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What makes Libya a "smart war" to Obama?

VerumSerum takes us to this Obama speech in 2002 that offers an interesting contrast to events taking place today:

That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power.

...

He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda.

Replace 'Iraq' with 'Libya'.  Replace 'Saddam Hussein' with 'Moammar Gadhafi'.  

What are the particulars between the Iraqi situation nearly 10 years ago and the Libyan situation today that would make this a "smart war"?

Anyone think Obama will be asked the question?


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Comments (36)

Obama was right then, espec... (Below threshold)
Chico:

Obama was right then, especially this foresight:

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

Hell, it only cost a trillion or two and delivered Iraq into the hands of Iran.

Obama's wrong now. Gadafi was the Demon of the Year back in 1983 or so, but he was tamed a long time ago. There is no vital national interest involved in the Libyan rebellion. If the Libyan military and people won't get rid of the guy, who are we to spend a few billion and possibly blood?

Also, can you teatards make up your mind whether you're for or against bombing Libya? It seems like you were all for it up to the moment the bombs started falling. Obama's wrong in this case, but you'd be against ice cream if Obama said he likes it. Comic, almost as bad as Romney's daily flip-flop.

Actually Obama is on vacati... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Actually Obama is on vacation. Clinton is running the show. Plus, France has shown more humanitarian care then Obama. "Let's be clear" Obama has never really taken a position on anything unless he thought it served his political interest first and foremost. That is why he is taking a back seat on leadership.

Also, it was not a sign of great insight that the Iraq war would go on for some time. We all knew it and GW Bush said it many times. I don't know where Chico was, probably huffing. ww

Rick, you're too simple-min... (Below threshold)

Rick, you're too simple-minded to grasp it. Let me explain it to your feeble mind:

1) Obama is smart.
B) Obama ordered this war.
III) Conclusion: this is a smart war.

There. So simple, even you can understand it.

J.

It doesn't take much imagin... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

It doesn't take much imagination to wonder what would be happening if Saddam Insane was still in power in Iraq. The "boy student prince" would be playing under his desk.

Perhaps, dare I say, even P... (Below threshold)
Timmer:

Perhaps, dare I say, even President Obama has become teachable? He's actually learned a few things since he took office? Perhaps he's changed his mind on real politics?

Just a thought.

Also, it was not a sign ... (Below threshold)
Chico:

Also, it was not a sign of great insight that the Iraq war would go on for some time. We all knew it and GW Bush said it many times.

Really, can you find me one quote from Bush from before the war saying it would go on "for some time?" All I remember is him saying it was the "end of major combat operations" in May 2003.

It doesn't take much imagination to wonder what would be happening if Saddam Insane was still in power in Iraq

Most of 4441 fine Americans would be with their families instead of in coffins; many more would not be maimed or psychologically wounded. Saddam might still be shooting his mouth off, or he might have been deposed by his own military. Jeb Bush would probably be president. Obama would be an Illinois state senator.

"What makes Libya a "smart ... (Below threshold)
914:

"What makes Libya a "smart war" to Obama?"


He's the one doing it.

You two Obamalalabots are p... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

You two Obamalalabots are predictable and consistant. I'll give you that much.

Let me be clear, Barack Hus... (Below threshold)

Let me be clear, Barack Hussien Obama is on vacation and has been for over two yeas now. This Mrs.Clinton's war.

What happened to the ideali... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

What happened to the idealistic, Presidential Candidate Obama that said all we need to do is have an open dialogue with people to solve problems?

Oh yeah...he got hit by a big shoe of reality!

It's a smart war - when you... (Below threshold)
Roy:

It's a smart war - when you're trying to get reelected within two years and haven't done much in the last two.

Many of you are missing the... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Many of you are missing the point: there is a fairly good parallel between the air strikes in Libya and the invasion of Iraq, but there is a much better parallel between the air strikes in Libya and the intervention in the former Yugoslavia. It started with a civil war, a shocked European community that focused on needless civilian casualties, and the US got pulled into the conflict by organizing air strikes because the US has the best capabilities.

There is another key point: President Clinton got us involved because at first he wanted to make it go away, but our European allies (esp. the French) kept embarassing us by bringing it up. In the end, Clinton got involved because he had a sex scandal he needed to get off the front pages, and the military action was a good way for him to change the subject and act Presidential.

