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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Political Fall-out From The President’s Libya Decision

President Barack Obama makes a statement on Libya, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP)

In deciding to enforce a no fly zone over Libya, President Obama sided with his administration’s idealists, like senior aide at the National Security Council, Samantha Power, over realists like Defense Secretary Robert Gates. That decision opened up the White House to criticism from both the right and the left.

Some Congressional leaders are complaining that the White House consulted with Europeans and Arabs, but not the U.S. Congress. Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio went so far as to suggest that bombing Libya was an illegal and possibly impeachable act of war.

We look at the battle within the White House and the political fall-out with Scott Wilson, White House correspondent for the Washington Post.

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  • Private Sector Frog

    “Humanitarian interventionists” what an ingenious use of the English language to describe entering a conflict…..why not “hawks”? Or do we save that for Neocons? Oh…and bombing is now the “Idealistic” stance during this administration? Amazing!

    Question: Is President Obama the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to authorize a bombing?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDH4GYJMIUFU373W3XUQVD2V4E Patrick

      You’ll note that practically ALL of the debate is between the “humanitarian intervention” position and the “neo-con hawk” position. Ross Douthat’s absurd and meaningless NYT article Monday is a perfect example. The end-user (those of us less sophisticated in reading mainstream media) is left with choosing between two identical arguments.

      It’s a pretty nifty system for mass indoctrination. I take it that this weekend we won’t have anyone with principles (Ron Paul, Denis Kucinich, etc) on the Sunday chat shows, just more meaningless shouting where everyone essentially agrees.


  • Private

    The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (Pub.L. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224, enacted September 18, 2001), one of two resolutions commonly known as “AUMF” (the other being “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002″), was a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. The AUMF was signed by President George W. Bush on September 18, 2001.

    The Iraq Resolution or the Iraq War Resolution (formally the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, Pub.L. 107-243, 116 Stat. 1498, enacted October 16, 2002, H.J.Res. 114) is a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress in October 2002 as Public Law No: 107-243, authorizing the Iraq War.

  • Anonymous

    Private Sector Frog and Patrick,

    What’s your alternative? Do we leave the Libyan people to die alone? They asked for our help, and we’re giving it. Whatever labels get applied to the act, it needs doing.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDH4GYJMIUFU373W3XUQVD2V4E Patrick

      What Libyan people? Some armed tribe in the east versus one in the west? Some CIA-sponsored “Transition Council?” To be such a transparent chicken-hawk is really a risible thing.

      As wrote Eugene Robinson:

      “Gaddafi is crazy and evil; obviously, he wasn’t going to listen to our advice about democracy. The world would be fortunate to be rid of him. But war in Libya is justifiable only if we are going to hold compliant dictators to the same standard we set for defiant ones. If not, then please spare us all the homilies about universal rights and freedoms. We’ll know this isn’t about justice, it’s about power.”


      • Anonymous

        CIA sponsorship? The CIA can’t even figure out who’s for us and who’s against us. It’s not running revolutions these days. Regarding Robinson’s comment, we aren’t obliged to do all good. We can’t do that. But we do need to do more for democratic movements. If he or you believe that we’re doing this for our own gain, what is it specifically that we stand to get from helping? Oil isn’t the answer, by the way.

        As for your chicken hawk remark, I’ll refrain from making personal attacks.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDH4GYJMIUFU373W3XUQVD2V4E Patrick

          What do you know?

    • Private Sector Frog

      First off..have we exhausted all diplomatic measures? Secondly, sometimes it’s more effective to let someone ELSE to take the lead. When we do it everytime, we lose more and more standing in the world and we are not seen as “humanitarian interventionists”…far from it. (What’s Frank Luntz working for the White House now?) Time for Secretary Clinton to use her amazing skills and convince the European Union take this one.

  • John

    You act and you are criticized. You don’t act and you are criticized. And more people die.

    • Private Sector Frog

      So true.

  • Donald

    If you’re old enough, you’ll remember when Gaddafi’s Russian built fighter aircraft attacked our Naval aircraft in the Med. for no reason. We shot them down. He continued and we attacked his compound. He retaliated a couple of years later with the downing of a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Scotland.

    Libyan citizens recently took to the streets to demonstrate their concerns about Gaddafi’s government and he decided to shoot them. We and others in the “free world” cannot allow this to happen. It’s time to protect these people who are fighting back to defend themselves and to rid the world of Colonel Gaddafi.

  • Samuel Green

    People have always been hypocritical, and especially ruling bodies. By definition, government surpresses freedom, and yet democracy is supposed to grant freedom. By nature power and freedom are opposed to one another. The more power u have, the more responsibility you take on. The more responsibility you take on, the weaker you become.

    What is happening right now makes perfect sense. And Obama has handled it about as well as any human being might have.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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