Call it what they will, but Libya is America’s latest war.
Folks are now quibbling about the U.N. Security Council Resolution and what it did or did not authorize. As as far as the U.S. is concerned, it is irrelevant. It is a political and legal fig leaf. No matter how many times you parade French or British officials on television, this is our war. Without U.S. political and military support, none of this would be possible.
Now that we are there, Libyan dictator Muammar Qadaffi needs to go. This should have happened decades ago, albeit through more creative means. With events in Egypt, Bahrain (on the verge of a civil war), Tunisia, and elsewhere, the political timing of this adventure is off. But it is what it is. It has started and there is no use turning back the clock. Might as well finish what we started.
I had coffee recently with a senior African diplomat about events in the Greater Middle East. The region is undergoing changes, he said, in spite of the Obama Administration. They are squandering a golden opportunity, he added, because they do not have a vision. And, because of this, your interests in the region will suffer. We talked for a bit about many other issues, but these earlier comments stuck with me.
It is the nature of our system to call out the opposition and engage in a competition of ideas. Free and fair debate is the political lifeblood of our Republic. That becomes complicated to do when the other side constantly changes its position or fails to have an ideological core. Hearing a foreigner say it, well, bothered me. It now falls on the Congress to fill these gaps and lead.
The only “writ” that matters in my book is the U.S. Constitution and our national security interests. The President and his national security team need to clearly explain why we are there. One wonders if it is a coincidence that the Obama team waited for the Congressional recess to act. Regardless, the Congress needs to weigh in soon.
A no-fly zone is a waste of taxpayer monies. Americans want to win and, in this case, it will mean regime change. Let’s see if official Washington can muscle the political will to make it so. I doubt it. This will take a long time to carry out.