Anyone seeking to know why Barack Obama really committed U.S. troops to Libya’s civil war can begin by dismissing virtually everything he said in his speech Monday night out of hand. For instance, Obama claimed he initiated this military action for humanitarian reasons. Failing “our responsibilities to our fellow human beings…would have been a betrayal of who we are,” he said. “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.”
However, in July 2007 the Associated Press reported, “Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.”
Consider: in July 2007, Obama was discussing a war already in progress, one Osama bin Laden called “the most important and serious issue for the whole world today.” America’s most wanted terrorist called Baghdad “the capital of the caliphate” and said the Iraq war will result in, “either victory and glory or misery and humiliation.” Yet just as the surge and a series of agreements with northern tribal leaders began pacifying the country, Barack Obama said the Helpless Giant should turn the country over to the jihadists and stand by as they systematically exterminated our allies. (As president, he has conspicuously failed to take his own advice.) Today, he claims our vital national security interests demand that we take sides in an internecine feud between factions of pro-terrorist Muslims.
Why does the president really support the action in Libya?
1. It serves no U.S. interests.
For most Americans, the fact that a war in no way promotes U.S. interests would be a prima facie argument against initiating it. For left-wingers, the less our nation has to gain from a war, the more apt they are to support it. Liberals are afflicted with irrational guilt over privileges they believe Americans enjoy due to exploitation and militarism. These impulses can only be quieted through irrational acts of self-sacrifice on behalf of those who disregard, dislike, or actively hate us. Thus, liberals view “humanitarian” wars as a means of righting the wrongs their ancestors perpetrated over scores of generations – consider it a form of “redistribution of bloodshed.”
Consider Barack Obama’s statement that “as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” That eerily echoed a section of George W. Bush’s opening salvo against Iraq in his 2002 State of the Union Address:
I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.
The difference in the two mindsets is clear. One war was intended to eliminate a perceived threat to American safety, however erroneous that threat turned out to be; the other creates threats to American security by taking sides in a fundamentalist Muslim civil war.
2. It is anti-colonial.
Most presidents do not fashion U.S. foreign policy to weaken the alliance between Third World leaders and the West, but, as then Barack Obama likes to remind us, he is not like other presidents. Dinesh D’Souza has posited Obama is motivated by anti-colonialism. While D’Souza’s thesis is open to debate, it is undeniable that, Obama like all liberals feels guilt over Western “exploitation” and seeks to make amends by harming those closest to us.
Obama said in his speech Monday night that a Libyan war would put “enormous strains on the peaceful – yet fragile – transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.” The regimes in Egypt and Tunisia were essentially U.S. client states. Egypt has been the second largest recipient of foreign aid since the Camp David Accords. (The largest single recipient most of that time, and much of the postwar period, is Israel.) Last July an agency of the Pentagon, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, notified Congress the government may sell 12 helicopters to Tunisia for $282 million in order “to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for economic and military progress in North Africa.” Whether the rebels are al-Qaeda terrorists, jihadists, or simply average Middle Easterners, virtually any new government will be more anti-American than those we bought – even in Libya, where Qaddafi has backed down so dramatically Americans have been sending him hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid.
But our beneficiaries’ revulsion is yet more proof of our righteousness (see reason #1) in supporting “a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve.”
3. It advances fundamentalist Muslim interests.
Although Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough classified the opposition as “quite a broad movement of people,” Hillary Clinton was more honest. “We do not have any information about specific individuals from any organization that are part of this,” she said. “But of course, we are still getting to know the people.”
She may want to get to know al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki, who recently said, “Our mujahideen brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation.”
They were never totally suffocated. A West Point study found Libyans made up a large section of Iraq’s foreign jihadists, perhaps as high as 20 percent. Libyan rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi has admitted he fought the Crusader enemy (that’s us) on the hills of Pakistan before personally leading 25 Libyans to the Iraqi front. He surmised that “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims.” The civil war has reportedly given al-Qaeda the opportunity to steal surface-to-air missiles. Time magazine reports at least some of the rebels describe themselves as “mujahideen.” Former al-Qaeda leader Noman Benotman estimates there are 1,000 “freelance jihadists” in Libya today. However, Benotman says the al-Qaeda forces have not co-opted the opposition’s leadership…yet. As revolutions have taught us from Russia to Egypt, a dedicated minority can gain control of a once diverse movement.
