The madness continues in Libya, and regarding Libya. It’s no kind of war at all, says President Obama. The American military activity he has authorized in Libya doesn’t come under the purview of the War Powers Resolution, and therefore doesn’t require the approval of the U.S. Congress, because …
U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof.
See: U.S. forces might have bombed and shot at Libyans quite a bit early on, and may potentially do so again if circumstances demand it, but Col. Gaddafi and his forces understand that it’s just not appropriate to shoot back, and actually injuring or killing any Americans engaged in this operation against them would be a completely unacceptable faux pas. Therefore, no war. Continue reading “Libya: What kind of damned war is this?”
Robert Gates, who just visited Egypt and from there stopped in Israel, has made a number of pointed but quite well thought-out statements regarding the current unprecedented upheavals in the Middle East. With regard to Syria, where dozens of demonstrators have been killed by Bashar Assad’s security forces, Gates said: Continue reading “President Robert Gates speaks on Middle East”
Rewinding a few weeks, President Obama had a decision to make in response to the attempted revolution in Libya. He could have said, “We watch events with concern. We will use all the diplomatic and economic means at our disposal to influence the situation, but (let me be clear!) this is not a case where U.S. military power will be used.” There’s a strong argument to be made that that would have been the correct approach. After all, U.S. forces are fighting in Afghanistan, are still in harm’s way in Iraq, and have been in action against al-Qaeda types with varying degrees of secrecy in other locales, including East Africa and Yemen. North Korea continues to represent a potential war that might explode at any minute; and then there are all the humanitarian missions the U.S. military is performing, and so on. In other words, there were very good reasons for Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be extremely reluctant to get U.S. forces engaged in Libya at all. Continue reading “Obama’s calibration on Gaddafi and Libya”
Now, I know that Randy Newman is some kind of darned liberal, and (based on media reports I’ve seen) was quite recently in possession of a very fine case of Bush Derangement Syndrome. I don’t like him for his politics, but I do genuinely enjoy his artful and ironic way with a song. And all I know is that his song Mr. President (written around 1974, but with something of an aura of 1934) has never been a more relevant and sharply-aimed arrow than it is at this very moment. Today, President Barack Obama, in the face of so much incredulity — on both sides of the aisle, mind you — and in the face of so much frustration on the part of average Americans, continues to pursue his ideological goal of getting the hands of the federal government firmly around the U.S. health-care system. On this particular day he is doing it by means of a televised “summit” with Democrats and Republicans from Congress, as if all of the issues have not had more than their due airing over the past 13 months and more; as if he has just not had sufficient time to make his arguments. He persists in this vein while the U.S economy continues to descend in its death spiral, with real working Americans (and once working Americans) continuing to suffer in ever greater numbers, and with no real recovery even in sight. Continue reading “Mr. President (Obama): Have Pity On The Working Man”