharp slap at W, by way of distinguishing Obama's policy from that of the last Administration.  I hope it's the truth, although I am skeptical.

    dithering... (none / 0) (#13)
    by diogenes on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:42:16 PM EST
    If Obama hadn't dithered and had instead sent in the bombers much earlier (i.e. when Hillary first mentioned a no-fly zone, at the outset of the rebellion), we wouldn't be talking about the need for the rebels to invade Gaddafi because his regime had virtually imploded early in the rebellion.  

    Other countries in Nato were the hold up (none / 0) (#14)
    by tigercourse on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:43:41 PM EST
    to the no fly zone.

    why wait? (none / 0) (#155)
    by diogenes on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:46:59 PM EST
    Obama could have acted without waiting for the ditherers in NATO if he so wished.

    I tuned out obama over a year ago (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:34:51 PM EST

    Tuned out (none / 0) (#83)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:15:27 AM EST
    I hear ya.

    Someone earlier said that as long as Obama gave a good speech last night, they would go along with his decision. That scares me more than anything.


    I just read it and (5.00 / 7) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:48:09 PM EST
    unconvincing does not even begin to provide my reaction. It was a dishonest speech. Why Libya? Obama says:

    "Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya's borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful -- yet fragile -- transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution's future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.?

    Wny not Syria then? OR any number of countries now facing similar repressive regimes and consequences? The credibility of "writ of the UN Security Council" is the reason for this war? Really? Worse than that is the halfassedness of the commitment. Gaddafi must go, but we won't do anything further to have it happen? Let a bloody civil war ensuer?

    This is a humanitarian mission?

    Nonsense. One can hope a happy ending is at the end of this misadventure, but that would be by pure chance, not because of good strategy.

    Awful speech.

    Celebrity dictators get our attention (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Dadler on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:39:07 PM EST
    Keep your profile low and we let you massacre whomever you want.  

    Seriously, it a perverse way, it's the big names we want, like it's a ratings game or something.



    Funny (none / 0) (#22)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 10:10:20 PM EST
    ...how we all can hear the same words so differently. Clearly, with my predisposition, I was prepared to accept President Obama's reasoning (assuming a reasonably decent speech.) What surprised me was the strength of his statement. And, for a person such as myself who has heard so much phoney-baloney justification for military incursions from the 60s onward, that takes some doing.  

    I noted elsewhere that the Speech--with its Background, Argument, & Exhortatory Conclusion--built a compelling structure in terms of the apparent rapidly changing situation throughout the MidEast & in terms of the specifics of Libya. The President wisely focused on the unique situation in Libya, explicitly differentiating it from Iraq & not falling into the everything-must-be-consisten fallacy; and, wisely anticipated the positive strategic outcomes that might be realized in the region after years of America-as-Great-Satan image. He spoke to idealism, he spoke to pragmatism. Significantly, he not only offered but let the facts define a new 21st century model wherein the US doesn't have to be the all-consuming (and consumed) lead. What a leadership statement...to show that other world entities can & should take the leadership role and that the US can & should step back.

    So, I must have been in a different world from you, BTD. But, thats ok. The bottom line for me: To paraphrase the speech...we cannot determine the pace & progress of events and change in the MidEast; but--in situations that call to who we are--we "can make a difference."  I hear you, BTD; I just disagree. To each his own.


    Do not agree that this idea (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 10:49:11 PM EST
    of a "new 21st century model" wherein the US doesn't have to be the all-consuming (and consumed) lead is, in fact, new.  After all, the Korean War was a UN  "police action".   Moreover, with US AC 130s in action, we will not be stepping back, nor does handing over to NATO necessarily leave the US in a secondary role.

    You repeat the gibberish (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:37:19 AM EST
    and say you found it convincing gibberish.

    Sorry, this is not a question of perception. You hasn't explain Why Libya nor can you explain what happens if Gaddafi stays in power.


    The "writ of the UN Security Council (none / 0) (#30)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:22:33 PM EST
    would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility" was a confusing and rambling part of the case the president was attempting to make.  Did he mean Resolution 1973, which would seem odd given that it was a resolution that the US forged, or was it a general statement for the Security Council, odd also.

    Not Syria--because (none / 0) (#36)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:11:51 AM EST
    that is a much harder nut to crack.

    I do aree not agree that we have to have a cookie cutter, one-size-fits all approach to military force.  One can make a fetish of consistency.  Emerson called it a "hobgoblin."

    There are reasons to be concerned about what happens next.

    But Dishonest?  Good grief--that is way over the top.  


