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The National Security Case for the War Against Qaddafi

In his remarks to the nation tonight on Libya, President Obama tonight won’t make much of a case that our national security interests are served by the attack on Libya. Instead, he’ll stick to the humanitarian argument that the United States, a great and moral nation, could not sit by while Muammar Qaddafi gorged himself on the blood of his own people.

I agree with the president on this. I know many of you don’t. Not because you care less than me about human lives, but because you you think this operation is bad for the United States in the long run. You believe we are overstretched already, that intervention is potentially costly and dangerous, that the rebels could turn out to be bad guys, and that America has to focus its limited resources on its own problems.

I share all these concerns and respect your views. But for me, the risks are worth taking. Not just to prevent the killing of thousands, but because stopping Qaddafi is in the VITAL NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS of the United States. Despite the view of the Secretary of Defense, who should have resigned if he thinks otherwise, which he said Sunday he does.

Here is why I believe the Libya action is a national security matter:

1. The policy of the United States is to increase freedom and democracy throughout the world, not only because we like it, but because regimes that tolerate greater freedom tend to be allies and helpers of the United States. By allowing Qaddafi to crush the rebellion against him, we would signal to the rest of the world that we are not serious about these goals and undermine those throughout the world who seek to advance them in their countries. We would empower a culture of savagery around the world as other leaders operated from Qaddafi’s playbook.

The message would be clear: respond with ruthless violence to your opposition, and the United States will let you succeed. This is a very bad idea to give countries like Syria and Iran, where replacement of the current regimes – both under internal pressure – is an imperative. It could also discourage the opposition in China, where we also tacitly seek regime change, telling democracy advocates the United States is not serious about their goals.

2. If we simply sat and watched instead of intervening while a tyrant with American blood on his hands rampaged through his own country, we would be viewed by our enemies, from the mountains of Afghanistan to Tehran and points East, as weak and unwilling to act. We cannot intervene everywhere there is mayhem and murder, but if we ignored not only the pleas of those being massacred but the importuning our allies when we could act at relatively little cost and without the logistical hurdles presented by crisis spots like the Sudan and elsewhere, our worst enemies would be emboldened.

3. Having won by slaughtering his own people, Qaddafi would again be an international pariah. Isolated but cocky with victory, there is every reason to assume he would resume supporting the various terrorists outfits he has backed in the past. It would be clear to him that the United States means him no harm, removing the incentive he had to end his nuclear weapons program and giving him every reason to restart it. It has worked quite well for Kim Jong-Il, who need not fear any external threats to unseat him.

4. A Qaddafi victory would result in sprawling refugee camps of Libyans in Egypt, a perfect breeding ground for Islamic terrorists and a destabilizing force within a country that we need to get on a stable, non-Islamist path.

Obama is right in the action he has taken, even if it was done way late and incompetently executed and led. And he is our commander in chief during a time of war. He deserves our moral support – even if we criticize and disagree with him – and our wishes that the operation is successful and that it ends with the death of Qaddafi.

22 Responses to The National Security Case for the War Against Qaddafi

  1. I so agree with you. We would be so much better served helping those that want and need our help, and pulling out of Afghanastan where we’re not wanted, not winning friends, and only interested in our money. We should also assist those in Syria if they need us. Leave Iraq and Afghanastan now. Leave them to their poppies and corruption, as our current tack will not correct this.

  2. This is a tough one. Do I support the Al Qaeda-backed rebels or not?

    “This is to say that in the name of the “responsibility to protect” civilians, the United States and its European partners have entered into a de facto military alliance with an organization that famously makes no distinction between combatants and non-combatants and whose most characteristic modus operandi consists precisely of terror attacks on civilian targets. Unlike Muammar al-Gaddafi — or, for that matter, American or French military authorities — al-Qaeda does not deny targeting civilians. Targeting civilians is what al-Qaeda does.”

    • There’s no evidence that these rebels are infiltrated by al Qaeda. Just because al Qaeda got a handful of fighters from Eastern Libya doesn’t mean the the place is run by al Qaeda. And this “commander” who fought for al Qaeda is not a commander. Nobody is commanding the rebels, unfortunately, and there are plenty of leaders of the opposition who we are in touch with and who have nothing to do with al Qaeda.

        • I agree that Egypt is very frightening. He pushed Mubarak too hard, and by his speech tonight mentioning how wonderful Egypt is going to be, I don’t even think he gets it. I don’t deny that you could be right about Libya, only saying that all things considered I feel it is worth the risk. Hope we’re going to use the $33 billion of Qaddafi’s money to incentivize good behavior.

