“All attacks against civilians must stop,”
“Gaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zawiyah, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya …
“Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable … If Gaddafi does not comply … the resolution will be enforced through military action.”
President Barack Obama Friday, March 18, 2011
There are many words one can use to describe President Obama. “Strong, decisive leader” are not three of them. The current situation in Libya shows clearly the President’s weakness at the helm.
Had President Obama acted timely and with the same determination presented by candidate Obama, Colonel Gaddafi would today be deposed or deceased and Libya would be at most, a follow up on page three of the local paper.
Had the promoter of hope and change shown more Reagan and less Carter, he would have seized the opportunity to strike, literally, while the Libyan uprising was moving forward.
If Obama led instead of followed, the US along with France, Britain and any other countries that cared to contribute, would have taken out Libyan radar sites, destroyed Gaddafi’s air force, bombed his runways and military installations and disabled anything on the ground that posed a threat to the Libyan people weeks ago when the time was right. Civilian lives now lost would have been saved. The “rebels”, as they have been labeled, would have been assisted in their march to freedom from Gaddafi, and all of this would have been achieved by seizing the moment and establishing the much talked about and much delayed no fly zone. The concern over American boots on the ground would have been muted.
The Libyian tea leaves were such an easy read. A blind man could have seen the future. Who could fail to recognize that Gaddafi, left unchecked, would attack his own countrymen? Obama knew the obvious. He was just too inexperienced and too low on cojones to stand firm and lead.
The office of American President requires the holder to show strength and foresight. The world, friend and foe alike, looks for and used to expect these qualities from the US Commander In Chief. They provide reassurance to allies and reason for pause to the enemy. When the US President is seen to be hesitant and unsure about his responses, a domino effect ripples throughout the world. Those who should worry about their safety don’t. Tyrants such as Kim Jung Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mad Dog Gaddafi, are emboldened knowing that America’s bark is far worse than it’s bite.
While not everyone agrees with US involvement in another military action, the fact remains that a no fly zone and a steady stream of well placed missiles was all that was required. The “rebels” were already in place and taking action. They were advancing and, with help from air strikes, could have been left to fight and complete their own battle. Supplying them with munitions would have been a smart decision too.
Some have rightly asked who the rebels are. The truth is we don’t fully know. The current issue though was the protection of vulnerable civilians from their lunatic leader.
Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters (US Army, retired), a frequent contributor to the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post and Newsweek, along with other print and electronic media, mentioned recently in a Fox News interview, an old military saying –
“Perfect is the enemy of good enough”.
In Libya, Barack Obama was looking for the perfect scenario for the wrong reasons. All he needed was good enough. He let it slip away. That mistake would not be made by a strong, decisive leader.