Lead, follow, or get out of the way
February 18, 2015 by Thomas Wictor
The United States is finally seeing the fruits of our government’s fecklessness. We act in the interest of our national security, and so do other nations. Since the current administration has decided to neither lead nor follow, it’s time for the US to get out of the way.
Hand in hand with indecisiveness comes a refusal to relinquish responsibility. The person who simply sits there doing nothing ALWAYS resents it when others step up. Now that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have begun bombing Islamic State targets in Libya, the Pentagon is upset.
The United States does not support Egyptian and Emirati airstrikes against Islamist militias in Libya because the U.S. believes the crisis in Libya must be resolved politically and without outside interference, a Department of Defense spokesman said Tuesday.
Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrying out airstrikes in Libya was different from U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant forces in Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told a briefing, because the U.S. was acting in Iraq, in a “very targeted” manner, at the request of its government.
“This wasn’t some unilateral decision by the United States to strike targets inside Iraq.”
“We discourage other nations from taking a part in Libya’s issues through violence,” Kirby said. “We want the issues solved in Libya to be done peacefully and through good governance and politics and not violence.”
This is utter hogwash. THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT IN LIBYA. That’s why the Islamic State is operating there.
Libya has descended into factional fighting, leaving the country almost lawless nearly four years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Two competing governments backed by militia brigades are scrambling for control of the oil-producing country and the chaos has created havens for Islamist militants.
The Security Council met to discuss Libya after Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. Egypt responded to the killings with air strikes on Monday on militant camps, training sites and arms storage areas in Libya.
No rational person would object to Egypt and the UAE destroying terrorist camps, training sites, and weapons depots. Egyptian and Emirati jets also bombed the houses of Islamic State leaders.
The reason the Pentagon has been reduced to mouthing inanities is the rigidity of President Obama. He lacks the fortitude to solve the problem of the Islamic State, but he also can’t abide others deciding to tackle the issue themselves. It makes him look like the irrelevant poseur he is. The narrative is that President Obama is the smartest man in the world, and he’s deliberating behind closed doors, crafting the perfect solution with his mighty brain.
No. This is what he’s doing.
Libya is a mess because of a woman named Samantha Power.
Though currently the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Power was Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council from 2008 to 2013. She’s President Obama’s biggest influence in terms of foreign policy. Her hobbyhorse is genocide, so much so that she refers to herself as “the genocide chick.”
Power has long urged the US to formally adopt a policy known as “responsibility to protect” (R2P). It requires nations to intervene militarily when other governments commit genocide or mass atrocities. On March 19, 2011, a coalition of eighteen nations bombed Libya and inserted special forces to train and fight with the rebels rising up against dictator Muammar Ghaddafi. The Americans called this mission Operation Odyssey Dawn.
President Obama didn’t get a congressional authorization for use of military force (AUMF) because the Office of Legal Council (OLC) decided that bombing Libya and inserting special forces was not a war.
In our view, determining whether a particular planned engagement constitutes a “war” for constitutional purposes instead requires a fact-specific assessment of the “anticipated nature, scope, and duration” of the planned military operations. Haiti Deployment, 18 Op. O.L.C. at 179. This standard generally will be satisfied only by prolonged and substantial military engagements, typically involving exposure of U.S. military personnel to significant risk over a substantial period.
In this first R2P conflict, Ghaddafi was overthrown, and rebels captured and killed him killed on October 20, 2011. That was the end of American intervention in Libya. The fatal flaw in R2P is that it doesn’t require the nations that overthrow a government to then stabilize the country. As a result, Libya has descended into civil war and become fertile ground for the Islamic State.
Samantha Power is an academic. Her ideas sound great on paper, but they don’t work. Academics tend to look down on the military as knuckle-dragging idiots. Well, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder was far more grounded in reality than Samantha Power.
The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon’s saying: “I have never had a plan of operations.” Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.
This is usually paraphrased as “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
The notion of Responsibility to Protect doesn’t survive its implementation. What’s supposed to happen is that after you overthrow the dictator, all the formerly oppressed people get together, hold hands, and create utopia. The first thing the newly liberated Libyans did was round up all the black people and kill as many of them as they could.
I fully support any military action any nation takes against the Islamic State. Currently the US is paralyzed, so we need to let the grownups handle world affairs. People ask me if I think the Middle East can defeat the Islamic State.
Absolutely. It can also defeat Iran. My advice is to read the best war-spy-thriller novel ever written, The Fist of God, by Frederick Forsyth. It’s about Project Babylon, the Iraqi superguns. These were giant cannons that could’ve fired weapons into space or delivered nuclear shells onto any country in the region.
The Fist of God shows how Israel will defeat Iran. I have no doubt that it’ll happen the way Forsyth envisions.
Just one hint: In the Middle East, anything can bought if the price is right.
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