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Posted at 1:05 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

If not in Libya, when would Obama ever intervene?

By Jennifer Rubin

Jamie Fly, executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative, makes the case in USA Today that the Obama administration has been too slow to react to events in Libya:

It was not until Monday, two weeks after the uprising began, that the Pentagon announced it was sending two naval vessels to the region.

President Obama said on Thursday that his administration was reviewing the option of a no-fly zone, but key officials have sent mixed messages, citing resource limitations and even questioning whether such action was necessary. That is despite numerous reports by those fleeing the violence and journalists on the ground that the regime continues to bomb rebel-held positions from the air.

Fly dismisses the argument that we would need the U.N. Security Council's approval for a no-fly zone. "The no-fly zones over Saddam Hussein's Iraq and NATO's 1999 war with Serbia over Kosovo did not have the council's explicit blessing." But this administration is reluctant to act without multilateral agreement. And so, for now, we observe and decry the massacre of Libyans but do not intervene to halt it.

Fly asserts: "Intervening is a moral obligation for the United States -- a moral obligation we've all too often ignored in similar cases in the past, with disastrous consequences. This time we need to get it right. It's time for President Obama to lead." Indeed, one would think that after missing the boat during the Green Movement's June 2009 uprising and standing idly by as Lebanon slid under Hezbollah's boot that the administration would welcome the opportunity to lend a hand to oppressed Muslims struggling for their lives and for self-determination.

And if the "realists" in the White House aren't moved by humanitarian appeals, one would think they would at the very least see there is geopolitical advantage in demonstrating that America is willing to flex its muscles. Iran is watching. Those who will come to power in new governments throughout the region are watching. We are being tested, and so far have been found wanting.

For goodness sakes, what ever happened to "Muslim Outreach"? One wonders whether that was really "Muslim autocrat outreach."

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 4, 2011; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Comments

One post celebrating Paul "we are broke so we have to take a chainsaw to the budget" Ryan, then another post asking why we aren't going to spending all the money it would take to intervene in Libya. Which one did Jennifer post and which one did Rubin post?

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | March 4, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer's posts generally follow this logic: "Obama is wrong." This often will lead to columns that are at best, philosophically inconsistent.

As was noted, she'll cheer on budget cuts, then advocate for an expensive military intervention without any acknowledgment of the costs, any explanation as to where the money will come from to fund her jaunt, or what will happen if the intervention does not go as she imagines it will.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 4, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Libya is undergoing a revolution or civil war. Pick your term. And the United States should intervene why exactly?

Posted by: steveh46 | March 4, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Libya is undergoing a revolution/civil war. Take your pick. And the United States should intervene why exactly?

Posted by: steveh46 | March 4, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The only place where intervention of the US might help is in Iran. But this is exactly the place where not the press nor the politicians show any interest.
The opposition leaders have disappeared, and no one in the world cares to find out what happened.

Posted by: Orientalist | March 4, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"As was noted, she'll cheer on budget cuts, then advocate for an expensive military intervention without any acknowledgment of the costs, any explanation as to where the money will come from to fund her jaunt, or what will happen if the intervention does not go as she imagines it will."

mustangs79, What is little understood by the Left, and even much of the Right, is that $1 of military spending today may well prevent $10 of military spending tomorrow. A big example being the Europeans after WWI. They drew down their militaries thinking all was just fine, and then they're in a very costly WWII. If they had kept a strong military and had the tangible armor to back up a rhetorical stand against Hitler early on, WWII most likely never would have come about. How much money would that have saved (never mind the lives saved)?

If we spend a few dollars today and somehow manage to get Qaddafi out of there and possibly help midwife a democracy in Libya, how much money will that save us in the long term? We'd have the good will of millions of Libyans and maybe a future ally that's not a state sponsor of terror. While we can't be sure of how developments will play out right now, but if things go the right way, that's a pretty good bang for our buck if you ask me.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | March 4, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Richie, didn't we just hear the Right spend much of the post-SOTU period decrying the Presidenty use the term "investment" with regard to government spending, and that we didn't have money for such? Yet you just went and basically adopted it hook, line, and sinker. What part of Speaker Boehner's "we're broke" do you not understand?

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | March 4, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I acknowledge that Obama is a dithering nitwit but i don't want him to intervene in Libya or anywhere else. I'd rather that he did what he promised and get us out of the middle east altogether.

Posted by: usr105 | March 4, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

RitchieEmmons... you just don't get it. War isn't an investment, it's an expense. Invading countries in the middle east hasn't brought us any friends but it has cost us dearly in the wasted lives of our dead and maimed service men and women and our countries tresaury. The cost of two wars has bankrupt our nation and you want to invade a third. That is just plain stupid!