Empowering al-Qaeda in the Sahara is a risk the Community-Organizer-in-Chief is willing to take as part of his outreach to the Muslim ummah. Other examples include his limp-wristed approach to Iran, his support for the Muslim Brotherhood in neighboring Egypt, his instruction for NASA administrator Charles Bolden to make Muslims “feel good about their historic contribution to science,” his financing of mosques around the world, his pledge to make a priority of prosecuting anti-Muslim “hate crimes,” his promotion and financing of Al Jazeera broadcasts, and his lawsuit on behalf of a Muslim teacher seeking three weeks leave to make hajj. This is just the latest way of begging the world’s Mohammedans to like him.
4. Strengthens the globalist socialists at the UN.
Obama stated Monday night if he had not gone into Libya, “The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security.” He had no trouble ignoring more than a dozen UNSC resolutions about Iraq before that war, but the Left typically genuflects at the altar of the UN and the “international community.”
In a poll conducted by MIT during the George W. Bush years, 70 percent of Democrats said they approved of sending American troops “to help the United Nations uphold international law.” Only 57 percent would use military force “to destroy a terrorist camp.” (That far exceeds the 35 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Independents would don the blue helmets, while 95 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Independents would blast Tora Bora.) This reasoning is closely united to reason #1 above; it certainly has nothing to do with advancing U.S. interests.
American liberals congregate at the UN, because they believe other nations are more enlightened than their fellow citizens and they hope Eurosocialists can save them from American yokels. They often say things like, “America is the only industrialized nation that….” Obama shares this view. He has derided “our tragic history” and said the U.S. Constitution “reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.” He has appointed Supreme Court nominees who believe in placing international law on equal footing with the U.S. Constitution. His UN-worship reached its apogee when he hauled Arizona before the United Nations Human Rights Council over its common sense immigration law, having the people of Arizona judged by the cronies of Cameroon. His first-ever U.S. report to the UNHRC provided a blueprint for socialism, which stated bluntly, “Our commitment to the rights protected in our Constitution is matched by a parallel commitment to foster a society characterized by shared prosperity.” The internationalist Left defers to the UN on domestic and foreign policy, including when to send American troops into harm’s way.
5. It increases presidential executive powers.
The most important reason Barack Obama backs the war in Libya is simple: it benefits Barack Obama. He has already shown a willingness to rule by executive orders, regulations, and decrees – bypassing Congress to implement his supporters’ far-Left agenda. The ultimate power is the power to make war, and he predictably launched this war like a king. Even left-wingers at The Huffington Post are waking up to this power grab. HuffPo’s Rob Kall has described the Libyan war as “a brazen act of hubris, a grab for even more executive power.” As this author has noted, this war philosophy means the president can send troops anywhere he and a handful of United Nations members agree upon, from Mauritania to Micronesia, from Nepal to Naples. The Left’s political philosophy is dedicated to aggrandizing power as far away from the people as possible (see reason #4), and such a power grab should not be surprising from someone who praised “an “activist” executive branch.
The dirty secret is that no one is doing much to stop this transfer of constitutional authority from the people to the president – or higher. Few politicians of either party seek to reduce government power, because they hope to harness it and use it to their own ends. They bide their time in the hopes that one of their own – preferably themselves – will take the reins. That is why the Republican leadership has had only muted criticism for a blatantly unconstitutional war.
The Libyan war dethrones the previous would-be kings and potentates whose will shaped the Middle East and establishes Barack Obama as a royal power avenging downtrodden Muslim fundamentalists.
If Republican leaders had any guts, they would stop braying that the president “needs to explain himself better” and start explaining the Constitution to him, starting with war powers and ending with impeachment.