The right-wing media is grasping for coherence in its attempts to portray military action in Libya as "Obama's Iraq."
Weekly Standard: "This Is Not So Much A Feeble Response As A Non-Response." In a February 23 Weekly Standard post, titled, "Obama's Pathetic Response to Libya," Elliot Abrams wrote:
With a thousand Libyans (and perhaps many more) dead already from the Qaddafi regime's attacks on its own population, and with reports of thousands of mercenaries and militiamen streaming toward Tripoli, President Obama finally spoke to the nation about this violence on Wednesday afternoon. He announced solemnly that he was sending Secretary of State Clinton to Geneva to visit the U.N. Human Rights Council and "hold consultations"--next Monday! But fear not: Undersecretary of State Bill Burns is apparently traveling sooner than that to "several stops in Europe" and then even in the actual Middle East, to "intensify our consultations."
This is not so much a feeble response as a non-response. It is an announcement to Qaddafi that we won't even get the secretary of State moving for five more days--five more days of likely slaughter. The verbs the president employed in his remarks are toothless: we will "monitor" and "coordinate" and "consult." We will "speak with one voice." While he "strongly" condemned "the use of violence in Libya" the president could not bring himself to condemn the regime or its leader, the man who is imposing this reign of terror. He did say "the Libyan government has a responsibility to refrain from violence, to allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need, and to respect the rights of its people. It must be held accountable for its failure to meet those responsibilities, and face the cost of continued violations of human rights." But at what cost? He did not say. The closest the president came to speaking of action was this: "I've also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis. This includes those actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we'll carry out through multilateral institutions." No one knows what this means, but it presumably may mean sanctions. Maybe. Next week. Because "prepare" is not an action verb either.
The administration has quietly told reporters that it can say no more, lest Americans in Libya be attacked by the regime or taken hostage. That's a real concern, but once again silence is the right response for countries with no options and no capabilities. For us, the right reaction to such threats and such fears is to call Musa Kusa, Qaddafi's long-time intelligence chief, and tell him that if the regime attacks any American we will find him wherever he is, however long it takes, and he will meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein. And tell him to pass that on to Qaddafi. [Weekly Standard, 2/23/11]
Weekly Standard's Kristol: Obama Administration Is "Dithering" On Libya. In a February 25 Weekly Standard editorial titled, "The Obama Administration Squeaks Up," editor Bill Kristol wrote:
Indeed, the dithering of the Obama administration has raised a more fundamental question: Have our elites--and not just those running the Obama administration--become so encumbered by self-doubt, so weakened by sophistication, so seduced by the excuses provided by the claim of helplessness, that they are incapable of acting decisively? Once Americans tried to seize every moment of opportunity. Now we are far more likely to stand back and watch history unfold, while explaining why we can't do anything to shape that history. After all, our foreign policy establishment explains condescendingly, the challenges are daunting. So many forces are beyond our control. The risks are great. The obstacles are overwhelming.
There is another word for this widespread attitude of passive self-doubt. That word is decadence. Last week's farcical ferry, bobbing aimlessly in the waters off Tripoli, was an image for our government's embrace of helplessness, for its acceptance of decline. It recalled the downed helicopters in Iran in early 1980, emblems of the failed Carter administration. But at least President Carter sent helicopters. In so doing he overruled his secretary of state, who wished to do nothing. So far, this president is performing in this crisis at a sub-Jimmy Carter level of assertiveness and command.
It doesn't have to be this way. Obama is the same president, after all, who rejected counsels of defeatism in Afghanistan and surged troops into theater, where we are now making remarkable progress on the battlefield--and even beginning to see political progress. There is also, lest we forget, the recent example of the successful surge in Iraq, a policy implemented when sophisticates across the globe counseled American retreat. [The Weekly Standard, 2/25/11]
Rove: Obama Is "Dithering" On Libya And "As A Result America Has Looked Weak." From the February 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR KARL ROVE: I agree with Bill Kristol in his editorial this weekend in The Weekly Standard in which he said the administration is "dithering," that they have moved slowly, that they have been behind the curve on this, and that, as a result, America has looked weak, And we have an emerging situation in Libya which could result in a civil war that could be protracted, ugly, and also violent with a lot of people losing their lives.
