At a time when the American people overwhelmingly oppose our continued military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Obama has responded by committing the United States to another war. Today, the U.S. attacked Libyan forces with over a hundred cruise missiles hitting the capitol and surrounding areas. With the two wars already draining the United States of billions a day, these cruise missile attacks alone will cost hundreds of millions in both the equipment and commitment of forces.
While we go to war against Libya for its crackdown on democratic reformers and protesters, the United States continues to support its allies like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (which have unleashed tanks on protesters). What is the principled line determining when we go to war to support protesters or reformers? Will the same line apply to our allies?
Here is what Obama has stated today: ”Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world . . .”
We are now going to war in a country which seems to be experiencing a civil war. It is also a country that greeted the mastermind of the PanAm terrorist attack as a national hero. Finally, we are once again going to war without a declaration of war. While the Framers were quite clear about the need for a declaration, we are once again simply circumventing that inconvenient principle. The same Democrats who insisted that they were misled in using a resolution to start the Iraq War are again standing silent in the face of another President committing this country to war without a declaration. I consider bombing the capitol city of a nation to be an act of war.
I seriously doubt that the majority of Americans are opposed to the other two wars but would want to go fight in Libya.
While we are clearly not committing to a ground conflict, this is a move that is clearly opposed to the public’s desire to end this foreign military entanglements — and not to add new ones. The political disconnect over these wars is both distressing and dangerous for a system that, while a representative democracy, is still based on the notion of responsiveness to the voters.
180 thoughts on “Missiles Away! Obama Commits U.S. To Third Military Campaign”
So then this sentence of yours:
“But wars are what legitimate governments do to protect and advance the interests of their people,”
should actually read:
But wars are what a government that has the consent of the governed as expressed through free and fair elections do to preserve a favorable status quo and change[ing] the status quo to something more favorable [in] the interests of their people.
Ignoring your fallacious example of contrasting Iran and Venezuela, and assuming your definition of “free and fair” elections uses the United States as a model (pre Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876, I’m assuming) I have to say that I still don’t agree.
Your sentence in full, given your further expansions, would read:
But wars are what a government that has the consent of the governed as expressed through free and fair elections do to defend Colombia from Hugo Chavez and deposing Hugo Chavez [in] the interests of their people.
As you can see, it doesn’t pan out, just like democracy through war doesn’t pan out either.
Thanks for clearing that up and confirming that my original response of “[w]hat an ignorant utterance,” was pretty accurate.
When a house divided against itself falls, how low does it go?
Sorry, had to go to a meeting.
Protecting versus advancing interests deals with the status quo. Protecting means trying to preserve a favorable status quo. Advancing means changing the status quo to something more favorable.
An example would be the US defending Colombia from Hugo Chavez would be the US protecting its interests. The US deposing Hugo Chavez would be advancing its interests.
1. Jeff, you’re as full of shit as a Christmas goose.
2. It’s a strange day when I find myself agreeing with John Boehner…
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent President Obama a letter asking him to explain the reasons behind the military mission in Libya.
“It is my hope that you will provide the American people and Congress a clear and robust assessment of the scope, objective and purpose of our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved. Here are some of the questions I believe must be answered,” Boehner wrote.
The full letter:
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for your letter dated March 21, 2011, outlining your Administration’s actions regarding Libya and Operation Odyssey Dawn. The United States has long stood with those who seek freedom from oppression through self-government and an underlying structure of basic human rights. The news yesterday that a U.S. fighter jet involved in this operation crashed is a reminder of the high stakes of any military action abroad and the high price our Nation has paid in blood and treasure to advance the cause of freedom through our history.
I respect your authority as Commander-in-Chief and support our troops as they carry out their mission. But I and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission. In fact, the limited, sometimes contradictory, case made to the American people by members of your Administration has left some fundamental questions about our engagement unanswered. At the same time, by contrast, it appears your Administration has consulted extensively on these same matters with foreign entities such as the United Nations and the Arab League.
It is my hope that you will provide the American people and Congress a clear and robust assessment of the scope, objective, and purpose of our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved. Here are some of the questions I believe must be answered:
— A United Nations Security Council resolution does not substitute for a U.S. political and military strategy. You have stated that Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi must go, consistent with U.S. policy goals. But the U.N. resolution the U.S. helped develop and signed onto makes clear that regime change is not part of this mission. In light of this contradiction, is it an acceptable outcome for Qadhafi to remain in power after the military effort concludes in Libya? If not, how will he be removed from power? Why would the U.S. commit American resources to enforcing a U.N. resolution that is inconsistent with our stated policy goals and national interests?