    Dishonesty (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:59:16 AM EST
    is a trademark of this administration.

    Do you sincerely believe that we have killed no civilians in our airstrikes - and that the bodies found were placed there by Gaddafi?


    If there is overall success in Libya (none / 0) (#37)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:30:13 AM EST
    it will not be by random chance, but by the very deliberate application of U.S. airpower.

    Yes, there is a strategy:  have the airpower stop Gaddafi's armor, and give the rebels a chance to hold their ground--and perhaps topple Gaddafi, with an assist from other non-military pressure.

    It is a high risk strategy but it is a strategy.

    Has it been successful?  If you measure success by avoiding a massacre in Benghazi, then, yes it has been successful.  Your thought that surrendering to Gaddafi would avoid a massacre is really quite fanciful.  He is not the forgizing type.

    There is a case to be made that intervening in Libya is the wrong choice.....but some of these statements really are off the mark....


    Can (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:56:37 AM EST
    you tell me something about the "rebels"?

    I know that they are against Gaddafi.

    So were we, before we were for Gaddafi.

    But what do they stand for?
    Universal suffrage?


    Like Ghadafi (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Edger on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:30:58 AM EST
    the rebels want power in Libya. And it may be that they are in large part a CIA created rebellion aka Iran 1953.

    Unlike Ghadafi the only Libyans the rebels seem to want to kill are Ghadafi supporters. If they take power in Libya I don't imagine they'll face any shortage of "rebels" wanting to bring them down.

    How are they different from Ghadafi?

    Why is the US there? Self interest. The rest of Obama's speech is blowing smoke.


    My fear is that the American (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by KeysDan on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:22:05 AM EST
    people have, once again, been hoodwinked into war, mining the vein of good will and trust.

    I suspect also (none / 0) (#59)
    by Edger on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:24:03 AM EST
    that the president has been hoodwinked into war. Or he's complicit in the hoodwinking of the American people.

    I go with the latter. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by KeysDan on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:26:49 AM EST
    All a strategy.

    It fits the pattern (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:30:56 AM EST

    Who the rebels are is a good question (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:10:33 PM EST
    What is going in the Ivory Coast is not the issue....

    "Who are the rebels?" (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:28:19 AM EST
    lentinel's question is extremely relevant to the whole Libyan military endeavor.

    Are they one cohesive group?

    From reporters in the area, I get the impression that they are a mishmash of various groups. How humanitarian will our efforts have been even if Gaddafi leaves if a long term civil war for control of the country and its oil continues after he is gone? Will that be considered a success?

    How confident are you that all of the various rebel groups will be friendly to the U.S. and the EU if any of them obtain power? What if the group that finally gets control of the country and its oil reserves decides that they really don't like the West and they void the EU oil contracts and sell their oil to China? Will that be considered a success?

    Since we engaged in bombing the country, will the U.S. be on the hook for billions upon billions to rebuild it? How many more trillions of dollars are you willing to spend to "rebuild countries we have bombed" while we cut programs necessary for our poor to survive and our infrastructure falls apart here in the U.S?

    IMO this has been a fly by the seat of your pants operation without any real thought to the long term consequences of our military actions. BTW, Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, said on Tuesday the US had not ruled out arming the rebel forces. What next? Will we send in U.S. forces identified as trainers. Arming and training the rebels worked out so well in Afghanistan.


    The Massacre (none / 0) (#79)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:03:42 AM EST
    That could have happened in Libya was far worse than anything going on in any of th other countries you listed.

    In Libya, we literally had a mad man state that he was going to kill everyone in a large city and go from city to city without mercy.

    The idea that that was happening in other states is just silly and disconnected from facts on the ground.

    When the Arab League is like "this guy is a psycho" you are dealing with a real psycho.  The distinction is clear and easy to understand.


    What makes you think that? (none / 0) (#89)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:38:16 AM EST
    You think Gaddafi was going to kill everyone in Libya? Sounds like the kind of hyperbole we heard on the ramp up to the Iraq invasion.

    Honestly, the only reason there is a problem in Libya is that the rebels rebelled. Rebels get attacked by the government. It's kind of expected.

    And it's kind of interesting that the rebels were ready for armed combat when the Tunisia and Egypt uprisings occurred.


    He didn't say (none / 0) (#93)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:46:33 AM EST
    he was going to kill everyone in Libya.  He said he was going to crush the rebellion and show "no mercy or compassion" for those in Benghazi. And then he proceeded to drop bombs on innocent civilians and amass troops outside of the city in preparation for what could have been a blood bath not seen since Rwanda.

    I am glad we didn't let that happen, regardless of the politics or polls or what have you.