HOST BILL O'REILLY: But when you make an accusation like Kristol did and use the word "dithering," you've got to then put forth what the president should have done, which is?
ROVE: Well, for example, on Wednesday, he was asked -- at a news conference his press spokesman was asked why isn't the administration speaking out against the violence and calling for an end to the regime in Libya like our other allies are doing, like [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel in Germany and others? And the president's flack said we will comment on that later and sometime we will issue a paper on it. Later that day they issued a paper statement, ostensibly from a conversation that Obama had with the German Chancellor Merkel in which the President spoke out on the crisis in which he said we are taking every step to protect Americans. That's not a very strong statement.
There is a piece today in The Washington Post by Michael O'Hanlon who is from the Brookings Institution and from the left and Paul Wolfowitz who is at the American Enterprise Institute and from the right. The two of them made a pretty good convincing case that we ought to have acted sooner because the administration wants to act through multilateral agencies and that takes a while, and they should be doing things like medical supplies and humanitarian aid into the eastern part of the country that's now been liberated from Gadhafi. Declare that we are no longer recognizing Gadhafi, break diplomatic relations. Peru did it in order to show their distaste for the regime. We haven't.
Engage in a dialogue with the people in the liberated parts of the country. First to discuss the kind of conditions that we believe in the West are necessary for us to have a dialogue with them like are you in favor of a united secular Libya. And that second of all what do they need to defend themselves and to care for their people.
There've been others, the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee had issued (INAUDIBLE) no fly zone in order to keep them from doing in Libya what Saddam Hussein did after the Gulf War in Iraq.
You know, there are a variety of things that we should have been doing and should be doing earlier. But the administration seems to wait until it got the Americans out of the country and then it took the one step --
O'REILLY: Would you have advised President Obama, say you were in the same position as you were with President Bush to move U.S. Warships off the coast of Libya?
ROVE: Sure. Or at least to have U.S. aviation assets; we have bases in Italy which could be re-fueled and kept aloft over the region in order to enforce a no fly zone or at least to be off the coast of Libya and be a threat. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/28/11]
Red State: "Pious Words And Firm Rhetoric" Is Not Enough. In a March 14 blog post cross-posted on Red State, conservative blogger Moe Lane wrote:
Michael Totten reminds us that if Qaddafi wins in Libya after all, it's not without precedent. Specifically, the precedent of Saddam Hussein, post-Gulf War I. Back then we were all "wouldn't it be great if the dictator fell?", too- and back then we pretty much sat around and did nothing printable while the dictator went around smashing the opposition back down into the ground*. Which is what is happening now in Libya, apparently: the rebellion is reportedly collapsing in slow motion. It would seem that while pious words and firm rhetoric is of course all very useful and wonderful and everything, they're not particularly effective at piercing tank armor and/or providing artillery support... which is something that the people fighting Qaddafi need rather more of right now. You want to see what happens when we're not the world's policeman? Here you go.
And if that doesn't bother you on its own hook - after all, worrying about dead foreigners is so... neoconservative, isn't it? - consider this: both Qaddafi and his regime have only ever responded to the stick. After 2003, both were deathly afraid of what America and the West would do to them; I suspect that after this is all over neither will much care. Which is... bad. [Red State, 3/14/11]
Fox News Anchor Scott: "If I Were President Obama, I Would Unilaterally" Enforce Libya No-Fly Zone. From the February 28 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
JON SCOTT (host): Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussing the turmoil in Libya. She is in Geneva, Switzerland, meeting with the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary Clinton arguing that it's time for Moammar Gadhafi to go and saying, in no uncertain terms, that nothing is off the table so long as the regime threatens and kills its own people.
Let's talk about it with Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. There's all this dithering at the U.N. and other places, apparently, about whether to enforce a no-fly zone or impose a no-fly zone over Libya where Moammar Gadhafi has apparently told his own air force to go in and strafe the people who have been protesting against him.
