A Speech and Obfuscations

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It is the responsibility of the president of the United States to clearly explain to the American people the vital national interests at stake when he decides to risk American blood and treasure in a war. He also must define the war’s mission and provide an honest appraisal of how long the mission may take to succeed. And, if at all possible, the president should provide this explanation to the American people before he commits the nation to a war of choice.

President Obama’s address to the nation Monday night to explain the rationale and scope of what his administration calls “kinetic military activity” did not come close to fulfilling his responsibility. After waiting more than a month after the crisis in Libya first erupted (and nine days after U.S. military action began under the banner of international humanitarianism) to address the American people, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president could not bring himself to use the obvious word that best describes what he decided to launch: a “war.” Instead, he described it as an “international effort” to prevent a massacre of civilians at the hands of Col. Moammar Qaddafi.

In his speech, Obama stressed the limited scope of U.S. involvement from this point on, now that NATO will be assuming command from the U.S. military to enforce the arms embargo, no fly zone, and civilian protection responsibilities.  He repeated his promise, which he may have already broken, that there will be no U.S. ground troops in Libya. U.S. special ops, military intelligence and rescue forces are reportedly already on the ground, contrary to Obama’s representation.

Obama praised American leadership in achieving international consensus to go forward with military action, evidenced by the United Nations Security Council’s authorization of military action following the Arab League’s urgent request for a no-fly zone. But he made only the briefest mention of consulting with Congress before he directed the U.S. military to enter a third theater of war in the Muslim world. In fact, he mentioned Congress only once in his entire speech. He referred to the United Nations or the “international community” seven times.

Obama’s speech to the nation should have provided sharp clarity to the American people about why we are fighting in Libya, who we are supporting militarily against Qaddafi, and when we plan to exit completely. Instead, the speech added to the confusion with deliberate ambiguities and omissions of material facts, if not outright untruths.

At a minimum, President Obama owed the nation complete and truthful answers to three key questions, which he did not provide in his speech:

1. What U.S. interests are at stake in Libya that are worth fighting for, and what are the criteria for determining whether U.S. military forces should enter a war for humanitarian purposes?

President Obama’s own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, admitted on the Sunday talk show circuit that the Libyan conflict “was not a vital national interest to the United States,” which raises the question of what we are really trying to accomplish there.

Obama tried to provide the answer in his speech by declaring:

We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte –  could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973. We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Gaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit his air defenses, which paved the way for a No Fly Zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance.

Taking the president’s words at face value, if humanitarian considerations drove Obama’s decision to use force in Libya, why didn’t he move earlier when more lives could have been saved and the operation would have been much simpler to accomplish? Qaddafi was then on the ropes, but gained momentum when he saw that the international community was not going to come to the rebels’ aid immediately.

Now that, in Obama’s own words, we have stopped the Libyan dictator’s advance and prevented an imminent massacre from taking place, haven’t we clearly accomplished the president’s stated humanitarian goal?

If so, we no longer need to be actively involved in continuing to enforce the no-fly zone that we helped set up. The European and Arab League countries that pushed us into this war in the first place are perfectly capable of taking over that role completely. To say, as the president emphasized in his speech, that NATO has assumed command from the United States military is a fig leaf at best. NATO relies largely on United States military resources to carry out its military missions.

Moreover, Obama’s speech skirted the brutality taking place against civilians today in other countries such as Syria, and why we should not apply the same standard we used in Libya to protect them. In addition to rising humanitarian concerns, the U.S. has a much stronger strategic interest in Syria than in Libya because of Syria’s close relationship with Iran.

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  • proxywar

    "The Reagan administration, for example, provided billions of dollars in arms to Afghanistan’s Islamic resistance against the Soviet Union, including to Osama bin Laden."

    That is the biggest lie ever told. How could frontpage allow you to post that truther meme. You just ruined your whole article with that sentence.

    No the CIA did not finance, train, or create UBL/Al-qaeda. This is a moonbat myth told by many troofers. Mr.Quevedo is really trying hard to protect his sham of a religion. It's ok I've heard it all the excuses from islamic-apologists before.

    Links to educate yourself. http://www.911myths.com/html/bin_ladin_links_to_t…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda#Etymology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda#Alleged_CIA….