— In announcing that our Armed Forces would lead the preliminary strikes in Libya, you said it was necessary to “enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners.” Do we know which partners will be taking the lead? Are there clear lines of authority and responsibility and a chain of command? Operationally, does enforcement of a no-fly zone require U.S. forces to attack non-air or command and control operations for land-based battlefield activities, such as armored vehicles, tanks, and combatants?
— You have said that the support of the international community was critical to your decision to strike Libya. But, like many Americans, it appears many of our coalition partners are themselves unclear on the policy goals of this mission. If the coalition dissolves or partners continue to disengage, will the American military take on an increased role? Will we disengage?
— Since the stated U.S. policy goal is removing Qadhafi from power, do you have an engagement strategy for the opposition forces? If the strife in Libya becomes a protracted conflict, what are your Administration’s objectives for engaging with opposition forces, and what standards must a new regime meet to be recognized by our government?
— Your Administration has repeatedly said our engagement in this military action will be a matter of “days, not weeks.” After four days of U.S. military action, how soon do you expect to hand control to these other nations? After the transition to coalition forces is completed, how long will American military forces remain engaged in this action? If Qadhafi remains in power, how long will a no-fly zone will be enforced?
We are currently in the process of setting priorities for the coming year in the budget. Has the Department of Defense estimated the total cost, direct and indirect, associated with this mission? While you said yesterday that the cost of this mission could be paid for out of already-appropriated funds, do you anticipate requesting any supplemental funds from Congress to pay for ongoing operations in Libya?
Because of the conflicting messages from the Administration and our coalition partners, there is a lack of clarity over the objectives of this mission, what our national security interests are, and how it fits into our overarching policy for the Middle East. The American people deserve answers to these questions. And all of these concerns point to a fundamental question: what is your benchmark for success in Libya?
The American people take the use of military action seriously, as does the House of Representatives. It is regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of your predecessors, before your decision as Commander-in-Chief to deploy into combat the men and women of our Armed Forces. Understanding some information required to respond may be classified, I look forward to a complete response.
John A. Boehner
I love it when people ignore the fact that Saddam would have killed any Islamic Fundamentalist organization working within the borders of Iraq as they were a threat to his distinctly secular state. Oh, and that Iraq had no motivation for attacking the U.S. directly having seen our destructive capabilities in person already. Oh, and the fact that the almost all of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi nationals, not Iraqis. Because Iraq presented no present and imminent danger and had in no way participated in attacking us nor did they have any active WMD programs. Whereas the Saudis manned and funded 9/11 yet were spared the just retribution because they are business partners to the Bush family and primary consumers of Halliburton’s services. Nope. You sure can’t make foreign policy decisions on assumptions. Unless you assume that an oil rich country exploitable by the private business interests of the criminal President and Vice President and with no motivation and no connections to the organization that did attack us as a matter of fact did indeed attack or intend to attack us.
You’re completely delusional, Jeff.
Legitimate government means a government that has the consent of the governed as expressed through free and fair elections. Most countries have elections but it some cases like Iran and Venezuela they are not legitimate. Note that this does NOT mean we do not recognize them as the government, especially if there is no alternative, but we do not have to believe that the policies of such a government are the wishes of its people.
Uh, no, Bob. We assumed the best about bin Laden and it got us 9/11. If we had assumed the best about Saddam Hussein it would have been far worse. You cannot assume the best in foreign policy.
Jeff: “I’m not going to get into a discussion of the evidence of Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs. We are not going to agree. The difference is that you sound like you were prepared tonassumw the best about Saddam Hussein. Assuming the best gets you a hole where the Twin Towers used to be.”
Wow; you’re also one of those “Saddam Hussein — 9/11” guys.
Essentially, explain what you mean by “legitimate government,” and contrast between your usage of “protect” and “advance” in light of your sentence: “[b]ut wars are what legitimate governments do to protect and advance the interests of their people.”
Explain this sentence to me without resorting to cultural allegories. What do you really mean?
It still makes no sense to me.
I’ll repeat this again, you first said:
Then you said:
And now you say:
You don’t have to take my word, that’s why I provided a link to a current news article; baseball and Ty Cobb have nothing to do with this conversation.
I took issue with one sentence of yours, namely: “But wars are what legitimate governments do to protect and advance the interests of their people.” I was the one that brought up the issue of American exceptionalism, given your aforementioned sentence. And your block quote above is extremly recursive and ambiguous. Argue your own merits, don’t recurse on mine.
“earbud” should be “if war is.” the autocorrect feature is more of a bug. It comes up with the most bizarre words. I obviously have not been able to catch them all.
