Got a Light for that Powder Keg, Mr. President?
I confess I didn't watch President Obama and soon-to-be-former Secretary of State Clinton on 60 Minutes last night. But I had that stomach bug that was going around before Christmas, and I'm still trying to put on the three pounds I sweated and puked off that weekend. Here's what I missed:
Obama cited both Egypt and Libya as instances where his administration played a leading role, saying that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi “probably does not agree with that assessment” of U.S. retreat.
“We do nobody a service when we leap before we look, where we take on things without having thought through all the consequences of it," Obama said in the interview.
“Syria's a classic example of where our involvement, we want to make sure that not only does it enhance U.S. security, but also that it is doing right by the people of Syria and neighbors like Israel that are going to be profoundly affected by it. And so it's true sometimes that we don't just shoot from the hip,” the president said.
Three points that need to be made.
"Shoot from the hip" is yet more Bush-bashing, based on a Democrat lie from 2004. There was no "rush to war" against Iraq. Unless you count 18 months of politicking, debate, hearings, UN votes, and all the rest as a "rush."
Also I see now that Obama has gone from "leading from behind" in Libya to playing "a leading roll" in Gadhafi's demise. It's safe to assume that if the Gadhafi regime had survived, Obama would now be describing his role there as "leading from even behinder. Honestly, I hardly even know how to find the place on a map."
Finally, why Libya and not Syria? I'm against intervening in Syria and I was against our intervention in Libya -- we had no vital interests in either country. But there's simply no way to justify intervening in Libya but not Syria. Gadhafi had been (quietly) providing help in hunting down terrorists, despite engaging in a little terror himself now and again. On balance though, Gadhafi was probably a net positive for American interests after he eliminated his nuclear program. That he did so immediately after an American soldier pulled Saddam out of his spider hole is, I'm sure, a total coincidence. With Gadhafi gone, Libya has become devolved into the kind of semi-lawlessness where al Qaeda can thrive. Syria remains a nasty client state of Iran, with nuclear ambitions and chemical weapons of its own.
So Obama's reasoned decision was to lead the way in deposing Gadhafi while twiddling his thumbs on Assad.
It's almost as if he doesn't have America's best interests at heart.