    Good book on the subject: Disinformation : 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror

    • http://www.okcteaparty.org Dan

      Correctamente. In fact, it's myth #1 in Richard Miniter's 2005 book, Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine The War On Terror.

  • proxywar

    "Osama bin Laden explained the origin of the term in a videotaped interview with Al Jazeera (journalist) Tayseer Alouni in October 2001: "The name 'al-Qaeda' was established a long time ago by mere chance. The late Abu Ebeida El-Banashiri established the training camps for our mujahedeen against Russia's terrorism. We used to call the training camp al-Qaeda. The name stayed."

  • proxywar

    "A variety of sources — CNN journalist Peter Bergen, Pakistani ISI Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf, and CIA operatives involved in the Afghan program, such as Vincent Cannistraro — deny that the CIA or other American officials had contact with the Afghan Arabs (foreign mujahideen) or Bin Laden, let alone armed, trained, coached or indoctrinated them."

    "But Bergen and others argue that there was no need to recruit foreigners unfamiliar with the local language, customs or lay of the land since there were a quarter of a million local Afghans willing to fight; that Arab Afghans themselves had no need for American funds since they received several hundred million dollars a year from non-American, Muslim sources; that Americans could not have trained mujahideen because Pakistani officials would not allow more than a handful of them to operate in Pakistan and none in Afghanistan; and that the Afghan Arabs were almost invariably militant Islamists reflexively hostile to Westerners whether or not the Westerners were helping the Muslim Afghans."

  • proxywar

    "According to Peter Bergen, known for conducting the first television interview with Osama bin Laden in 1997, the idea that "the CIA funded bin Laden or trained bin Laden … a folk myth. There's no evidence of this. … Bin Laden had his own money, he was anti-American and he was operating secretly and independently. … The real story here is the CIA didn't really have a clue about who this guy was until 1996 when they set up a unit to really start tracking him."

    Osama was of the ARAB-Afghans. ie. Of the foreign Arabs who showed up in Afghan to help out the local Muslim Afghans fighting against the USSR. This conflict is not over either. It now continues in Chechnya for offensive jihad-build-up purposes.

    Smack whoever told you this lie.

  • proxywar

    "The Reagan administration, for example, provided billions of dollars in arms to Afghanistan’s Islamic resistance against the Soviet Union, including to Osama bin Laden."

    I can't believe frontpagemag would post your truther nonsense.

  • proxywar

    The other link was broke so here it is again: http://www.911myths.com/html/bin_ladin_links_to_t

  • proxywar
  • poptoy1949

    Mr. Klein has been, so to say, put in place by proxywar. Everything listed by proxywar checks out. Mr. Klein did not care for obama's speech and neither did anyone else that is informed and clear headed. However, making statements that are incorrect does not help any situation. Joe you are better than this. Mr. Horowitz its time to talk to Joe.

    • http://www.lethalengagement.com/ Joseph Klein

      If my reference specifically to Osama bin Laden receiving help from the CIA during the Reagan administration is wrong, then I retract that reference to bin Laden and apologize for the inaccuracy. However, the larger point in my article that we helped Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan years before they turned against us is still valid, as is the contrast with the Obama administration's decision to help elements of the opposition in Libya whom had already killed American soldiers in alliance with al Qaeda.

  • Steve Chavez

    OBAMA is setting the U.S. and Europe up for a REVENGE attack and that could come from the team of a bitter Mubarak and Gaddafi with the help of anyone, including Iran!

    Poke the eyes of a MADDOG/MAN and you will get biten!

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com ApolloSpeaks


    Last year Joe Biden on Larry King took credit on behalf of the administration for stablizing Iraq and moving it toward a representative government. But last night in his speech on Libya Obama exceeded Biden's lies by actually taking credit for regime change in Iraq.

    Click my name and read my piece: Barack Obama's Claim Game, or Taking Credit for Regime Change in Iraq.

  • BLJ

    Obama's handling of this situation looks like a bad SNL sketch. His speech last night was a waste of good oxygen. Just another campaign speech by our community organizer.

    He could care less about any Libyan citizen. They are just more pawns in his efforts to tear down America. He is an internationalist who favors Marxism.

    • Jim_C

      Why don't you just admit there is nothing Obama could have said that would have found favor with you, and that had a Republican president acted in exactly the same manner, you'd be all for it?

      This whole site was "for" it, before it was "against" it.