    Our Bombs (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:23:49 AM EST
    have also killed innocent civilians.

    Bluster (none / 0) (#133)
    by star on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:17:39 PM EST
    Gaddafi has been full of bluster somewhat like Saddam. Rest of the world never took him seriously all these years. Now suddenly , when the time is ripe for an invasion, his boasts are the words written in stone..
    Saddam propoganda of owning WMD's comes to mind.

    That's simply not true (none / 0) (#94)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:49:43 AM EST
    My take on the President's speech (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:09:11 PM EST
    was that it was short on policy and long on trying to answer criticisms of "Washington".  On the latter, he claimed that the "debate"  (where ever that took place) gave false choices and then gave his version of the same.

    On the one hand, "some" (and a definite pejorative lilt could be detected in his voice) question why America should intervene at all even in limited ways in this distant land.   On the other hand, "others have suggested that we broaden our military beyond protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Gaddafi.." "But that would be a mistake."

    In terms of policy, the inconsistency (mention of Iran, no mention of Bahrain) was given short-shrift and rationalized away, leaving the real policy seeming to be it is OK to bomb when I think it to be OK, and I am not going to take a year to intervene as was done under an unnamed previous president in the case of Bosnia (a situation that equates genocide with armed rebellion)..

    I don't give a rat's arse (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:47:17 AM EST
    about consistency.  Emerson was right.

    Other nations present other issues.  Of course we can't do anything in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Syria.

    We help where we can.  We can't help everywhere.  We can help in Libya--given the level of help we are talking about.


    Consistency is the hobgoblin (none / 0) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:15:05 AM EST
    etc.  Agree with you entirely.  It's the argument people resort to on this when they haven't got anything better.  It's entirely nonsensical and non-rational, IMHO.

    I'm wildly ambivalent about this whole enterprise myself, but "consistency" isn't one of the reasons.


    I do think we need to have (none / 0) (#161)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:14:54 AM EST
    some sort of cohesive military foreign policy that we can rely upon, and in that respect if Obama goes beyond the immediate saving of lives and he begins to arm a civil war....I do not know what our policy is at that point.  I'm lost then, and I think he is headed into an extremely volatile and dangerous place socially and politically.

    Ivory Coast? (none / 0) (#81)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:08:19 AM EST
    We could end the misery in the Ivory Coast with just a small operation and virtually no chance of failure. We just don't feel like it.

    Again...why Libya, where the only reason the rebels are being attacked is because they rebelled?


    Ivory Coast is irrelevant (none / 0) (#127)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:11:41 PM EST
    Not to (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by Zorba on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:18:22 PM EST
    the Ivorians.

    To the discussion of Libya (none / 0) (#146)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 06:19:27 PM EST
    Perhaps (none / 0) (#151)
    by Zorba on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:30:08 PM EST
    But the way you stated it seemed rather cold and unfeeling toward the Ivorians.

    It is not irrelevant (none / 0) (#129)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:19:08 PM EST
    to the question of why Libya and not other countries that have worse humanitarian situations.

    That is not the relevant criteria (none / 0) (#147)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 06:24:07 PM EST
    This insistence on consistency is beside the point.

    Perhaps we should go into Ivory Coast.  Maybe not.  

    Two wrongs don't make a right.

    It is good to avoid a consistency fetish.

    Intervening in Libya should be judge on its own merits....I have no problem ad hoc or sui generis decisions....


    exactly (none / 0) (#135)
    by star on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:19:50 PM EST
    so cut he crap about it all being 'Humanitarian'.. aren't people in Ivory coast humans? what makes them less deserving of our kindness than Libiyans?

    Another West Wing quote (none / 0) (#139)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:28:46 PM EST
    PRESIDENT BARTLET:  "What's hard is foreign policy's become a statement of what we won't do." [pause] "Why is a Kuhndunese life worth less to me than an American life?"

    WILL BAILEY:"I don't know, Sir, but it is."

    PRESIDENT BARTLET:"That was ballsy."

    WILL BAILEY:""I won't be working here long."

    Mayber we should use military force in (none / 0) (#148)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 06:24:52 PM EST
    Ivory Coast....

    But the issue is going into Libya...


    So according to star logic (none / 0) (#150)
    by Politalkix on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 06:36:13 PM EST
    if a person donated to earthquake victims in Japan as a humanitarian gesture but did not donate to earthquake victims in Haiti or New Zealand, the donation to the victims in Japan is not a humanitarian gesture because what make the victims in Haiti and N. Zealand less deserving of kindness! Aren't people in Haiti and N. Zealand humans?
    Keep the stupidity flowing!

