Gosh, the time just slips away so quickly. Sorry we’re so late.
Reports this morning say Qaddafi’s forces are already in Benghazi.
I understand it takes time to put together a military action. But did President Obama really not order contingency operations in case he changed his mind? Or, to the converse, did her really change his mind without having the means to immediately implement his new strategy?
The president had once demanded Qaddafi’s departure from Libya – a requirement which, as Marc Thiessen notes in the Washington Post, was notably absent from his remarks Friday – and Friday told the world in essence that the United States would prevent Qaddafi from finishing off his opposition, which Qaddafi will now probably do to the tune of the murder of many thousands. Obama is in danger of being rebuffed on both counts, and looking ridiculous.
What’s more, if we do damage to Qaddafi without killing him, we are inviting retaliation. Some believe the Qaddafi’s downing of a civilian airliner over Lockerbie in 1988 was in revenge for Ronald Reagan’s bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, which itself was in response to the killing two U.S. military personel at a Berlin nightclub in an explosion.
Obama’s vacillation and failure to act earlier in this crisis is a problem of Carteresque proportions for him. Even a firm decision not to intervene – while I would disagree with it – would show a consistency and strength of leadership. If he is acting too late, as it appears the case may be, the president will not be forgiven for failing to provide strong leadership, which the country covets, whether from the right or the left.