FLEISCHER: Well, first of all, dithering at the United Nations is redundant.
SCOTT: Yeah, what's new.
FLEISCHER: But we as a nation, as a moral nation, we will forever kick ourselves if there's a massacre of people, just like there was in Iraq after the '91 war, with helicopters, with gunships against the people in the street as Gadhafi takes one last stand. If we could have prevented it and we didn't -- this is a moral thing to do, not a military. It's moral.
SCOTT: I don't like to play president very often, but if I were President Obama I would unilaterally announce that the United States is going to enforce a no-fly zone. I mean, who's going to complain about that? [Fox News, Happening Now, 2/28/11]
Gingrich: "Exercise A No-Fly Zone This Evening"; "We Don't Need To Have The United Nations." On the March 7 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, host Van Susteren interviewed former GOP Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich about the no-fly zone in Libya:
VAN SUSTEREN: What would you do about Libya
NEWT GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone and that the sooner they switch sides, the more like they were to survive, provided help to the rebels to replace him. I mean, the idea that we're confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 just tells you how inept this administration is. They were very quick to jump on Mubarak, who was their ally for 30 years, and they were confused about getting rid of Gadhafi. This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.
VAN SUSTEREN: And why do you think -- you say you think it's ineptitude is why the pause or there's (INAUDIBLE) different political...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... or different diplomacy?
GINGRICH: I think the most generous comment would be ineptitude. It's also an ideological problem. The United States doesn't need anybody's permission. We don't need to have NATO, who frankly, won't bring much to the fight. We don't need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we're intervening. And we don't have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force, which we could do in minutes. And then we have to say publicly that he is gone, that the military should switch sides now, and we should help the rebels. And if that means getting them weapons or whatever it means, the fact that there's no more Libyan air power and the fact that the United States has publicly come out for decisively replacing him, I suspect the military will dump him. [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 3/7/11, via Nexis]
AEI's Hayward: "I'm Not Sure I Ever Thought I'd See the Day That The United Nations ... Would Look Tougher Than The President Of The United States." In a March 17 post at The National Review Online's blog, The Corner, Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute wrote:
I'm not sure I ever thought I'd see the day that the United Nations, the impotent folks who prompted one of Lyndon Johnson's better quips ("The U.N. couldn't pour piss out of a boot if you printed the instructions on the heel!"), would look tougher than the president of the United States -- since a U.N. resolution authorizing force is really a U.N. resolution calling for U.S. leadership to deploy the actual force.
I'd love to try to make out that this was all the result of a brilliant reverse-psychology strategy by Obama and Hillary Clinton -- show restraint and subservience to the "international community," which then finally awakens them to the sense of responsibility the U.N.'s founders envisioned way back in the 1940s, when Churchill, among others, hoped the U.N. would intervene against tyrants like Qaddafi . . . (one one-thousand one, one one-thousand two, one one-thousand three) . . . Nah. [National Review Online, 3/17/11]
Big Peace: Obama Is "Wasting Precious Time, Costing Civilian Lives, And Complicating The Task." In a March 21 Big Peace post headlined, "Support the War, Regret the President: Obama Is A Fraud," contributor Joel B. Pollack wrote:
Because he was never in a position to vote on it, Obama's claim to have opposed the Iraq war rested on a speech he gave in the fall of 2002 at an anti-war rally in Chicago. (No full recording of the speech exists, so his campaign re-recorded it.) Obama said that while Saddam Hussein was "a bad guy," he was no threat to the U.S. and could "be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history."
