A very alert Tatler reader tipped us to this statement by President Obama. It’s from an interview he did in El Salvador during his swing through Central and South America. Take a look at how he characterizes how the United States has ended up putting troops in harm’s way in Libya.
And we will continue to support the efforts to protect the Libyan people, but we will not be in the lead. That’s what the transition that I discussed has always been designed to do. We have unique capabilities. We came in, up front, fairly readily, fairly substantially, and at considerable risk to our military personnel. And when this transition takes place, it is not going to be our planes that are maintaining the no-fly zone. It is not going to be our ships that are necessarily involved in enforcing the arms embargo. That’s precisely what the other coalition partners are going to do.
And that’s why building this international coalition has been so important because it means that the United States is not bearing all the cost. It means that we have confidence that we are not going in alone, and it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally. And we will accomplish that in a relatively short period of time. (emphasis added)
There are problems with all of that, especially in the military capabilities and will to act that this president seems to think our allies possess. There would have been no no-fly zone without the US, and there will be no no-fly zone if we’re not playing a major role in enforcing it. That’s just reality.
But moving past that, the bolded sentence in the second paragraph beggars belief. As president, Obama is the commander-in-chief of the US military. It should not be “volunteered by others” for anything. Obama is, to borrow the word of a previous president, the decider when it comes to deploying the military. But here is more evidence that not only is Obama uncomfortable with command, he is also very leery of American leadership in the world. See Tony Katz’s article at PJM for a deeper look into that.
Lest anyone think I’m making a bit too much of all of this, take a look at how Obama slipped up in the very next part of the interview.
Now, with respect to our national interests, the American people and the United States have an interest, first of all, in making sure that where a brutal dictator is threatening his people and saying he will show no mercy and go door-to-door hunting people down, and we have the capacity under international sanction to do something about that, I think it’s in America’s international — in America’s national interest to do something about it. (emphasis added)
He almost said the Libya action is being taken because it’s in America’s international interests.
But as if to underscore the above, on the allies’ willingness to enforce the Libya action, Germany has pulled its forces out of NATO operations in the Med.
But Germany and European allies remain unwilling to have NATO take on a military operation that theoretically has nothing to do with the defence of Europe.
Today the German defence ministry announced Berlin had pulled out of any military operations in the Mediterranean.
A ministry spokesman said two frigates and two other ships with a crew of 550 would be reverted to German command.
Some 60 to 70 German troops participating in NATO-operated AWACS surveillance operations in the Mediterranean would also be withdrawn, according to the ministry.
This is a coalition and a war in total disarray, because the American president is abdicating his responsibility at every turn.