As usual, President Obama’s speech tonight was very well written. This time his speech writers had plenty of uninterrupted time to create it, since the President was vacationing in Rio. The addition of a third Teleprompter was an improvement since it occasionally appeared as if Mr. Obama was looking directly into the camera, instead of bobbing back and forth from one side to the other like he was watching a tennis match.
Other nuances associated with his speech may have been even more telling than what he actually read. First of all, the speech was delivered in the Abraham Lincoln Conference Room at the National Defense University at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. Now you can’t cloak yourself in much more patriotism than that! And secondly, the President, not known for his punctuality, started precisely at the scheduled moment of 7:30 EDT, and ended precisely at 7:59 EDT, so as not to interfere with ABC’s season finale of Dancing With the Stars. Honest!
As for substance, there really wasn’t much we hadn’t heard before. As with the other Obama bailout plans, he had to act without Congressional awareness because a delay of even one more day would have resulted in hundreds of Libyans getting killed. So in a strictly humanitarian gesture, he immediately ordered the launch of a hundred or so cruise missiles, which resulted in hundreds of other Libyans getting killed.
The first part of his presentation was defending his action as Commander in Chief in acting swiftly and decisively in implementing the UN Resolution #1973. The last part was telling how we really just played a minor back-up role in the coalition of the willing, including Denmark, Norway, France, and a couple of other countries I never heard of, and that we will be gone by next Wednesday.
We know, of course that his first statement is patently false, and the latter one won’t wash either. The UN Mandate #1973 authorized the coalition to establish a “no fly zone” over the Libyan countryside. But in addition, we attacked Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s, tanks, personnel carriers, supply depots, convoys, and other land based facilities and equipment. The immediate result was to enable the rebel forces to regain lost territories, and initiate a triumphant march toward the capital city of Tripoli. The rebels are winning because of US military might, while the President is claiming humanitarian neutrality.
Other contradictions abound: Mr. Obama has stated US policy is the removal of Qadhafi from power, but that is not our military objective. We are not taking sides in Libya’s internal affairs, but we are only attacking Qadhafi forces. We are not committed to nation building, but we have a responsibility to make certain that those seeking to overthrow Qadhafi will create a fair and humane democratic society. Although what is happening in Libya is not a threat to our national security, it is in our national interest to intervene anywhere in the world where we see a government acting against its people, except in Syria, North Korea, Bahrain, Yemen, Darfur, Jordan, Iran, etc., etc.
And yes, while we are supposedly turning command of the hostilities over to NATO this coming Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates estimates that we will be militarily involved at least through the remainder of the year.
Unanswered are the questions of an exit strategy, and an explanation of just how we ended up fighting on the same side with an Al Qaeda inspired revolutionary uprising.
The only thing lacking in his presentation was the U. S. Marine Corps Marching Band and Chorus playing and singing in the background, “How Great Thou Art!”