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Supporters of Barack Obama, who campaigned to finish the “good” war in Afghanistan and drop the “bad” war in Iraq, cast enthusiastic ballots with the expectation that their candidate would subtract America from at least one war. Instead, he added one.
For Obama’s foot soldiers, it is time either for epiphany or to get in line for Kool Aid. A third war in the Islamic world, after all, is not the hope and change they voted for. The campaign in Libya elicits disillusionment or rationalization. For those engaging in the latter, the party line is, though embarrassingly hypocritical given the caustic rhetoric during the George W. Bush presidency, quite predictable.
This is a liberal war. Did I say war? I meant “kinetic military action,” or “humanitarian mission,” or maybe “internationally authorized intervention,” or perhaps “time-limited, scope-limited military action” even. Liberals don’t fight wars. They manage “conflicts,” oversee “interventions,” and participate in “actions.” Bullets fly. People die. Just don’t call them wars.
Liberal bombs and missiles are humanitarian in intent. When American ordnance and Libyan people experience their moment of cultural exchange, the Libyans will surely appreciate how well meaning the American policy is. What is “I am from the U.S. government and I am here to help you” in Arabic?
The campaign is multilateral. This is another way of saying France is on board. Operation Iraqi Freedom, which involved a more diverse coalition that included Brits, Poles, Spaniards, and three dozen or so other peoples, was “unilateral.” That’s because the French stayed home.
Sure, Barack Obama bypassed Congress. They’re comprised primarily of conservative rubes now, anyhow. The Constitution? It gives rights to foreign gentlemen imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay; it doesn’t restrain presidential power, at least when the commander in chief is a Democrat. The important thing is that the Obama administration went to the United Nations. Their approval, not Congress’s, affirms the legality of the president’s action.
The decision to go to kinetic military action was made after due consideration and prudential deliberation. This is Barack Obama, Ivy League graduate, we are talking about. George W. Bush may have rushed to war when he attacked Iraq five months after Congressional approval and more than a year after the first protests of an Iraq war that wasn’t (yet). But Barack Obama’s commitment of the American military to another Middle Eastern campaign, when everybody was preoccupied with a natural disaster in Japan, was anything but a rush to war. So circumspect is this president that he waited more than a week after U.S. jets took to the Libyan skies to give his reasons to the American people in a televised address.
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