Operation Odyssey Wrong
March 31, 2011 by Ben Crystal
“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and—more profoundly—our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are… Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” –President Barack Obama, March, 28, 2011.
In last week’s column “The Desert Rat,” I explained my issues with the idea of President Barack Obama leading us into a third global conflict with the “religion of peace.” The truth is that I generally like the idea of introducing homicidal autocrats to the business end of the most advanced fighting force in the history of the species. But I must also admit that sticking a cruise missile into the blowhole of every Islamofascist, tin pot and dictatorial screwball would turn the Middle East into a sheet of glass so reflective that John Edwards would move to Damascus just to fix his hair. (The ruined landscape of a sizeable portion of the Earth is the downside in that allegory, not the prolonged absence of the Ayatollah of Ambulance-Chasers.)
So, while many of my conservative colleagues are lambasting Obama for his mission to the Maghreb in general, my concerns are more detail-oriented. The obvious interrogative: “How can a President who has yet to keep his promise to extricate the U.S. from a pair of wars now involve us in a third?”
Less obvious, but no less important:
- If America has a “responsibility as a leader,” then why is Obama so determined to put our assets under NATO control, a la Clinton in the Balkans?
- If turning “…a blind eye to atrocities in other countries” is so abhorrent to Obama, how did LIBYA jump to the top of his list? I don’t mean to insinuate that Gadhafi isn’t a bad guy, but he’s hardly leading the league in D.R.A. (Dissidents Rendered Absent.)
- Were it not for Libya’s sizeable oil reserves, would the decidedly anti-war Obama be so gung-ho to spend at least $100 million dollars a day to… well… to do to Gadhafi what George H.W. Bush did to Saddam Hussein?
I have noticed the port-side pabulum projectors have been pointedly silent on Obama’s justification for the NATO-led, U.N.-(mostly)-approved, big-budget, mysteriously open-ended Kinetic Military Action. The same folks who couldn’t seem to pass up a chance to bloviate about President George W. Bush’s “illegal war for oil” can’t seem to find their keyboards—much less their consciences—for Obama’s extra-legal battle for petroleum.
All I’m asking for is a little clarity. If we stipulate—for the purpose of discussion—that wars which begin during Republican administrations are about oil, while Democrat wars are entirely humanitarian, then explain the selection process. Is there some sort of vetting? How does a population targeted for extermination qualify for the Democrat Party’s rescue program?
On second thought, forget about clarity—I’ll accept a little honesty. A glance at the energy deposits across the Libyan landscape, when overlaid with foreign concession interests, reveals the reason why Libya got airstrikes and arms shipments to rebel factions while Iran got empty rhetoric, China got the Olympics, Darfur got George Clooney and Rwanda got forgotten.
I grew up in an era when Ronald Reagan was President, patriotism wasn’t a punch line, and “kinetic military action” was a complicated way of describing Arnold, Bruce or Sly wiping out some third-world dictator’s militia. I don’t reflexively oppose military intervention, provided it has a noble purpose. But the same President who doesn’t think the people of Iraq, Iran and Sudan (not to mention China and North Korea) are worth an airstrike has gone gung-ho for Gadhafi.
My apologies, Mr. President; but “Obama 2012″ is NOT sufficient justification.