    • Aaron Klein lays out some of the history of r2p in an article for World Net Daily today: If his research is accurate, and it usually is, r2p was another of the brain children of Soros and company.

      I have had people tell me that I am crazy for what I am about to say, but to me it makes sense. Ban Ki-moon’s term as Sec. General of the UN expires Dec. 31, 2011. It is my feelings that Obama will try to be appointed to the Sec. General’s position, and that Ban will either not seek re-appointment or in some other fashion will not be able to fill the position.

      Granted, no UNSG has ever come from the USA, but with Obama’s family ties to Africa (father) and his reliance on UN direction (ie the current Libyan situation) he will be able to claim to be the first post-national UNSG, just like he was supposed to be the first post-racial president. This would also follow his record with other jobs, how long was he in the Senate before he started to campaign for POTUS?

      The man will not be satisfied with simply being the President of the US, his desire, in my opinion, is a much higher goal. POTUS will simply be a stepping stone to earn him the respect of the international community. He’s done the apology tour, now he needs to show he has the gravitas to be leader of the world.

      Keith I agree to a point on why we needed to go into Libya, but the entire way this man-child has handled this situation shows that he does not have any respect for OUR laws, policies or people.

      • It’s unconscionable that he didn’t consult Congress and if this was Bush the Dems would be busy impeaching him. And I hope he doesn’t now get the bug to solve every crisis on earth with out armaments.

  3. I strongly, and vehemently, disagree. The US does not have a compelling national interest in going to war with the current Libya regime.

    If killing innocent citizen opponents is the primary criteria for the US bombing of the current Libyan government forces, when do we begin the no fly zone over China?

  4. I respect your opinion Keith, but I can not support this man in any way, shape, or form. I listened to his arrogant, condescending speech and it has only solidified my position: 1) He diminished our sovereignty in bypassing congress and acting on a UN resolution. He is president of the United States, not the United Nations. (2) He is involving our military in another war with no end in sight. Most of our troops are battle-weary from two ongoing wars, and he sends them to another one. He didn’t mention an exit strategy. How long are we going to be there? (3) If we interceded for humanitarian reasons, where do we go next? Syria’s al-Assad is butchering civilians too. The only difference is Syria is allied with Iran, so those murders will be ignored. (4) He has no plans to remove Qaddafi. If I recall correctly, we killed one of his sons. The tyrant has shown a penchant for revenge and he will not let this act pass unacknowledged. How many American lives will be lost as a result of Obama’s intervention? Only time will tell.

    • Susan, you make good points, and I completely agree with #1 and also #4, which is why if he is going to go to war against Qaddafi, he has to kill Qaddafi. I share your concerns on #’s 2 & 3, but believe this si worth it nonetheless.

  5. While I agree with most of your points on this,I have a couple things that I do think should have been addressed,not just because I support stronger action towards Libya,but as the general message to the world as a whole.
    1. I think this should of been made from the oval office.(Not Congress,as if he was to address there,it should of been a week ago)The fact of him having it where he did and constantly darting his gaze around the room,turning it into a pep talk/fund raiser crap.This speech he should of relied on his teleprompter buddy and stared right into the camera,facing the people.This was broadcast through out the world and he needed to be focused on that not trying to garner audience reaction.You want the world to pay attention,look em right in the eye.
    2. While he did acknowledge Iran’s government,he needed to acknowledge the Iranian people,after his fumble with the 09 protests,he could of in their eyes humbled himself maybe even, and apologized to the citizens of Iran with 1 line that would of right to the point… I am sorry,I messed up and wasn’t there when you needed us,but rest assured it wont happen again..
    3.Absolutely should of slammed a warning down on Assad in Syria who is currently mowing his own people down by the dozen.

    Some of your readers might say Im too far right,or a war monger..No.What I am is disgusted by these regimes who slaughter.And rape.And pillage their people.Killing your people by the thousands? What of their youth that is not converted to terrorism by the Koran,or one of the Iman’s, these monsters surely will. Right now Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan,Yemen,Sudan,Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Somalia, Morocco, and Oman are all in play..While I would very much like to see Syria and Iran fall,If the Saudis loose the grip all bets are off.The rest are not meaningless,but arnt the major issues at stake..This is going to have repercussions for YEARS,if not major war.It has to stop.
    Yes our country is broke,but if not for our generation,our children’s generation will be left at risk.For the money these guys in DC spend,I would have no problem spending 10 billion to push Iran,Syria’s,and Libya’s dictators from power.Trust me in the big picture,that’s a bargain.
    Why your at it Barry spend a billion and iradicate this pirate problem once and for all.
    Sorry for rambling…
    Vote ANYBODYELSE2012!