President Obama has presided over a terrible economy, got plastered in the mid-term elections, and has received a ton of bad press lately for being MIA. The "Where's Waldo President" label is hitting his White House hard. Meanhile, our allies (esp. the French) and his own staff are calling attention to his lack of leadership. He needs to act Presidential, and he needs to get the endless bad economic news off the front page.

And that is why we are attacking Libya.

What are the differences, h... (Below threshold)
warchild:

What are the differences, hmm... this is so hard I don't know if I can figure it out. What could be different?


1) The international community was against Iraq, causing the USA to suffer in the court of world opinion.

Not a problem here as the UN voted to do more than a no fly zone.

2) The Iraq war really upset Arabs.

Not a problem here: The Arab league in the case of Libya endorsed a no fly zone. Arabs were for intervention.

3) in Iraq Saddam was not actively butchering his own people, before the Iraq war (not that he wouldn't if it had suited him, just no civil war going on)

In Libya the attacks were happening right now and people who had simply started marching for freedom, were getting shot.

4) No ground troops.

The U.S. hasn't committed to any troops on the ground. Meaning lives are far far less in danger.

the rebels are fighting for their country and we are protecting from heavy artillery.


Jut a few of the differences. I do get you guys are worried that President Obama is creating another quagmire like Bush did in Iraq, but I'm not sure that is the case here.

But I also know th... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or his neighbors, ...

And Gadhafi does pose an imminent and direct threat ?

What's going on in Libya is a internal to Libya. While we can debate whether the U.S. should intervene, Obama has previously taken a strong position with regard to 'meddling int he internal affairs' of another country. Admittedly, that was last year so that position may be passed its expiration date.

No Ground trips?Wh... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

No Ground trips?

What happens if a maned Military Jet is shot down?
Do we send in SAR? Or do we leave the Airman to die.
We paint targets so their is chance that we will have ground troops. Every military risk of loss of life and any one who does not understand that better get realistic.


No Ground trips?Wh... (Below threshold)
warchild:

No Ground trips?

What happens if a maned Military Jet is shot down?
Do we send in SAR? Or do we leave the Airman to die.
We paint targets so their is chance that we will have ground troops. Every military risk of loss of life and any one who does not understand that better get realistic.
------------------
Sending in 200,000 ground troops an invasion force and rescuing a shot down airman are slightly different things.

Obama merely is an empty su... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

Obama merely is an empty suit who's incapable of making decisions. Clinton, Axelrod, Geithner and Bernanke are running the country.

On the specific topic of Libya, Clinton hasn't ruled out a primary challenge next year or a run in 2016 and she wants to burnish her CIC bona fides. And as Kevino alludes to so aptly (#12 comment, above) Axelrod needs a 'wag the dog' moment to distract the public from the disasterous housing and job markets and high gas prices.

Its a 'smart war' for Barry... (Below threshold)
914:

Its a 'smart war' for Barry because it allows him to golf in far away exotic lands as part of a master plan to appear aloof from Libya and not attacking mooslems.

Ground troops are necessary... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Ground troops are necessary. At least, if you want to really do more than just kill people and do damage.

If Quackdaffy believes that the only attacks wil be from planes and missiles, he can just find hiding places until we get tired of killing everyone else. The only way the regime changes is if someone else physically takes over.

Military Science 101.

The question is who controls the troops that take over? There are not extant political parties in Libya, and most of the men who have any power in libya right now would jsut be Colonel Quack, part II.

Someone has to have the guts to send in their own troops to make sure that Libya gets headed the right direction. Small chance that our current Narcissist-in-Chief understands that, however, or a has a plan beyond how to look important when the teleprompter turns on.

Someone has to have the ... (Below threshold)
Chico:

Someone has to have the guts to send in their own troops to make sure that Libya gets headed the right direction.

I nominate you to go in first, war hero.

Hate to break it to you, Ch... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Hate to break it to you, Chico, but we have an all-volunteer military these days.

There's a few thousand Marines already willing and able to do the job. And they're very well-prepared, trained, and motivated.

But you, as usual, can run away and hide and bleat from the comfort of your own ignorance. It's what we have come to expect from you.

"I nominate you to go in fi... (Below threshold)
914:

"I nominate you to go in first, war hero."

20. Posted by Chico | March 21, 2011 2:54 PM | Score: -2 (2 votes cast)

I liked you better as galoob you stupid shit.