    So I've read the speech. Query: what U.S. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:02:42 AM EST
    interests are being protected by U.S. military intervention in Libya?  

    That's the key question (none / 0) (#44)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:17:05 AM EST
    I suspect that the "vital U.S. interests" have more to do with the apparently rather intense desire of the other Arab states that somebody do something about Gadhafi more than anything else.  That's not necessarily a bad reason, but it bugs me that it has to remain largely unstated.

    What about the future? (none / 0) (#138)
    by christinep on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:27:51 PM EST
    I'm guessing (and we all speculate about this one way or another depending upon our initial position) that future positioning of the US vis-a-vis the new face of the MidEast is a strong component. In addition to the precipitant humanitarian situation in Benghazi, I'm guessing that this Arab Spring offers the real & pragmatic possibility for repositioning our image in the MidEast. The opening notes in Tunisia, followed by the fast-paced upheaval & change in Egypt, and the several near-uprisings in other Arab states would suggest to foreign policy experts an opportunity that presents itself only rarely in international relations. The potential image change for the US from the despised Great Satan of several generations to a much less negative role would have more than theoretical consequences. E.g., genuine commerce & a more normalized economic interaction...that would support growth on all sides. As the US has shifted its positioning most notably with Egypt and as we are seen to extend forms of aid/support to the emerging new dynamic, we have not only observed the absence of anti-US demonstrations but also begun to realize evidence of reciprocation among those who had written us off not so long ago. (The ongoing documentation of the changes brought about in such attitudes since this Administration started can be found at the Pew Research site.)

    In sum: It is regional strategy repositioning via the lynchpin Libya.


    US interests of being in the right side of history (none / 0) (#152)
    by Politalkix on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:27:18 PM EST
    during this Arab Spring (when seismological shifts are occuring in Arab politics).

    Well, he's not Bush (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by beefeater on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 05:07:20 AM EST
    He's black, taller, reads a better speech and has young kids in the White House instead of hard partying teenagers.

    Other than that it sounds like he just opened the desk drawer in the Oval Office and pulled out the same speech that has been delivered since LBJ "explained" the Gulf of Tonkin.

    Are (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:12:33 AM EST
    you sure that he's taller?

    Obama is taller at 6 ft 1 in (none / 0) (#156)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:48:20 PM EST
    He is the same height as Ronald Reagan and Andrew Jackson

    Dubya is 5 ft 11 1/2 in. The same height as William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon.



    Three envelopes (none / 0) (#52)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:16:52 AM EST

    Have you heard the story of the three envelopes?

    Here's what never makes any (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:37:45 AM EST
    sense to me: emphasizing the decades-long reign of some brutal, totalitarian dictator when explaining why we had to act NOW - it makes it sound as if we could tolerate steady brutality and oppression and torture and death meted out over a long period of time, but our sensibilities are too delicate to tolerate the possibility of a higher body count all at once.

    We can stand on the sidelines for forty years, showing how deeply we care by imposing a sanction here and a sanction there, all the while making sure the oil flows and trying not to make eye contact with the victims of oppression.

    I wish I didn't have to read speeches where we paint ourselves as humanitarian heroes, beacons of freedom and enlightenment, because after 40 years of brutality, something finally tipped the scales in favor of action.

    Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating that we should ride our white horse to the rescue everywhere there is trouble in the world.  What I am saying is that I just find it jarring to read all this rhetoric about interests and values and humanitarianism when something has been going on for nearly half a century.

    Hear hear ! (none / 0) (#136)
    by star on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:22:24 PM EST
    Not that I think this is going on (none / 0) (#140)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:33:14 PM EST
    But isn't is possible that at some point, someone says, "Enough is enough. We've tolerated this for 40 years and things are going to change." ?

    Sure (none / 0) (#141)
    by star on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:43:09 PM EST
    They should say it, act on it, do what ever they can BY THEMSLEVES, for THEMSELVES. How can there be lasting changes, if it is facilitated , interfered with by outside forces(however good their intentions?) How will such cries for change ring true and work permanently, when at the first cry of revolution, the rest of the world swoops down muddies the whole process? (for sure it will be muddies.. there will be interferences at all levels once any outsider is involved).

    Of course (none / 0) (#142)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:54:00 PM EST
    But then by your logic, do we stand by all the time and never get involved?  "(Shrug) Sorry - your problem. Don't want to get involved."

    Our burden (none / 0) (#144)
    by star on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 04:04:26 PM EST
    Why is it our burden to get involved ? what makes us the authority to force other countries to act or not act in a particular way?
    As BTD asked up thread - why only Libiya? why now? if the answer is b'coz Gaddafi is a monster - then so was saddam - he actually used nerve gas on khurds. mass graves exist in Iraq. that does not make Iraq any less a fiasco or atrocious than it is.
    Is the difference international support? was there not a co-oliation of countries for Iraq war as well (even though it was a joke of a co-oliation). does it really make a difference if we bomb another country for/by ourselves or at someone else behest/egging on (France and Arab league ) ? isn't it equally reprehensible?
    I think it is time America really took care of herself instead of policing the whole world. With Obama's election, that is what I expected. That is what Candidate Obama promised us.

    The speech offered nothing new (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by Slado on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:52:56 AM EST
    If you wanted to agree with the action it hit the points you already accepted.   If you disagreed before the speech it didn't change your mind because it didn't offer anything new.

    It was classic Obama.  A professorial speech on a difficult subject with no tag line, no rallying cry, not simple statment that made right and wrong clear.

    Ask yourself.  Would Clinton have made a speech like that?  Reagan?   Of course not.   They would take a difficult subject (which Libya is) and find a key point, moment or feeling and use that to sell their policy.

    Obama can't do that.  Simple as that.  He lectures and plays the straw man again, and again.  

    Works for some people, works on some subjects but last night it didn't.  He just rehashed the same ground and told us to just accept the policy for a myriad of confusing reasons.

    I was ambivalent before and I'm still the same way.  

    Setting aside the merits and demerits (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by scribe on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:32:18 AM EST
    of this operation and of the strategy (or lack thereof) behind it, Obama's behavior has surely taught autocrats and governments the world over two important lessons:

    (1) If you have WMD, we won't attack you (directly) and will leave you in power to do what you will to your population.  (E.g., Pakistan, Iran)

    (2) If you get rid of your WMD, we will attack you and remove you when it suits us, adopting whatever reason we think will sell at the time we decide to go against you. (Especially if you have oil we want to exploit.)  (E.g., Iraq, Libya)

    So, in taking this action, Obama has reinforced the need for Third-world autocrats to make, get and maintain stocks of WMD, particularly nukes and particularly when those autocrats' countries sit atop deposits of desirable natural resources.  He just gutshot what he called the biggest foreign policy item on his agenda:  nuclear nonproliferation.

    You can bet (none / 0) (#91)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:40:42 AM EST
    that Iran is ramping up their Hbomb production right now.  Maybe Israel can convince the US to attack them right after Libya.  For humanitarian reasons, of course.

    Unfortunately, (none / 0) (#130)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:29:24 PM EST
    I agree with you.

    Did great IMO (none / 0) (#1)
    by Saul on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 08:19:18 PM EST
    I believe he uplifted the spirits of the Arab nation not to sees us as the enemy but rather as  a friend who care about the little guy looking for freedom.   This is big very big.   To change the past thinking of how the Arabs looked upon is is revolutionary.  We need to make sure we do not lose the steam we have going for us in this support.

    Keep pounding with air strikes all military targets and I say Gaddafi will be gone in two or three weeks.

    The government better get prepared (none / 0) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 10:47:11 PM EST
    for all the flowers and candy they will receive.

    Watched the speech and agreed (none / 0) (#4)
    by Politalkix on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 08:54:56 PM EST
    with every word that he said.

    Watched 30 seconds of it (none / 0) (#5)
    by PatHat on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 08:59:50 PM EST
    but then he said what I thought he would say and I had to turn it off.

    I am sorry I am so negative, but pols are pols. They do what they want, then they just spin the rest.

    If it is all about politics, what does (none / 0) (#39)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:41:20 AM EST
    Obama get out of this?  

    Support (none / 0) (#82)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:12:43 AM EST
    He gets the support of the Washington GOP and Blue Dog Dems.

    Nope, the GOP opposes Obama (none / 0) (#114)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 11:10:55 AM EST
    on many different grounds...

    Of course (none / 0) (#137)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:22:37 PM EST
    the GOP opposes the President on many different grounds, but getting into the Libya fight is fully supported by the GOP and Blue Dogs. That is the triangulation thing Obama is using to be re-elected.

    Looking at many of the posts here and elsewhere, much of the left will vote for Obama no matter what he does. I lean left, but will not vote for more Obama.

    Even if it help elect a GOP President, at least the Dems will pull together against him/her. Right now Obama is being almost a republican with enough backing from the adoring left to get away with it.



    Nader lives (none / 0) (#149)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 06:28:23 PM EST
    So, you will join with Republicans in defeating Obama....The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

    Sotomayor and Kagan would like to talk to you....