The same could be said of Muammar Gaddafi today. The difference, Obama supporters might say, is that this president waited for authorization from the UN Security Council. He certainly did-wasting precious time, costing civilian lives, and complicating the task. And international support was in place for weeks before Obama finally came around-more to avoid blame for Gaddafi's victory than to ensure his defeat. [Big Peace, 3/21/11]
Peters: "You Really Can't Do War Part Way, Just Like You Can't Get A Little Bit Pregnant." On the March 21 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, Fox News contributor Ralph Peters said:
PETERS: A basic lesson here is you really can't do war part way, just like you can't get a little bit pregnant. And President Obama wants to have it every which way. He sends our troops to combat; takes a beach vacation in Rio, does his Ricky Ricardo thing; and, you know, because he's worried about his base getting angry at him, so he's kind of trying to visually disassociate himself. But while it was well worth while to stop Gadhafi's murderous thugs from slaughtering freedom fighters, that's not enough. That just brings us back to a stalemate. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/21/11]
Asman: "There's No Respect For An Administration That Fears Taking The Lead." On the March 21 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman stated:
ASMAN: The Obama administration put off imposing a no-fly zone on Moammar Gadhafi because they were afraid our so-called friends wouldn't like it. After three weeks of dithering we finally acted even after the Arab League called for a no-fly zone over Libya last week. But guess what? Our friends just stabbed us in the back. Just a few days after demanding action against Gadhafi, the Arab League just condemned our actions against Gadhafi. Surprise? Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa is now quote, "deploring the broad scope of the bombing campaign in Libya. Meanwhile, Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin, is helping us out by calling us "crusaders." So much for the support of our friends. This is what happens when the U.S. cares more about being friends than it does about doing what's right.
But there's no respect for an administration that fears taking the lead. When the United States does not lead it is seen as weak. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/21/11]
Trump: "I Think He's Very Late." On the March 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts discussed a range of issues with Donald Trump, including the launch of U.S. military involvement in Libya. From the show:
TRUMP: Well, I think he's been very late. I mean I thought of it as really a humanitarian thing, let's save some of these people, and you know two, three weeks later, thousands and thousands of people have been killed and if he would have done this two weeks ago, 2 1/2 weeks ago, you might have stopped the whole thing and frankly, I also think they've been pretty well dissipated, I don't think they have the power to take over anymore. So something bad is going to happen. So if you're going to do it, you really should have done it earlier. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/11]
NRO: "If U.S. Officials Had Moved To Stop The Fighting" Before The U.N. Resolution Passed "They Would Have Done So When Tripoli Was On The Ropes." In his March 18 National Review Online column, James Carafano wrote:
President Obama said an international coalition, including the U.S., will take military action against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi if he does not comply with a U.N. resolution aimed at protecting Libyan civilians," the Washington Post reports. "Obama said Gaddafi has been given 'ample warning.'"
"Ample warning"? Apparently so: Even before the U.N. resolution passed, the regime in Tripoli said it intended to declare a cease-fire. Qaddafi, who has survived everything from sanctions to air attacks, is no dummy.
In the short term, who wins? Maybe Obama, because he can declare he has stopped the war without firing a shot. That claim would ring pretty hollow, though. If he thought he could do that, why didn't he do it last week, when Qaddafi was losing? Then the U.S. ran to the Security Council to actually get a resolution that, for all practical purposes, prohibited a no-fly zone. If U.S. officials had moved to stop the fighting last week, they would have done so when Tripoli was on the ropes. Now they've created the space for Qaddafi to catch his breath and consolidate power.
Furthermore, what has Obama won? Is the U.S. military going to stick around 24/7/365 to keep Tripoli from whacking the opposition when no one is looking? And what is Obama going to do to keep the bits Qaddafi hasn't conquered from turning into a new foreign-fighter Disneyland for would-be terrorists and Islamists?
If all goes well with the cease-fire, the White House will have done what the White House does best -- divert attention from its inability to exercise decisive leadership. [National Review Online, 3/18/11]
Morris And McGann: "Does [Obama] Understand That He Could Have Stopped The Bloodshed In Libya By Declaring A No Fly Zone Three Weeks Ago?" From a March 18 column by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann posted on DickMorris.com:
Where is Barack Obama? Is he still in office? As he jets off with his family for a taxpayer-paid vacation in Rio, does he realize the world is falling apart around him?
Does he realize that the radical unrest and disturbances in the Middle East are driving oil and gasoline prices so high that a double dip recession - this time with inflation - is increasingly likely?