Re # 19:As kevino ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Re # 19:

As kevino has pointed out, the closer parallel is to Yugoslavia, not Iraq. So, no, ground troops are NOT necessary. Or do you forget that Milosevic found himself on trial in the Hague after the US air war in Kosovo?

And really, Mr Drummond, "Narcissist-in-chief"? Teleprompter jokes? Get some new material.

I mention stupid shits and ... (Below threshold)
914:

I mention stupid shits and look who shows up^

I'm in Brazil vactioning. O... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I'm in Brazil vactioning. Obama by contrast, has been working steadily on his three day visit to rainy Brazil giving speeches, signing trade accords, and meeting top officials, including the new president.

Obama finally did the right thing, and had to authorize a bombing raid in order to avoid a blood bath in Benghazi.

10 years no fly and we stil... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

10 years no fly and we still had to go into Iraq
Only airstrikes did that stop ethnic cleansing in Kusova?

In a word...Yes!... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

In a word...Yes!

<a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

How the No Fly Zone Can Succeed

The United Nations no-fly zone over Libya is risky but it can have a good outcome under certain conditions. Above all, it should look more like Kosovo than like Iraq.
I was going to post today t... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

I was going to post today to point out the lack of a clear exit strategy from our dear leader. Problem is there is a lack of any strategy.

Exit strategy? Wheres the entry strategy?

His exit strategy is to bla... (Below threshold)
914:

His exit strategy is to blame Bush for going to Iraq while ignoring the real fake threat.. Crazy tribesman high on Opium in Crapganistan.

Hate to break it to you,... (Below threshold)
Chico:

Hate to break it to you, Chico, but we have an all-volunteer military these days.

Why don't you volunteer, then? Nothing like chickenhawkery, is there?

There's a few thousand Marines already willing and able to do the job. And they're very well-prepared, trained, and motivated.

I doubt the NCOs and officers who have done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan are "motivated" for another war. They're looking for a break until their next tour in Afghanistan.

"A few thousand" is not going to be enough to police a big country of more than 5 million. Your ignorant pollyanna views play with American lives.

Ahhhhh, of course, Chica... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Ahhhhh, of course, Chica believes in the myth of the Chickenhawk.

First off, Chalupa, I'm not the one who ordered the military to attack Libya, that was your boy Unicorn Lad. I only addressed the fact that air strikes are strategically impotent, as history abundantly demonstrates.

Secondly, Galoob-in-cognito, your valiant President never served a day in uniform in his life, so your argument is self-defeating, even before I note that President Clinton, also known for tossing off cruise missiles instead of thinking things through, was also a man who, hmm, chose not to volunteer. I guess you will hasten to tell me that Clinton and Obama are also 'chickenhawks', especially since they ordered actions which resulted in the deaths of real people, at no personal danger to themselves, while I merely answered a topical question in the abstract sense.

Finally, Turdissima, don't imagine for a moment that you have fooled anyone with your behavior. There's not a reader here who has not noticed that you never - ever - advance the discussion nor offer a point of view that is anything but smears and insipidity. If Wizbang is a house of perspectives, you are not even the bathroom, but only a pile of old feces which must be flushed, and the room ventilated to remove the effects of your presence.

I disagree, Mr Drummond. In... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I disagree, Mr Drummond. In my opinion, Chico often makes comments that need to be made around here, albeit with an occasional surfeit of incidental sarcasm. But you, sir, are so incredibly hypersensitive that you allow the discussion to be derailed while you try to bury your perceived offender with an avalanche of oh-so-clever insults.

Like "Chica" (I guess implying that only women and wussies have liberal opinions), "Chalupa" (racist much?), "turdissima" (awesome), and "a pile of old feces."

Comments # 1 and # 6 "advance the discussion" on this thread as much as anything YOU'VE written on it. But you always have a hissyfit if anyone cracks wise on you. You should get over it, dude.

Kosvo was success we lost a... (Below threshold)
hdbdbz:

Kosvo was success we lost apache and f117.

10,000 people killed by ethnic cleansing and people believe NATO kill 1200-5000 civilians. We still do not know everything that was going on their because there were no boots on the ground.

Kosvo was success we lost a... (Below threshold)
hdbdbz:

Kosvo was success we lost apache and f117.

10,000 people killed by ethnic cleansing and people believe NATO kill 1200-5000 civilians. We still do not know everything that was going on their because there were no boots on the ground.

Calm down, DJ. ... (Below threshold)
Chico:

Calm down, DJ.




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