    Obama seems to have (none / 0) (#6)
    by brodie on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:11:58 PM EST
    clearly pledged tonight that Nato would be taking over most of the NFZ and related military actions and therefore our role would be diminishing as of Wednesday to a supporting one, and second that he would not, presumably under any circumstances, be sending in US ground troops to support the anti-regime Libyan fighters.

    I didn't see a lot of slippery, typical pol, Lyin' Lyndon-like wiggle room in those rather simple and clear pledges, nor did I hear a president like Junior Bush in 2002 and early 2003 whose speeches seemed to betray an eagerness to get a larger war started.

    I also view Obama as far more sensitive to and respectful of public opinion on this engagement (more so than LBJ and VN), and so with a re-elect coming up soon for him, he's unlikely to seek another term having to defend broken promises about a Libya action that was supposed to last only days.  

    So, unlike with our insecure, yahoo TX presidents (LBJ, Shrub) and their unnecessary and costly foreign ventures, I'm a lot more confident about the credibility of this president wrt Libya -- with the caveat that he must begin to draw down substantially in Afghanistan in July and move us out of there sooner than planned.

    Don't forget that most of NATO, the actual (none / 0) (#8)
    by caseyOR on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:23:49 PM EST
    hardware and personnel, is us, the United States. Our military is arguably bigger than the militaries of all other NATO members combined. So, saying NATO is taking over seems pretty disingenuous to me.

    It will still be run by the U.S. and paid for by the U.S. We might launder the money through NATO, but it will still be us.


    That's the Fox News (none / 0) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:06:27 AM EST
    talking point and I'm surprised to see you repeating it without question.

    The fact that our military is bigger is entirely irrelevant.  This action does not require a large military.  The French military in particular, having been bottled up and kept from action for a long time, is particularly hot to trot with Sarko's blessing.  The UK military ain't exactly chopped liver, either.

    I've learned not to trust a single word that comes out of Obama's mouth, so I'm still reserving judgment.  But if he can manage the trick no other U.S. president has been able to achieve of goading the rest of NATO and a coupla Arab countries to boot into taking responsibility for the majority, or even a substantial portion of this, I will cheer him.


    I don't ever watch Fox News. None of my (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by caseyOR on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:27:53 AM EST
    comment is based in Fox talking points.

    It doesn't matter how hot to trot the French military may be, the U.S. runs the show with NATO. We provide the biggest chunk of funding, the biggest stash of military hardware and the biggest military force. We have, as MT has pointed out on several occasions, capabilities that no other military possesses, capabilities that are required to pull off this military intervention. We will be neck deep in this for as long as it lasts, no matter how long it lasts.

    And if you think that the United States is going to allow any other nation to command U.S. troops, well, you never struck me as that gullible.


    From AP not Fox (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:40:41 AM EST
    NATO partners are bringing more into the fight. But the same "unique capabilities" that made the U.S. the inevitable leader out of the gate will continue to be in demand. They include a range of attack aircraft, refueling tankers that can keep aircraft airborne for lengthy periods, surveillance aircraft that can detect when Libyans even try to get a plane airborne, and, as Obama said, planes loaded with electronic gear that can gather intelligence or jam enemy communications and radars.

    The United States supplies 22 percent of NATO's budget, almost as much as the next largest contributors - Britain and France - combined. A Canadian three-star general was selected to be in charge of all NATO operations in Libya. His boss, the commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples, is an American admiral, and the admiral's boss is the supreme allied commander Europe, a post always held by an American. AP

    I don't really know how I feel about our (none / 0) (#10)
    by tigercourse on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:31:23 PM EST
    actions in Libya, but I can't really see how people who staunchly opposed Iraq can really support this actions. Hussein was a dictator who regularly attacked, tortured and terrorized his own people. So is the Colonel. We had (what we now know to be false) intelligence saying he had WMD's and was aiding Al qaeda. Thus is was both an act of rational self interest and a humanitarian effort.

    And here we are, aiding rebels with questionable ties and goals to oust another evil dictator in the name of both rational self interest (can't let the Middle Eas go to Hell) and humanitarian concerns. It's a pretty darn similar situation.

    How soon we forget (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 01:08:35 AM EST
    There was no spontaneous popular uprising in Iraq.  We also, you may remember, invaded and then occupied the country.

    I heard it and am (none / 0) (#12)
    by Madeline on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:36:21 PM EST
    ambivalent about the speech.I have heard so many speeches from Obama where the action turns out to be opposite. If he follows through with the rhetoric, I will be pleasantly surprised - shocked really. I think Obama is campaigning for 2012. That is my definition of his 'cost and benefits".

