America’s first tourist appears AWOL on Libyan crisis
The Libyan crisis has taken a toll on our president as Wednesday he was forced to cut his vacation ... I mean junket, er ... escape ... OK, diplomatic mission — that’s the ticket — short to be briefed on the situation.
Certainly no one would begrudge a man who spent an entire week getting his NCAA bracket picks together a little time off for salsa dancing in Rio de Janeiro and some kickball (mistakenly referred to as football within Europe) in Chile.
However, sometimes duty calls even America’s duly elected Tourist of the United States (TOTUS). It seems a shame to criticize a person who has finally found his calling in life as the world’s most expensive vagabond. The fly in the ointment is he’s supposed to be running the foreign policy of the United States.
The fact is the president has spent more time lollygagging around the world when the going gets tough than he has spent recuperating from his travels on the golf course. Sadly for members of our armed services, between the NCAA bracket picks and the trip to Rio, the president has entered this country in a third war.
Not surprisingly, considering our foreign policy over the last two years, the attack seems to have no definable mission or concrete goal. The president has used his unique oratory to define what he apparently believes is the alpha and omega of the mission when he originally said — president slightly elevates head, looks at right teleprompter “Gadhafi,” turns head to left teleprompter, “must go.” Fantastic and this is the guy who criticized George Bush for not having an exit strategy.
This sort of speaking in the imperial voice is a common practice from a president who seems to be taking on the attributes of a Bourbon. I don’t mean the aged in Kentucky oak barrels kind of Bourbon but the court of Versailles, Hall of Mirrors kind of Bourbon who thinks just by saying things, they will happen.
He also oddly seems to assume no one remembers his past comments about such adventures, but strangely enough Democrat Congressman Dennis Kucinich does. He quotes then Sen. Obama in 2007, referencing George Bush’s policies in the Middle East as saying, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Obama also indicated in 2007 that humanitarian issues alone did not justify military intervention, so if these positions are true, what are we doing in Libya?
This doesn’t mean Gadhafi shouldn’t be bundled up by a SEAL team and plunked into Gitmo for terrorism charges, but why are we taking the operational lead with a coalition in such disarray no one wants to be in charge. Now that the situation is escalating all out of proportion, the suggestion has been made by the French that the military function be run by a committee. Yes, that’s how all great military operations have been rendered successful — by a committee — suggested by the French.
What started as a “no-fly zone” to protect the rebel forces from Gadhafi’s use of air power and possibly chemical weapons has now expanded into what liberal columnist Michael Kinsley refers to as a “no-breathe zone,” with coalition forces attacking targets on the ground around the capital.
Then there’s this problem: Just who are the rebels we’re protecting? The answer seems to be a lot of folks from an area known to be overflowing with anti-American zealotry, which explains why Iran and one can suppose terrorist organizations are pleased with our attempted removal of the thuggish but secular Gadhafi, to be replaced by — we have no idea.
The most immediate need is for the president to get himself home and make a case to the American people for why we struck in Libya and the nature of our ultimate goal. Then, he might try consulting with Congress a bit, something he believed the president should do when he was in Congress, instead of the UN. Members of Congress may not be the brightest bulbs, but at least they’re our bulbs.
Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.