      So when did you start caring about Libyan citizens? My guess is, a few weeks ago. It reminds me of conservatives' touching concern for all Saddam's victims…15 years later when Mr. Bush was making the case for invasion. The ol' "bleeding heart conservative"–their sympathies always get ratcheted up just before a bombing.

  • USMCSniper
  • http://newmediaage.shugartmedia.com/NewMediaWorld/ Tar_n_Feathers

    Obama has his chips spread all over the roulette table in hope of somehow cashing in on whatever outcome befalls Libya. I'd prefer even a bad plan than no plan at all. At least with an ill-conceived strategy, it can be examined, evaluated and corrected. Instead all we have is some random military action that will change with any roll of the dice.

  • IslandAnne

    Obama promised there were no American troops on the ground and there would be no American boots on the ground in Libya. He lied again!! http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/transcript/…. How much more of this arrogant, lying narcissist do we have to take before he's impeached? He is not above the Congress or the Constitution!

    • Jim_C

      Go get him, Island Anne! How I wish you would!

  • BBF

    What really happened in Afghanistan

    When the regime of Mohammad Daoud was overthrown in 1978, five percent of Afghanistan’s population owned over 45 percent of the land. Women could be murdered if found not to be virgins when they were wed.

    Over 96 percent of women were illiterate as were the vast majority of men. A third of the people in the countryside care were sharecroppers or landless laborers.

    Revolutionaries belonging to the People’s Democratic Party fought this oppression. They looked across the border in the Soviet Union where people in Central Asia had lived under similar conditions before the 1917 socialist revolution.

    For 70 years the Soviet government carried out the biggest affirmative-action campaign in history, bringing schools and hospitals to the area. Industries were built and electricity came to the countryside. Nations that were imprisoned by the czar were now free to develop their own culture and literature.

    This aid wasn’t a one-way street. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Red Army from the Central Asian Soviet Republics died fighting Hitler. Sabir O. Rakhimov—who was the first Uzbek to be made a general in the Soviet Army—died liberating Gdansk, Poland. Two million Uzbeks live in Afghanistan.

    The first spark in Afghanistan’s revolution was the assassination of union leader Ahbar Haybar on April 17, 1978. Leaders of the People’s Democratic Party were imprisoned on April 26 for giving speeches at Hayber’s funeral. Within ten hours the Afghanistan army revolted and freed these political prisoners, using a tank to tear down the prison walls.

    Decree number six of the revolution cancelled the debts of the poor in the countryside. A farmer in debt had to turn over half of their crop to the money lender.

    Even a Pentagon study admitted, “The government trained many more teachers, built additional schools and kindergartens and instituted nurseries for orphans.” Textbooks were printed in the Dari, Pashtu, Uzbek, Turkic and Baluchi languages.

    By 1985 there had been an 80 percent increase in the number of hospital beds. Brigades of women and youths went to the countryside to bring medical care to peasants for the first time.

    None of this was to the liking of the feudal landlords whose rule the revolution challenged. The landlords organized counterrevolutionary gangs to terrorize people just as the Ku Klux Klan did here after the U.S. Civil War in the 19th century. One of the landlords’ leaders was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who threw acid in the face of women not wearing a veil.

    This Afghanistan Klan got support from President Jimmy “Human Rights” Carter. In a 1998 interview with the French weekly Nouvel Observatateur, Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski bragged that the CIA was already bankrolling the counterrevolutionaries by mid-1979.

    It was in response to this CIA-backed campaign of violence that Soviet forces accepted the invitation of Afghanistan’s government to come to its aid on Dec. 24, 1979.

    • Fred Dawes

      THANK YOU FOR THE HISTORY, But I and many others know the facts.

  • Fred Dawes

    Cut by all the BS Its all about oil and oil means money and money means power and the end game is power over you.
    Its not about freedom that is now just a saying to keep you in line for the coming butchery inside the USA.


    "Instead, the speech added to the confusion with deliberate ambiguities and omissions of material facts, if not outright untruths."

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, "If i can write the word 'lies' for a nickel, i wouldn't write 'untruths' for the same pay…" The point is—why not call it as you see it? Why use the leftist euphemisms (or even longer synonyms) for simple things such as lies? Here, let me do that for you:

    Obama is a compulsive liar, who uses lies to cover up his consistently anti-american agenda. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that he has ever told truth since he started talking in his infancy.