I’ve watched our president with great interest over this last week. I have to admit a good amount of trepidation about being critical of any commander-in-chief during a time of war: it’s typically liberals undermining our troops and berating the president during a military fight. On the other hand, the president insists we aren’t at war in Libya, so I guess that gives clearance.
President Obama projects timidity and indecision at home and abroad: he’s afraid of the optics of America dropping bombs on another Islamic country; he waited too long to get on TV to explain his actions to the American people. And it seems all of this foreign policy work is a distraction from his desire to remake America.
He’s gone out of his way to try and please everyone, including his re-election staff, and in so doing he has managed to unite the Tea Party and the radical left in opposition to his war in Libya.
What this president has done to us here at home is bad enough, but Obama’s lack of leadership on the world stage could spell international chaos.
The moment Libyan rebels started dying, the president should have moved an aircraft carrier group off Libya’s coast. Recall: we were fresh off the Egyptian revolt, and other Middle Eastern strongmen were finding protesters in their streets. The moment the slaughter started our forces should have been there to introduce stability. The show of force would have reassured allies and sent an unmistakable message to any thug dictator that American air power was minutes away if they decided to slaughter civilians.
The president should have publicly denounced the bloodshed immediately, and reminded Gaddafi about 1986. The last president to directly confront Gaddafi — Ronald Reagan — chose swift and decisive leadership, and Gaddafi was marginalized for over three decades. Had Obama acted instead of dithering for nearly a month, lives would have been saved, the no-fly zone may not have been necessary, and the leadership debacles that followed could have been avoided.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, the Senator Obama was very clear about what he thought the limits of the president are in ordering military action: “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” Obama said when it was speculated that then-President Bush might attack Iran.
Does Gaddafi pose an imminent threat to our nation? And what was Obama thinking going to the United Nations and the Arab League but not Congress? Even President Bush asked for and got resolutions for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.