  6. I respectfully disagree. On many levels…

    First, what has the Obama Regime done to US inteligence gathering that we didn’t know til we had the NFZ that ‘oops, some al Qaeda might be the ‘rebels?’

    Second, I concur with your statement of our military resources ‘stretched too thin’ but by the disenguous ‘national interest’ claim of Obama shoiuld be ‘European Union national interest’ and we are just along for the ride. Mobaruk HAD to; al Assad should too; but Quadaffi…hey he can hang around. Possibly put up in an Italian villa…which makes me wonder what Moammar ‘has’ (via his hosting Libyan visits of Farrakhan and the former Obama personal minister and faith advisor, Jeremiah Wright–thats why veting things like Presidential candidates Passport records and school transcripts–who funded the studies, any trips/studying abroad). The ‘hands off’ Quadaffi really alarms me.

    And lastly, I understand we should support the Commander in Chief…however (to me) there has been such a pattern of apologizing for American leadership and exceptionalism; socializing of US assets (from auto companies to healthcare to shutting down the Gulf); that I see BHO as acting contrary consistantly to what IS in the United States best interest. I am waiting for his ‘America’ first moments.

    • We are not involved in a “humanitarian” action. We’re not dropping food and medical supplies to the population, we are dropping bombs to kill people and destroy their infrastructure. We have no national interest in this civil war and no mandate from Congress to proceed with the NFZ.
      We are at war with Libya and no fancy 25cent words can change that.
      If Kaddafi leaves power but his military forces remain is it over? Is it over if Libya splits into tribal territories while fighting among themselves for power? What Muslim interests would install a democracy that allows the Libyans “freedom” from tyranny?
      Would a Libyan “freedom” apply to their women or just the men?
      We don’t know and that’s the problem.

      Your point about the Prez turning his head from side to side was noticed and commented on by others. He looked unsure, evasive and seemed to be speaking to the audience instead of the public. The applause at the end of his speech was inappropriate, no matter how polite.

  7. In my humble opinion this ought to be a European affair in cooperation with some of the Arab nations. A “police”mission with safety for the civilians on the agenda. Even my little country ( not a NATO member) is now discussing sending planes down there. I know, the firepower is much less without American help and maybe Libya will end being split up but I think the prospect of having a radical islamized country so close to Europe is much worse.I distrust these rebels, they will probably massacre their enemies in due time. A “bad” outcome of this ( Khadaffi stays) will hurt US more than it will hurt Europe I think. It is vital for the west that US is seen as strong.

  8. If the Europeans need that Libyan oil and we think (as Hill said) that we need to do all this bec they went to Afghanistan, well, bully! We can’t afford the whack-a-mole of jumping into every possible or even real abuse situation! Aw, you know how I feel on this…it is a huge ball of bad potential, unintended consequences, mayhem, expense, turf wars, and BS.

    • And I also don’t think Iraq is some Garden of Eden now–although I guess that might be where the Garden actually was, which is interesting.

  9. Obama’s support of NATO’s illegal invasion of Libya resulted in a disaster . A country which was one of he few secular in the Middle East is now under Sharia Law. Thousands of Black Libyans and African immigrants have been murdered…along with the 50,000 innocent men, women and children. Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul were among the very few public figures who called for Obama’s impeachment. Boehner said he would look into the situation, went out one weekend and played golf with Obama..and that was the end of that. Bush lied us into war, but got the required congressional approval. Obama lied and supported the invasion of Libya with US taxpayer’s $$$$ w/o the supposed required congressional approval. A reported $13,000,000 US funds were spent a day for months which ultimately resulted in the wreck that is Libya.

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared like ghoulish despots at a Roman Coliseum, reveling in their Libyan gladiators’ butchery.”

    Last week the whole world saw, and every decent soul recoiled, at the true face of NATO’s answer to the Arab Spring. An elderly, helpless prisoner struggled to maintain his dignity in a screaming swirl of savages, one of whom thrusts a knife [4] up his rectum. These are Europe and America’s jihadis in the flesh. In a few minutes of joyously recorded bestiality, the rabid pack undid every carefully packaged image of NATO’s “humanitarian” project in North Africa – a horror and revelation indelibly imprinted on the global consciousness by the brutes’ own cell phones.

    Nearly eight months of incessant bombing by the air forces of nations that account for 70 percent of the world’s weapons spending, all culminating in the gang-bang slaughter of Moammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and his military chief of staff, outside Sirte. The NATO-armed bands then displayed the battered corpses for days in Misurata – the city that had earlier made good on its vow to “purge Black skin” through the massacre and dispersal of 30,000 darker residents of nearby Tawurgha – before disposing of the bodies in an unknown location.