Regarding weapons sales, we did NOT sell weapons to Gadhafi until after the Lockerbie settlement and after Gadhafi agreed to give up WMD. I’ll take your word that Bush eventually did sell him weapons, which he should not have, but it would not have happened until the events I just mentioned. I’m not going to dig up research at 3 am. In any event, just because we sell someone weapons does not mean we have to side with them ad infinitum. Just as baseball does not have to let every thug into the Hall of Fame just because they let Ty Cobb in.
Re “American exceptionalism,” again, you took issue with one of my comments, which is fine, but in so doing you denigrated it as an example of American exceptionalism. Based on that response, it is logical to conclude that you are not a believer in American exceptionalism. Obviously I do not know what you are thinking, so I can only go by what you say and do. If you do not want me to think you do not believe in American exceptionalism, do not use the term in a derogatory sense. Simple as that.
I can read through typos pretty well, and understand the urgency of emotions in posts. However, I really can’t decipher this one of yours:
Care to translate?
“what would I be reading on this site? Post after post would be stating how he should have shown leadership, and should have shown decisive action, and should not have allowed the mass killing of innocent civilians.”
You must not read here very often. If you had, you’d know what you would have seen is a lot of comments about how absent attacks on Americans, a Libyan civil war is none of our business. Much like the comments you are seeing now.
I’m not disputing details, I’m disputing your statements which grow after a little research???
You know nothing of my opinion regarding exceptionalism, so you should refrain from assuming a negative bias on my part. Given this thread though, and your meager attempts at correcting your own erroneous statements (see above) I can understand your frustration.
I never said we can attack anyone anywhere for whatever reason. I said war is a legitimate option tonprotectvsnd advance national interests. If earbud always taken off the table you give every two-bit thug across the world from Belgrade to Beijing carte blanche. Since negotiations do not work with people like the Iranian mullahs and the Taliban, war is the only option.
I’m not going to get into a discussion of the evidence of Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs. We are not going to agree. The difference is that you sound like you were prepared tonassumw the best about Saddam Hussein. Assuming the best gets you a hole where the Twin Towers used to be. You cannot assume the best in national security policy.
Additionally, the invasion of Iraq was justified on multiple levels, not just WMD.
It’s curious that you seem to care more about the Iraqis who died as part of the US invasion mire than you care about the ones who died as a matter of course under Saddam.
Whatever arms sakes took place under Bush came
AFTER settlement of the Lockerbie issue and Gadhafi agreeing AFTER we took out Saddam Hussein to not develop WMD.
If you don’t want me to believe you have an entirely negative view of American exceptionalism then don’t try to use the charge of American exceptionalism as a derogatory term.
Wow, I don’t particularly like the president, but he just can’t win, no matter what he does. If he had done nothing, and Gadhafi’s troops had overrun “his” country, and then he as supreme ruler/dictator ordered, as he said he would, his troops to show no mercy for those who opposed him (i.e., kill everyone in sight), what would I be reading on this site? Post after post would be stating how he should have shown leadership, and should have shown decisive action, and should not have allowed the mass killing of innocent civilians. I do wonder, however, why he has not taken a similar stand in Bahrain and other countries that are cracking down on their own citizens.
It wasn’t an insult. It was a figure of speech. I responded earlier substantively and you claimed that American exceptionalism gives us the right to attack any country at any time, for little or no reason. Shouldn’t the Constitution control when this country goes to war? we are not the most free anymore when we torture our own citizens.
Just because we have the ability to bomb people does not give us the unfettered right to do so, without proper cause. Your math is a bit off. Bush killed a minimum of 100,000 civilian Iraqis over phony evidence and you talk like we are entitled to do whatever we want. we have made the terrorism worse by our actions in Iraq and created more terrorists. The UN is a valuable resource to all nations, whether you like it or not. Finally, you must have forgotten that we made up with Gadhafi during the Bush administration in exchange for Libya to give up their nuclear program. So how much more legitimate can he be to the US? Are the Saudi kings legitimate even though they aren’t in power due to a legitimate election? If we are entitled to attack countries who “attack” us why didn’t we attack Saudi Arabia after 9/11 when most of the terrorists were Saudis?
Bush sold Libya $46 million of arms, and Obama had authorized further sales before the most current events.
I don’t defer to the UN, however it is the the only means to define whether a government is “legitimate” or not. Your further prothetizing on China, et. al., is a straw man attack and deserves no further attention.
Your assumptions on my perspective of American exceptionalism is trite as you assume I have a negative view. In many respects I do, in many I don’t.
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