Posted by: enazster666 | March 4, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Richie, didn't we just hear the Right spend much of the post-SOTU period decrying the Presidenty use the term "investment" with regard to government spending, and that we didn't have money for such? Yet you just went and basically adopted it hook, line, and sinker. What part of Speaker Boehner's "we're broke" do you not understand?

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse"

What part of "$1 spent today may save us $10 spent tomorrow" did you not understand?

"RitchieEmmons... you just don't get it. War isn't an investment, it's an expense. Invading countries in the middle east hasn't brought us any friends but it has cost us dearly in the wasted lives of our dead and maimed service men and women and our countries tresaury. The cost of two wars has bankrupt our nation and you want to invade a third. That is just plain stupid!

Posted by: enazster666"

The cost of two wars has not bankrupt this nation. Unsustainable entitlements are bankrupting this nation. Did WWII bankrupt us? Vietnam? Korea? Also, who said anything about "invading another country?" Don't assume that I'm proposing such a thing. I'm talking about possibly a no-fly zone and rhetorical and material support for democratic reformers there. Not boots on the ground.

Would you consider the Marshall Plan an "investment" or an "expense?" That's the nature of what I support (although not on the same relative scale obviously). It's hard to argue that the MP wasn't a good investment for this nation. Or do I just "not get it?"

Some people would rather we become Fortress America. They don't understand that an inward looking America will leave the rest of the world to the mercies of a China, Iran, Russia, etc.... In our global market, that portends bad news for our economy when bad actors, for example, shut down the Straight Of Hormuz. Besides, an isolationist America isn't going to happen anyway.

More over, there are those whose only concern seems to be the fiscal condition of America. That's fine. However, I'm also concerned about the *idea* of America. This country has been a beacon of hope for millions across the world. A moral force to be looked up to. How many people illegally cross the border to live in Russia? How long is the waiting list for foreign people to get visas and become citizens of China? Why did the USSR so crave legitimacy from America, and why did they go bezerk when Reagan made the "evil empire" remark?

With Obama's tepid reactions to what's going on in the ME, his serial apologies for our alleged felonies, his unwillingness to truly stand up for the values that have over a couple centuries made this country great - it all conspires to make us not much different than some declining European country. Reduced to just an equal amonsgt other equals. I, for one, choose to decline that offer.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | March 4, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Richie believes spending money on things he likes is an investment, but spending money on things he doesn't like will lead to bankruptcy. Can't argue with that logic.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | March 4, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Richie believes spending money on things he likes is an investment, but spending money on things he doesn't like will lead to bankruptcy. Can't argue with that logic.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse"

How trite. I wasn't the one who introduced the "investment" angle. The things "I like" to spend money on are things that are not perenially expanding entitlements that not only will bankrupt the nation, but also increasingly turns us into a nanny state. Some foreign aid to Middle East reformers falls well outside that category.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | March 4, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Richie your first post may not have used the term "investment" but it basically said the same thing. Stay off the internet if you are going to pick fights your are not prepared to follow through on.

Posted by: eerock | March 4, 2011 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Most of my friends have conflicting thoughts about these Islamic countries who provide most of world's oil. They have oil wealth - but most of them are either 1 religion Islamic kingdoms or are dictatorships. Personally, I would like democratic governments that are multi-religion and (if feasible) multi-ethnic. The other factor is political stability- to keep the gas prices from shooting sky high as they are doing now. I see world keeping their mouths shut about these intolerant islamic countries just so their oil supplies are not disrupted and remains reasonably priced.

Posted by: vk1537 | March 4, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Emon @ Ritchie

you're just talking a lot of enthusiasm, if you want the war in Libya, then engage you in the army there is a lack of field staff. the Pentagon has not explained exclusion zone without bombarding the Libyan air defense (they are French and therefore excellent). without sending the boots on the ground never allowed to establish democracy you please wake up, not even once in history. stop believing that America can do everything: war in Iraq to Afghanistan in Libya and Iran tomorrow? you are hallucinating you can not even finish afghanistan, and you want open 10 other fronts?

Posted by: RAYAN123 | March 5, 2011 7:02 AM | Report abuse

The US should intervene for precisely the same supposely reason the US went into Iraq..because it is the moral thing to do!
Only this time, it really is the RIGHT thing to do!
Don't forget that Gaddafi was responsible for blowing up a plane, and in the terrorist act that killed our servicemen!
If this is not a time to intervene, then it never will be anywhere else!
I voted for Obama, but this is where he needs to show some GUTS! Just preaching that Gaddafi needs to go isn't going to do it.
All the US has to do is provide air coverage. We won't need to send our troops in.

