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.
And just in case there was any ambiguity on the subject, in 2007, Joe Biden was crystal clear about what he thought the fate of a president should be if he takes America’s armed forces into combat without congressional approval:
Of course, the VP was referring to a Republican president. If one didn’t know any better, one might think Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden play politics with national security. They were right then, or they are right now — it can’t be both.
The secretary of state, not the president, went on TV to declare the war in Libya was being handed over to NATO. I can almost see President Obama slapping his hands together and declaring: “Well that’s done, what’s next?” Comically, the administration is trying to tell us and the world that America is no longer in the lead. As Charles Krauthammer rightly pointed out, the United States leads NATO, so the idea that America’s involvement in Libya is over is laughable. The only mystery that remains: does President Obama believe that, or does he just think we’re that easily manipulated?
From the administration that renamed the “war on terror” an “overseas contingency operation,” we have the “kinetic military action.” This White House staff really does think Americans and the rest of the world are stupid. We can’t call it socialized medicine … let’s call it the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And we can’t call Libya a war …
This administration is all talk and no substance. They think all you have to do is just rename a problem, and it goes away. It’s a grotesque abdication of responsibility and folly beyond words. These people live by the code: “perception is reality.” But they don’t realize America is getting a clarified perception that people in this White House haven’t a clue about what they’re doing.
On MSNBC back in December, the nation got a glimpse into how the president’s own party views him. Veteran Democrat senators revealed to Scarborough and company that they know President Obama doesn’t grasp what’s happening:
Now, this ideologue president is proving just as inept on the national stage as his secretary of state warned us he would be. World affairs is not an intellectual exercise in some debate class: committing a nation to military action is as real as it gets. And this president, lacking leadership and a moral compass, has set out to please everyone, and has in turn angered everyone.
That’s what happens when you don’t stand for anything. The outlook for mankind is grim when America doesn’t lead in the world. Since Obama’s election, emboldened tyrants have been on the march, and freedom has been in full retreat. For now the United States remains the lone superpower, equipped to stand for individual freedom and liberty around the globe. If only we had a president who felt comfortable carrying that mantle.