Does he understand that he could have stopped the bloodshed in Libya by declaring a no fly zone three weeks ago and that if he does it now, he can still stop a brutal dictator from murdering thousands more?
When Hillary Clinton leaks to the media that she favored stronger action in Libya and is upset with the White House dithering, can the rest of the left be far behind? [DickMorris.com, 3/18/11]
Red State: If We Aren't "Remov[ing] Ghadaffi," "What The Hell Are We Doing" In Libya? On March 21, Red State's Erick Erickson promoted an upcoming radio show by saying, "Secretary of Defense Gates says we shouldn't remove Ghaddafi from control of Libya. So what the hell are we doing there?" [Red State, 3/21/11]
Fox Nation: "TIME: Obama Exaggerating Atrocities in Libya to Justify War." On March 21, Fox Nation linked to a Time magazine article to claim Obama is "exaggerating atrocities in Libya to justify war." From Fox Nation:
[Fox Nation, 3/21/11]
Hannity: "There Was A Great Reluctance By The President To Even Get On Board." On the March 21 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said of the international intervention in Libya: "There was great reluctance by the president to even get on board. We're not leading the effort. France is leading the effort, Great Britain is leading the effort, we seem to be going along for the ride. And there's no defined mission here that I can tell." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/21/11, via Nexis]
Oliver North: Obama "Does Not Really Know What He Wants To Do." During an interview on Hannity, Fox News contributor Oliver North stated:
NORTH: Look, he's on spring break, give the poor boy, give him a break. Look, here's the bottom-line of this president, this is a man who tries to please everyone. He's got various factions in his own party, he's got various factions around the world. He's got nothing but apologize for America, literally since he's been in office. And now, he's in a position where he has to be the commander in chief and it is just beyond him. He did the same in his speech at West Point when he announced the surge less than what General Petraeus that asked for and then announce an end date, we're going to start withdrawing in the summer of 2011, this summer. This is the same kind of problem, Sean. If you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no one.
HANNITY: Right. But this is a problem. If the center of gravity, in other words in terms of world leadership, is now because of America's failure or America gives it up, and is now shifted to Europe, if they now make those decisions, if the president doesn't go to Congress for example, there are angry liberal congressmen about this, but he goes to the United Nations and he basically uses them as his justification, and doesn't seem to have the real commitment, it seems that he doesn't really believe that America's place in the world ought to be one of moral leadership. Fundamentally, what message does that send the world?
NORTH: Think of what he said today. He basically said today, and I'm paraphrasing this, you know, the Court Ranger in front of me, he basically says that if there's a people who are threatened by an illegitimate leader, that we have an obligation to go and do something about it, not just idly speak about it. The bottom-line that that means, he's going to have to do something about Bahrain, he's got to do something about Syria, Iran, you think about Yemen. All of those situations where their military is being used against their people, in some cases our friends and other cases our terrible bitter adversaries. What is he going to do about this? He's trying to pick and choose which ones, which democracy movement he supports?
NORTH: The bottom line is, this is a president who does not really know what he wants to do. He simply wants to be popular with everybody, every audience before which he stands. Unfortunately, you cannot lead that way, this is a man whose crisis of leadership is now affecting the future of this nation and National Security of this country and putting young Americans in harm's way without anybody authorizing, except the United Nations. That's a frightening outcome for the United States. It also is for Israel, if a similar vote is held on what they do. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/21/11, via Nexis]
Daily Caller's Lewis: Obama Has Failed At "Effectively Communicating Why This Was The Right Thing To Do." Echoing House Speaker John Boehner's recent statement calling on Obama to explain the mission in Libya, the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis wrote in a March 21 post titled, "Boehner is Right: Obama Must Explain Libya":
Since 9-11, the American public has grown understandably "gun-shy" about any sort of limited military action. There is little faith that the U.S. can accomplish even a limited mission (such as a no-fly zone) without being sucked into a longer engagement. Part of the problem, I think, is that missions are not clearly defined for the American public, thus opening the door for "mission creep".