Posted by: ge205 | March 5, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

One million foreign migrant workers are still trapped inside Libya, and those from Sub-Saharan Africa may be the first actual massacre, since Libya's opposition thinks anyone from Sub-Saharan Africa is one of Qadhafi's mercenaries.

The dithering over whether UNSecCouncil approval is needed for any military intervention is showing the impotence of multi-lateralism.

More people are dying and disappearing in Libya than in Cote D'Ivoire, the truly blatant example of the failure of the United Nations to even insure the peaceful transfer of power after valid elections, even with armed 'blue hats' in place.

Did not Qadhafi also mentor/finance genocidal Charles Taylor's adventures in Sierra Leone and Liberia?

Perhaps next time voters will consider that the primary job description of the American President is Commander in Chief, not transnational apologist for imperialism that ended before he was born.

Posted by: K2K2 | March 5, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse


US SHALL ASK UNBREAKABLE BOND ISRAEL FOR CHEAP OIL IF ANY...INSTEAD OF TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SITUATION IN LIBYA FOR CHEAP OIL.

IF LIBYA HAD SOME NUKES THEN US WOULD NOT DARE MILITARY INTERFERENCE IN LIBYA LIKE IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.
NUCLEAR NON PROLIFERATION TREATY IS NONSENSE, ONLY TO MAKE SOME COUNTRIES DEFENSELESS LIKE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.

WHITE HOUSE SUPPORT FOR MIDDLE EAST ‘UPRISINGS’ DEPENDS ON HOW AND WHETHER THEY CAN BE USED AGAINST IRAN (US AGENDA)
by Flynt Leverett & Hillary Mann Leverett (source: Race for Iran )
Sunday, February 20, 2011
http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/11309

IF YOU LOOK AT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STAFFERS CLOSELY, YOU WILL SEE MOSTLY THEY ARE STAUNCH ZIONIST SUPPORTERS.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration

Obama with a muslim father is only a zionist puppet figure, a decoy to deceive the muslim world with his speeches.
ISLAMOPHOBIA IS VERY SEVERE IN US, Muslims sue FBI for alleged First Amendment violation
http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/02/23/muslims-sue-fbi-alleged-first-amendment-violations/,
Muslim Student files lawsuit over FBI's GPS tracking
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g-9U2zqfvOfzz-h95k2eCA4C9OHQ?docId=2e0dc1708a774bc88324e1da1309b203

Posted by: jemal56 | March 6, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ge205 | March 5, 2011 9:50 AM

The US should intervene for precisely the same supposely reason the US went into Iraq..because it is the moral thing to do!

______________________________________

Actually it was the wrong thing to do, but it was Iran's dream come true. Those who pushed for the Iraq war were the same people who embraced Gadaffi as an example of the benefits the Iraq war produced - evidently, there were slim picking in that regard, so they settled foe what they could get.


"Don't forget that Gaddafi was responsible for blowing up a plane, and in the terrorist act that killed our servicemen!"

That was long before Bush and the necons forgave all and embraced him as a good tyrant.

"All the US has to do is provide air coverage. We won't need to send our troops in."

Yeah sure. Didn't they say the Iraq war was going to be won from the air too?

Posted by: Shingo1 | March 6, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 4, 2011 1:57 PM

As was noted, she'll cheer on budget cuts, then advocate for an expensive military intervention without any acknowledgment of the costs, any explanation as to where the money will come from to fund her jaunt, or what will happen if the intervention does not go as she imagines it will.

_______________________________________
Being a neocon means never having to admit you're wrong, let alone face accountability.

I heard Jennifer on a podcaat over the weekend (Left, Right and Centre) and she provided come comic relief. When one of the panelists, Robert Sheer argued that imposing a no fly zone would require ground troops, Jennifer made the curious argument that the US was able to impose a no fly zone in Iraq without n invasion. Apparently she was in a coma throughout Desert Storm.

She then went on to argue that the recons are the only people with any concern for the lives of Libyans. She seemed oblivious to the fact that the only time necons ever show concern of Muslims is when they want to sell a war to the public. As we witnessed with Iraq, that concern is quickly dispelled once the war is under way, and lives become collateral damage - the eggs that must be broken to make the om;et.

Posted by: Shingo1 | March 6, 2011 10:34 PM | Report abuse

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