What are the goals and objectives of the US role in the Libya airstrike war?

Posted by: ST on March 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Tim Carney wonders what many of us are in light of the news over the weekend that the US is “leading” the airstrike campaign against the Libyan military (hat tip):

At once presumptuous and flippant, President Obama used a Saturday audio recording from Brazil to inform Americans he had authorized a third war — a war in which America’s role is unclear and the stated objectives are muddled.

Setting aside the wisdom of the intervention, Obama’s entry into Libya’s civil war is troubling on at least five counts. First is the legal and constitutional question. Second is the manner of Obama’s announcement. Third is the complete disregard for public opinion and lack of debate. Fourth is the unclear role the United States will play in this coalition. Fifth is the lack of a clear endgame. Compounding all these problems is the lack of trust created by Obama’s record of deception.

“Today, I authorized the armed forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya,” the president said. For him it was self-evident he had such authority. He gave no hint he would seek even ex post facto congressional approval. In fact, he never once mentioned Congress.

Since World War II, the executive branch has steadily grabbed more war powers, and Congress has supinely acquiesced. Truman, Johnson, Reagan, Clinton and Bush all fought wars without a formal declaration, but at least Bush used force only after Congress authorized it.

And, once more, the president’s actions belie his words on the campaign trail. In late 2007, candidate Obama told the Boston Globe, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

There is no claim that Moammar Gadhafi poses a threat to the United States. But asking President Obama to explain his change of heart would be a fruitless exercise. This is a president who has repeatedly shredded the clear meaning of words in order to deny breaking promises he has clearly broken — consider his continued blatant falsehoods on tax increases and his hiring of lobbyists.

It’s interesting, when you consider how George W. Bush was treated  – and still is – by hardcore leftists in the aftermath of the start of the Iraq war, even after we’d had considerable public debate about the issue for a good year or so.   He was a “warmonger” who was waging war with Iraq for no reason other than “oil.”    According to the left, Saddam “didn’t present a threat” to us, and therefore we had no business going into Iraq.  And don’t forget how the left verbally brutalized Bush for allegedly not getting Congressional authorization for the war in Iraq – even though he did.  Yet our celebrity President can launch an air war against the Libyan military with little to no public discussion/debate whatsoever, no Congressional vote, with the rationale/goals unclear, and all of a sudden it’s supposed to be ok (update: with a few exceptions, as my co-blogger notes here).

Ah – I’ve figured this out now, I think.  President Obama has the UN’s permission, more or less, and for most on the left, that’s pretty much all that’s necessary – unless we’re talking about a Republican president, and then so much more is needed, like time, debate, Congressional authorization, etc …

Oh, and didn’t we hear all during the Bush admin on how waging war with Muslim countries only emboldened the terrorists??

If the word “hypocrite” wasn’t in the dictionary, it wouldn’t be too difficult to offer up ideas to The Powers That Be for what the word should be: Democrat.

Phineas butts in: For another possible explanation of why Obama changed his mind on Libya, William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection offers “wag the dog.” Maybe Obama really is taking Clinton’s advice?

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7 Responses to “What are the goals and objectives of the US role in the Libya airstrike war?”

Comments

  1. Craig Lueschow says:

    One only needs to understand that for the left it is not about moral principals, it is about power. The left only uses the concept of morals and mores as a prop in their grandiose theater. It is similar to liberation theology where Marxist hide their true intent with a cloak which is supposed to resemble righteousness and scratch their heads when bona-fide theologians call them out on their deceptions. So it is the same with regards to war. The left does not care one whit about humanity [just ask Russians in the USSR, Germans under the Nazi’s, Chinese under Mao, Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge, or any Cuban today.] they only care about their obtainment of power. And warfare is certainly a method to gain such.

  2. Phineas says:

    Tim Carney:

    Since World War II, the executive branch has steadily grabbed more war powers, and Congress has supinely acquiesced. Truman, Johnson, Reagan, Clinton and Bush all fought wars without a formal declaration, but at least Bush used force only after Congress authorized it.

    I largely agree with Tim, but he’s a bit off about needing a formal declaration of war (if I read him right) to initiate military action. Article 1, section 8, grants Congress the power to:

    …declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    That’s been generally interpreted as allowing the authorization of force without formally declaring a state of war. In fact, after 9/11 Congress ran into a problem about authorizing action against al Qaeda: since it wasn’t a state, one couldn’t declare war against it.The AUMF was the compromise they reached.

    In fact, Presidents were ordering the armed forces into battle without asking Congress long before WWII. Jefferson only consulted Congress about fighting the Barbary Pirates — he never got a formal declaration of war. Pierce ordered the bombardment of Greytown in Nicaragua in 1854 without congressional permission, and Lincoln did likewise when he ordered the blockade of the South. It’s an eternal strain in the relations between the Executive and Legislative branches.

  3. Iva Biggin says:

    Why do we want to replace one Dictator who supports terrorism and wants to kill us with a million terrorists who want to kill us? Leave the situation alone and let them kill each other until one side clearly has won. Then bomb the winners!

  4. david foster says:

    The transfer of war-making authority to the Executive was probably largely a function of the nuclear/ballistic-missile age, in which a decision on retaliation might need to get made literally in minutes. Psychologically, the assumption has probably been (at least subconsciously) something like “If we’re giving this guy the power to kill 50 million people, it couldn’t hurt to give him the power to launch actions which will kill a few dozen or a few thousand.” But, of course, the procedure in situations allowing for deliberation need not be identical to the procedure in situations of immediate emergency.

  5. Bloodaxe says:

    To answer the question “what are our goals & objectives in Libya?’…..nobody knows.

  6. Obama’s goal is to wish the whole thing would just go away. He’s only going along with the “no fly zone” because someone else is taking the lead.

  7. Carlos says:

    “Today, I authorized the armed forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya…”

    It’s all right, you see, because the president himself has said this is a LIMITED action, and you know as well as I do he wouldn’t lie to his own people.

    Would he?