President Obama has an opportunity to restore some faith in America's ability to exert a positive influence in the world, but it will require effectively communicating why this was the right thing to do -- and how it can be accomplished. ... Oh yeah, and it will require actually accomplishing our goals -- and then leaving. But it starts with winning the argument -- something Obama has clearly not accomplished.
For a leader who often talks about "teachable moments," this is his opportunity. [Daily Caller, 3/21/11]
Hoft: "Obama's Indecision On Libya Has Reportedly Even Driven Hillary Over The Edge." In a March 17 post to his Gateway Pundit blog titled, "As Gaddafi Finishes Off the Rebels, Obama Administration Springs Into Action -- Calls For New UN Resolution," Jim Hoft wrote: "As the brutal Gaddafi regime began bombing the last opposition strongholds in Libya today, the Obama Administration lept into action and called for a brand new and strongly worded UN resolution. The rebels are fighting to hold on in Libya. Shameful." He added: "And, just last week Obama was telling the world that Gaddafi must go." In an update to his post, Hoft wrote: "Things are so bad that Obama's indecision on Libya has reportedly even driven Hillary over the edge." [Gateway Pundit, 3/17/11]
Doocy: "Suddenly, There Are Too Many Cooks In The Coalition." On the March 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy, referring to a graphic displayed on a screen in the studio, said, "Suddenly there are too many cooks in the coalition." From the show:
DOOCY: This is also detailed in The Washington Post this morning where they talk about how the fact that a number of our NATO partners are going hey, wait a minute, we didn't know it was going to be quite that punitive. We didn't know they were going to take that stuff out. Suddenly there are too many cooks in the coalition. Who is calling the shots in Libya? Great question. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/22/11]
Beck: "If I Would Have Told You A Year Ago That France Would Lead" On Libya Intervention, "Would You Have Believed That?" From the March 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: If I would have told you a year ago that France would lead -- that France would be the one that says, "You know what? I'm tired of waiting around. We'll send our planes, and we'll bomb." And America would say, [crying noise]. Would you have believed that a year ago? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/18/11]
American Spectator: "Obama's Doctrine Of Multilateralism Is A Profession Of Weakness To All The Terror-Sponsoring Nations" And "Is Provoking Our Enemies To Action." In a March 21 post on the American Spectator website, Jed Babbin wrote:
Looking a bit deeper, we see that Obama's doctrine is destabilizing the Middle Eastern nations that are at best unreliably aligned with us while our principal enemies -- the terror-sponsoring nations such as Iran and Syria -- are unaffected by his ministrations.
European liberals and Islamists around the world are rejoicing at President Obama's decision to renounce leadership and commit American military power in UN-sanctioned action against Gaddafi's forces. They rejoice because Obama has granted the achievement of their ultimate goal: American foreign policy and the employment of American military power have been subordinated to the whims and caprices of their multilateralism.
The Libyan operation, as Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said on yesterday's Fox News Sunday, is not about protecting American interests. This is about Obama's desire to subordinate American power to the "international community." He was maneuvered into this action by the Europeans, the Arab League, and the ladies on his national security team led by Hillary Clinton.
Weakness is provocative, as former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld is fond of saying. Obama's doctrine of multilateralism -- subordinating American power and interests to the will of other nations -- is a profession of weakness to all the terror-sponsoring nations.
Across the Middle East, Obama's doctrine is provoking our enemies to action. What is happening in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq and Tunisia is only beginning to show its effect.
Gaddafi has promised a long war and he may be able to make good on the promise. But what will we do? Are we prepared for another long war, straining our already-stretched military resources further to no apparent purpose?
Obama's decision to use military force in Libya was wrong, and it compounds his -- and his predecessor's -- mistakes in the war the terror-sponsors wage against us. We have entered a fight at the UN's behest. Will Obama await UN approval to withdraw our forces? Will he commit our forces to an endless UN "peacekeeping" operation there? We -- and the terror sponsors in Tehran, Damascus, and elsewhere -- eagerly await his answer. [American Spectator, 3/21/11]
Frum: "The Gadhafi Regime May Well Have Prevailed" If "Any Final Decision Must Await A NATO Meeting." In a March 14 CNN.com opinion piece, CNN contributor and former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote:
Has the Obama administration decided it wants the Gadhafi regime to survive?
