From the presidential theater of the absurd, Obama’s claim 10 days ago that he was “tightening the noose” around Qaddafi is right up there with Bush’s compliment to Michael Brown for doing “a heck of a job.” As the president talked about isolating Qaddafi and mobilizing the “international community,” there were lots of empty words—but there was no tightening—indeed, there was no noose. If the Libyan opposition is now crushed, and it may well be destroyed in the hours or days after the United Nations has finally authorized the establishment of a “no fly zone”, it will be the latest victim of the paralyzing belief that we can only act with the approval of the United Nations. Never mind that supplying weapons to the rebels early would have been far more effective than instituting a no-fly zone late. If by some miracle the situation is now reversed and the opposition is able to carry on the fight, it will be in spite of the Obama/Gates slow-motion-no-motion machine. Cameron and Sarkozy have stepped in where idlers feared to tread.