    As far as intervening on a humanitarian level, or as Obama stated, cost and benefits, I am against it due to the fragile US economy and all the issues attached; jobs, homes, mortgages, laws, erratic governors, etc.

    I am sorry that parts Africa, the Middle East, Asia are living under dictators and/or despots.  I feel bad for them and hope they can fight the fight to get what they think they need. I commend them and wish them luck.

    However I, at this point, support isolationism.  No more entanglements with other countries. No pre emptive alliances.  The money stays here and we advance us.

    The mention of Charlotte (none / 0) (#24)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 10:27:00 PM EST
    in the context of 2012 did make me roll my eyes.  Yes, I am that skeptical.  However I don't disagree with the speech in general, in terms of its plausibility.  I don't think there are too many rigid principles involved here, but I am grateful that we have an Administration that is not quite as cavalier as Bushco.  I would say he is stepping a bit in hot water though - I don't know that other leaders are going to regard our "warning shot" as such.  The framing sets him up for eventual hypocrisy...and how that will affect the Middle East, I don't know.

    He's not Bush (none / 0) (#33)
    by Madeline on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:36:38 PM EST
    he is who he is...I reread that speech and I thought it was a great speech and he said all the right things.  It is the most emotionally engaged he has been in a speech, on policy, for a long time.

    I don't want to be so negative about him in re HOPE
    he means it but I just can't get there.


    I thought he did a great job (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:52:13 PM EST
    My spouse was concerned though that our commitment seems a little open ended via this speech.  Don't know if everyone saw this diary at dkos so wanted to link to it.  This soldier seems to have blanketed the left blogosphere too with it, and rightfully so.  Saw that it was at DU as well.  I sent it to people that I know at Fort Rucker too.

    In a nutshell, what it is about is sadly two retired Colonels on Fox News (one who seems to still have heavy connections at the Pentagon in the area of Special Forces) validating on Fox News that THEY KNOW AND HAVE BEEN TOLD BY THEIR SOURCES that we have Special Forces on the ground in Libya.  It is likely that we do.  We have been very accurate with Tomahawks and have avoided civilian death.  That doesn't happen because of some fluke.  It is likely we have some of our most extreme Special Forces on the ground phoning and lasing this stuff in when the target is clear of civilians.  Now Gaddafi knows and it should make for some great hunting parties.  How sad that two retired Colonels with Special Forces experience have placed our most elite life saving Special Forces soldiers at risk just to try to raise a Faux News Stinky Hullabaloo.  There really isn't anything too low for Foxy News and their contributors and worshippers.

    Are the two Colonels going to join (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:56:20 PM EST
    Private Manning?

    Good question huh? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 09:58:46 PM EST
    How is it that they will get to avoid it?  They are leaking classified information!

    A-10's and AC-130's (none / 0) (#51)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 07:05:33 AM EST

    A-10's and AC-130's were in action over the weekend.  These close support aircraft depend on forward air controllers (boots on the ground) to designate targets.  Whether any classified material was leaked, or the they were using simple common sense and an understanding of how those two weapons systems operate is an open question.



    According to MT, the two colonels (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:36:12 AM EST
    stated that they received confirmation from "their sources."

    Maybe an investigation should be launched as to exactly who their sources are and if they are leaking classified information, they and the Colonels should join Manning in solitary confinement etc.


    Exactly! (none / 0) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:38:54 AM EST
    And the most sickening thing (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:40:46 AM EST
    These two Colonels and their leakers put people's lives in danger in real time.  Manning leaked things that can allow our enemies to better understand us, but these Colonels are giving away soldier positions in real time!  It is much worse in that respect than what Manning did.

    Give Me a Break (none / 0) (#84)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:17:37 AM EST
    In the age of laser guided bombs, there has to be scouts on the ground if we want pin-point accuracy.  

    Sources, common knowledge, or an educated guess, either way no one is in danger.  Do you really think Gaddafi is watching Fox and going, "Americans on our soil, I am shocked, let's hunt them down with info from Fox News."  Which was they were in the country, not much of a lead.

    I'm not Fox News fan, but this is beyond riduculous.  Did you really think there isn't one person from the US military in Libya, really ?

    I will even goes as far as presuming anytime there is major strife in a country, some sort of US forces are in the midst getting accurate intel.


    The missions are classified (none / 0) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:31:52 AM EST
    I don't give a shit what you think about it either.  Retired Colonels do not leak classified information that was leaked to them from the Pentagon and the Pentagon isn't supposed to be leaking classified information.  Soldiers do not deliberately place other soldier's lives in danger or ever ever ever give away positions...not ever.

    The use of A-10's and AC-130's (none / 0) (#97)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:53:21 AM EST

    The use of A-10's and AC-130's is in the public domain.  What those weapons systems need for targeting assistance is common knowledge.  From the air, a bunch of trucks with big machine guns on them that are pro-Qaddafi look exactly like a bunch of trucks with big machine guns on them that are anti-Qaddafi.  Think about that for a minute or two.

    Fox or any other news outfit has an interest in having its viewers believe they are getting inside scoop from experts.  This is easier to do when the general public is unaware of how the details work.  Dressing up common military knowledge as a classified leak may be good for ratings, but is no proof of a leak.


    Tracy (none / 0) (#110)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:23:32 AM EST
    You entire outrage is based on the credibility of Fox News guests.  You are making some really big leaps, from Fox News guest's 'source' to fact.  In my book that is one hell of a jump, then the leaps and bounds from claiming there are people on the ground to putting an actual US military person in danger is just too much.

    I suspect, as you suspect a leak, they made educated guesses based on their knowledge of military protocol/strategy.  My god Tracy, you act as if retired colonels are above lying on Fox News, which I know you know just is not true.

    Stop please, unless you know there was a leak, take it for what it is, a blowhard on Fox News who has an agenda.

    And I am pretty the term 'position' means something a little more accurate that an area larger than Alaska.


    Really? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:33:47 AM EST
    Common Sense is something there is no scientific measure for and experienced differently for each and every human being.  And I fail to see how you get such a thing mixed up with some retired Colonel on a major media outlet spouting that he has secret information from sources in the Pentagon that we have Special Forces on the ground.  Those missions are classified.  They are on Fox News spouting this stuff simply attempting to make some News on Fox News and those Colonels ought to be arrested and their leakers sought in every legal way possible!  They are traitors.

    I expect your question was rhetorical (none / 0) (#116)
    by sj on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 11:57:51 AM EST
    But you know that these were sanctioned leaks which are designed to downplay the collateral damage.  It seems they worked, too.  MT is much reassured wrt such damage and has explanations for why she is reassured.

    So now everyone will pretend the information was never classified.

    My mind works a different way.  My mind went to the fact that Fox will let them speak without validating their statements for veracity.  No need to provide documentation -- they have colonels.  To me, it's just as likely to be disinformation as it is to be sanctioned leaks.


    More than rhetorical really (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 10:59:04 PM EST
    The government and the military leak classified information all the time for propaganda purposes without a lot of regard as to who might be injured as a result. No harm, no foul, as long as the "leaks" meet government or military objectives.

    Yet an American citizen suspected, not convicted, of leaking classified information can be subjected to what by many international definitions amounts to torture.        


    Not sure what he meant (none / 0) (#46)
    by mars08 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 02:34:07 AM EST
    His speech was not clear at all. Did he just hinted that he won't be doing anything at all?

    Could pretty much have been reduced to (none / 0) (#68)
    by TJBuff on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:39:55 AM EST
    NATO freedom bombs, but no US freedom troops.  USA, USA!  

    America ... F Yeah! (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by PatHat on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 09:24:39 AM EST

    Smart bombs are still bombs. Just because we don't see the carnage doesn't mean it didn't happen.


    Spammer (none / 0) (#72)
    by Edger on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 08:45:24 AM EST

    Arming the rebels (none / 0) (#143)
    by star on Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 03:54:49 PM EST
    Is a very dangerous precedent. Look were arming Taliban got us? With out knowing the nature of the beast, understanding their culture, we blindly sided with and aided and abetted Taliban.close to 500billion dollars was channeled to fight soviets via pak and Taliban. What did that get us? there was whole scale massacre and carpet bombing by soviets in Afghanistan. Our interference could have truly been called 'Humanitarian'.

    Soon as they were free of soviet menace, the first thing Taliban/Alqaida/mujahids/binladen and co did was to nominate us enemy No1. at that point , USA had done them no harm,only helped and propped them up in-spite of the atrocities they were committing on their own people.

    What makes us so sure that we will not repeat the same mistake in Libya. What makes us think these rebels are going to LOVE us for destroying their country from the air. especially after Gaddafi is gone (if he is gone in reasonable time), then the new govt, has to rebuild and reconstruct their civil and political infrastructure with out supervision from the same forces, who invested millions of dollars worth of tomahawk missiles in that country.

    This whole thing is a mess - totally unnecessary. anyone cutting this president slack please imagine for a minute if it was a republican president doing this instead of Obama..