That hypothesis is the only way to make sense of the administration's actions toward Libya.
On March 3, President Obama announced that Col. Moammar Gadhafi "must go."
Gadhafi did not listen. Instead, the Libyan dictator has brutally quelled the uprising with rockets, air strikes and attacks on civilian population centers.
And the U.S. reaction? The more brutally Gadhafi acts, the more slowly the U.S. responds. France and the United Kingdom are pressing for a no-fly zone inside Libya. Some military experts in U.S. have suggested arming the insurgents. The administration has said it is considering all these options, but that any final decision must await a NATO meeting on Tuesday.
By then, the Gadhafi regime may well have prevailed.
Then, when the shooting is over, the administration can express regret for the loss of life -- and urge Gadhafi to reform his bloody ways. And when criticized, the excuse will be ready: We wanted to act, really and truly -- we just ran out of time.
Maybe somebody will even believe it. [CNN.com, 3/14/11]
Big Peace: Obama "Waited Far Too Long," Allowing "The French, The French, To Become The Boosters Of Liberty In Our Place." In a March 21 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace website, Warner Todd Huston wrote:
First of all we must say right up front that no matter what comes later in Libya, it is a good thing should Gaddhafi be deposed. He is a murderer, he is an enemy to this country and to decent people everywhere, and he has oppressed his people for far, far too long. If something worse follows him that does not erase the fact that eliminating Gaddhafi is a good thing. Because it is a good thing.
Unfortunately, Obama has made a hash of this whole thing. He waited far too long, he allowed the French, the French, to become the boosters of liberty in our place, and his weak proclamations backed by no real policy at all has made the U.S. look absurd. Obama isn't the only one lacking a plan, either.
After all, what is the international policy here? The coalition intends to make sure innocents aren't being killed, which is good, of course. But what is the plan if Gaddhafi should be deposed? For that matter, who are the "rebels"? [Big Peace, 3/21/11]
Bolton: "I Don't See Really Any Point In Waiting For The Security Council." On the March 17 edition of Fox Business' Freedom Watch, Fox News contributor and former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said:
BOLTON: Well, the president has botched this policy in Libya. There's no doubt about it. We should have intervened weeks and weeks ago when we could have made a real difference with very little exertion. But let's be clear. We've got significant American interests at stake here, especially now in preventing Gadhafi from prevailing. If he does prevail he's almost certain to return to his nuclear weapons program and quite likely, once again, begin campaigns of international terrorism. We have made a terrible mistake ourselves here in not acting earlier. I don't see really any point in waiting for the Security Council, but we should not view this simply as a situation of aiding the rebels -- that's not our objective. Our objective is vindicating American interests by bringing Gadhafi down. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 3/17/11]
Fox Nation: "Fact: Bush Had 2 Times More Coalition Partners In Iraq Than Obama Has In Libya." A March 21 post on Fox News' blog Fox Nation observed that Bush "Had 2 Times More Coalition Partners In Iraq Than Obama Has In Libya" before posting the lists of countries in each coalition. [Fox Nation, 3/21/11]
Trump: "Why [Isn't The Arab League] Paying For It?...We're Going To Spend $500 Million Within The Next Few Days." During his interview with the Fox & Friends co-hosts on March 21, Donald Trump said:
TRUMP: Now the other thing -- I can't say kick out of, but I just -- I'm amazed, the Arab League wants us to do it. Why aren't they paying for it? This is Saudi Arabia, this is -
DOOCY: Good point.
TRUMP: Why aren't they paying for it? You know they say go in and do it, go in and do it, we don't like that guy very much. You know he's not nice to us. Go in and do it. Why aren't they paying us?
