The PJ Tatler

New White House trial balloon on reasons for Obama timidity on Libya

This morning the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson has a floated front page trial balloon article defending the Obama administration’s timidity in the face of Libyan crisis.  Citing White House staffers, he tries out a new story line that contains two threads.  The first is that the real reason for Washington’s slowness in reacting to Libya was the protection of American citizens trapped in the country.  The second is that the administration is packed with academic experts who understand atrocities and genocide.

Yet there are European countries that had more nationals in Libya — France, the U.K. and Italy, among others.  The Europeans have been bolder than Obama. The few measures in place are there because European leaders publicly pushed hard for them.  Many normally apologetic international organizations for Arab misbehavior have been outspoken, including the sycophantic Arab League which bounced Libya from its brotherly body five days ago.

Defensive about its inaction, the White House also has trotted out its meritocracy theme again. Apparently we learn the administration is packed with academics and journalists who studied previous genocides and understand them. Wilson cites as an example Samantha Power, the National Security Council’s senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights. (What a title!) Once called a “Harvard brainiac”, Prof. Power is known as a hard driving and crudely outspoken person like Rahm Emanuel who once was kicked off the Obama campaign because of her coarse words against Hillary Clinton.  Professor Power won the Pulitzer Prize for a book  on genocide that she wrote while she was at Harvard Law School.  UN Ambassador Susan Rice, David Pressman, Michael Posner and Harold Kol are all people who have “worked on the subject of mass killing for decades,” Wilson writes.

The two White House staff who appear to be pushing the story line is Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisers for strategic communications, and Power.

So there you have their two new excuses.  First, their President was silent to protect American lives and not to worry — they have many national security eggheads who know about genocide.

The first line of reasoning certainly will give many people pause, although European calls for actions during Obama’s silence probably will take some of the air out of this trial balloon.  As for the intellectual firepower within the administration: they said the same thing about their economic team.  Look how successful all of them were on jobs and the economy.  And all of them have exited the administration.

Oh, and for those who are interested in who is WaPo’s Scott Wilson, yes he is the same Scott Wilson who continually filed one sided anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian articles as the newspaper’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief.