I thought Chief of Staff Bill Daley was supposed to be a no-nonsense type who was going to be making the trains run on time in the White House. But here we have the administration considering military action against Qaddafi, and Daley can’t even explain why it’s in the national interest of the United States to do so.
From his Sunday appearance on Meet the Press:
DAVID GREGORY: The president this week said Moammar Gadhafi has got to go. My question is this: Is getting rid of Gadhafi of vital U.S. interest?
MR. DALEY: I think stopping the violence, first of all, that’s occurring in Libya is most important. The president has been very aggressive. We froze–we, we initiated sanctions quicker than we’ve ever done in the past, froze $30 billion of, of Gadhafi’s money in the U.S. We’ve been very aggressive in our coordination with the international community in looking at all options. And we’ve also been very aggressive in, in bringing humanitarian aid to the region to help people. There’s a tremendous humanitarian crisis…
MR. GREGORY: But it hasn’t stopped, it hasn’t stopped Gadhafi.
MR. DALEY: It has not stopped him, there’s no doubt about it.
MR. GREGORY: So is it, is it in America’s vital national interest that Gadhafi is gone?
MR. DALEY: It is, it is in–Gadhafi should go for the people of Libya. He should stop this–as the president said, he should stop the slaughtering of the people in this–in the–in these battles. And I think the international community…
MR. GREGORY: But if we, if we can’t define if it’s in our vital national interest, doesn’t this say something about how far we’re willing to go to get him out?
MR. DALEY: I think the international community’s going to come together. There’s tremendous–there’s, there’s discussions going on right now–they’ve been going on for the last number of weeks–to try to have a coordinated effort to bring pressure on Gadhafi from the entire world to say, “Stop this.” It is in the world’s interest that this sort of action be stopped, and we’re part of that community. And we are…
MR. GREGORY: But it still seems opaque to me. I mean, is it or is it not in our vital interest that Gadhafi goes? Why does it matter to America?
MR. DALEY: It is in our interest, it is in our interest that this–as human beings–as the president has said, his policy is first of all there should be no violence in these changes that are going on in the Middle East. You have to protect the basic human rights. And at the end, there has to be a process, both political and economic, for the people in these countries to have some opportunity of real change in their government.
I listed several reasons earlier today why this is in our national interest. Of course, the humanitarian issue is important. But it is also vital that we not be discredited as an effete Super Power ready for evisceration at the hands of our enemies.