TRUMP: We're going to spend $500 million within the next few days, it will be a total of over $500 million for the Tomahawks and everything else. Why aren't these people paying?
DOOCY: We've got the price, so far we've fired off 125 Tomahawks. You mentioned right there. Each one of them now costs $1.5 million to replace. So you're talking about close to $200 million right there.
TRUMP: Well, Saudi Arabia says oh, go in, let's go. Go ahead. How many planes is Saudi Arabia sending? None. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/11]
Fox Nation: "Cost Of Campaign In Libya Could Wipe Out GOP's Spending Cuts." On March 21, Fox Nation linked to a Hill article under the headline "Cost of Campaign in Libya Could Wipe Out GOP's Spending Cuts." From Fox Nation:
[Fox Nation, 3/21/11]
Beck: "We're In A Third War, A Third Front. God Help Us All If It All Boils Over In Libya." On the March 18 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck said: "America is involved in the third front. If I would have told you four weeks ago that America may now be involved in a war -- in a third war in a third Muslim country in the Middle East, would you have believed me? I believe I did say words similar to that right over there, that it would sweep, destabilize, and drag us all down. We're in a third war, a third front. God help us all if it all boils over in Libya." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/18/11]
Miller: "The President Is Not Really Being Honest With The American People About What This Mission Is All About." From the March 21 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
ASMAN: So what exactly is President Obama's endgame in Libya? Let's bring in Fox News contributor Judy Miller. Well, we know, you know, Gadhafi wants to stay in power. I mean, that's his end game, clearly.
FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR JUDITH MILLER: That's his endgame.
ASMAN: Is he going to be able to do it?
MILLER: We're not sure, because we don't know what the American endgame is.
ASMAN: By the way, where do you stand between the colonel and Medea?
MILLER: Look, I think that the president has gotten authorization from the Arab League. He's got authorization from the United Nations to do a quote "humanitarian mission" but --
ASMAN: What is a humanitarian mission when you're using Tomahawk missiles?
ASMAN: I mean, that's ridiculous.
MILLER: Basically, I think that at this point the president is not really being honest with the American people about what this mission is all about. This is a mission that's intended to destroy Gadhafi from the air at 30 thousand feet without having to sacrifice any American men and women on the ground. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/21/11]
Johnson: "We Have To See Whether This Becomes President Obama's Iraq...Is This Really A Few Days?" On the March 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host Alisyn Camerota brought on Fox News Legal Analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. to discuss whether or not the lead-up to the air strikes in Libya were like "what President Bush went through in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq." From the show:
CAMEROTA: With coalition air strikes pounding targets in Libya, President Obama is now coming under fire for taking military action because he did not ask for congressional approval beforehand. So isn't this what President Bush went through in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq? And are there other similarities? Joining us now is Fox News analyst Peter Johnson Jr.
JOHNSON, JR.: Good morning, hi. It's developing now, Ali. And we have to see whether this becomes President Obama's Iraq. You know, we recall Colin Powell going to the United Nations talking about weapons of mass destruction, and then the announcement by President Bush that there was going to be an invasion, and then the invasion of Iraq itself. So when I looked at Tomahawk missiles being fired over the weekend, I said, is this, in fact, the new Iraq? And so, what the United States is now pursuing is a policy called "R2P."
CAMEROTA: What's that?
JOHNSON, JR.: Responsibility to protect. It was passed in the United Nations in 2005. And we believe that we have a humanitarian mission in the world to go forward and protect people who are victims of genocide or atrocities or victimization by their non-sovereign governments. But it creates issues. Has the president complied with the war powers act of 1973 in terms of consultation? Are we entering into a quagmire here that we can't get out of? Is this really a few days?
CAMEROTA: The president has said it really will just be a few days. But President Bush thought it was going to be short-lived as well in Iraq, as you remember.
Johnson also falsely claimed that "the American people are not really for this intervention." In fact, a CNN poll published on March 21 shows that 70 percent of Americans now support "the U.S. and other countries attempting to establish a 'no-fly' zone." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/11, CNN.com, 3/21/11]