‘why obama is taking his time deciding what to do about Libya’

Fred Kaplan (Slate): Is President Obama dithering over Libya? In the past week or so, a diverse array of commentators — Republican hawks, the usual neocons, and some normally gun-shy Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry — has called on Obama to take action now. Some have charged Obama with queasiness or lack of principles for not charging the ramparts from the get-go. But one can imagine several very good reasons for the president’s … let’s call it caution.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have been outspokenly leery of military options. Some scoff at their hesitation, and it is true that, for the past 40 years, U.S. military leaders have tended, more than many of their civilian bosses, to warn of war’s risks. The thing is, they often do know what they’re talking about.

Take the most popular proposal on the table, the imposition of a no-fly zone over at least parts of Libya, to prevent Moammar Qaddafi’s pilots from bombing or strafing the rebels fighting for his overthrow. As Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the JCS chairman, have said, a no-fly zone is no small matter. It is, for one thing, an act of war and therefore prompts the question: Do you really want to get into this? Do you want to get into another war in another Muslim country in the Middle East?

Leon Wieseltier recently wrote in the New Republic, “I do not see a Middle East rising up in anger at the prospect of American intervention.” Oh, really. Where did we last see that degree of blitheness?

Full article here

30 Responses to “‘why obama is taking his time deciding what to do about Libya’”

  1. 1 Hachikō
    March 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Why should he take his time? It’s only a third American war in the middle east. What’s the big deal?

  2. 2 Ladyhawke
    March 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has a very thoughtful post on this same topic today entitled “The Chorus for War”. It really is unseemly to hear the number of people chomping at the bit for the no-fly zone. This includes the White House and State Department press corps who seem to be obsessed with the no-fly zone and why it hasn’t happened yet. The smarmy Jake Tapper wanted to know how many Libyans had to die before the no-fly zone would be implemented.

    The implications of the no-fly zone are enormous, and I for one am glad that President Obama is weighing his options carefully and coordinating any actions with the international community. I guess the folks calling for the quick no-fly zone wish we had a cowboy in the White House.

    ——Josh Marshall “The Chorus For War”———————————
    I sit at my desk every morning listening to the sounds of cable television in the air. Now a lot of it is about Libya. And I’m just blown away by the constant, almost unanimous chorus in favor of some sort of active, military involvement in the country. At this moment, I’m listening to some person say that it just doesn’t make sense — that it’s inconsistent — for the President to announce that it is our national policy that Qaddafi should leave and yet not take military steps to make that happen. I’ve also heard numerous voices arguing that we ‘didn’t act’ in the Balkans and then didn’t act in Rwanda and that we should not make the same mistake today.
    I have to confess that the sanest voice I’ve heard on this whole matter has been Secretary Gates saying that a “no fly zone” is not a video game. It’s not a joke. It begins, necessarily, with a series of debilitating attacks on a country’s military installations and anti-aircraft defenses to remove the opposing military’s ability to threaten your planes. That’s an act of war. Taking over a country’s airspace is an act of war.


  3. 3 Jessica
    March 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I agree we should not get to heavily involved. Americans don’t want it (don’t care how many specials Andersen does) Gates and Obama know this. Another military intervention would be disastrous in this economy. I say we try to be as diplomatic as possible and use military strategies without sending troops and dropping bombs.

    • 4 Dorothy Rissman
      March 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      I am glad that PBO is taking his time on this. I think part of the problem is that he wants to stop this idea of America being the country who has to be responsible for and lead on any kind of international problem. Obama has, since the beginning, wanted to begin to work with the middle east, not against it. Not to impose our heavy hand on the rest of the world.

  4. 6 Andogriff
    March 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Amen Ladyhawke and Jessica…. I for one am very happy we have a thoughtful, intelligent and deliberate president at the helm during this crisis, and NOT another quick-on-the-trigger cowboy!!

  5. 7 Me4obama
    March 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Chipsticks can please show us that teary testimony of a Muslim congressman from minnesota. When u find time please.

  6. 9 Me4obama
    March 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I mean’t can u please! Sorry for the typo.

  7. 10 P
    March 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I am not an American but I think Obama should stay out of this one! Maybe someone could educate me more but I feel that way now?

    • 11 EDP4BHO
      March 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      For my money, he’d better stay out of it. Otherwise, he would be digging a grave, much to the applause of rethugs. No more war! Of course, I expect he will do the correct thing. No doubt.

      • 12 P
        March 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm

        Glad you feel the same way! I think Libya should and could handle this well for now at least it ain’t that hard!!

    • 13 Dorothy Rissman
      March 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      Hello P. President Obama has always believed we can’t and should not be the policemen of the world. Our past actions have created a lot of anger in Africa and the Middle East. Fortunately PBO is being very cautious on this issue.

      Obama will not be bullied into making a decision. He will act when he feels it is time to do so. I personally do not think he will send troops in. We are already so disliked in that part of the world, it would only create more damage to our image as war mongers.

      • 14 P
        March 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        HI Dorothy! I know Obama is not a man who likes wars and won’t rush into it! I hope they would stop pressuring him into believing America needs to step in and yes it will make America’s reputation worst! I personally dislikes wars with a capital D! I am glad Americans feel the same way as myself and hope the President will listen to the ppl!

        • 15 Dorothy Rissman
          March 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

          P, thank you for responding. Above I just posted above an excellent article from the Washington Post that that presents the overview of Obama international involved and what he is trying to accomplish. It is very good reading. dr

          • 16 P
            March 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm

            Yea no problem. I read the article and I am very please with my President! It is such a shame how these Republicans are calling him weak for not intervening!! Why the first thing for so many of our leaders is WAR?? why can’t we look for another solution?? There is enough war going on we don’t need another one! HOLD FIRM MR PRESIDENT!

            • 17 Dorothy Rissman
              March 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm

              I agree. It is always about the swagger, because if you don;t swagger than you are a coward. Somebody save me from this cowboy mythology.

  8. 18 Perry
    March 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Just once its nice not to hear “Death to America” in a conflict oversees….sorry thats the way I feel about this Libya thing right now

  9. 19 Proud of Obama
    March 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I am so proud that he is standing his ground and not allowing the likes of McCain, Lieberman, Graham and the other fools to push him into another war. These same idiots are yelling why are we still in Afghan. Idiots. And they’re only doing this as a way to bash the President. They don’t give a damn about the Libyan rebels. Not a damn. It’s just another way of attacking him. If he were to go in, they’d attack that. I’m sorry, but I literally hate them.

    • 20 EDP4BHO
      March 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      We are supposed to hate evil, and revere good. No need to apologize. If those people want to do evil, they also have the scorn of the Creator. I think POTUS and like-minded folk have the Creator’s blessing. Despite the war in Afghanistan (there have always been wars, justified or not), he is trying to curb the nation’s appetite for war and conflict. Funny, these same people only seem to call for war against non-white populations. Racist?

  10. 21 lisa
    March 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Ugh. Do you ever wish America was a huge fighter jet with alot of seats that were ejectable? And that every talking head and PL and conservative writer were all sitting in one row? And that all you as the pilot had to do was press a button to open the roof? And then everytime one of the PL or crazy conservatives got out of line, all you have to do is clutch a lever and eject that entire row? Wow…..I’m just saying. This morning all the PL were talking about were how Obama was “dithering” and how he should create a no fly zone. I love how these so called pacifists, who hate the wars in the middle east, have no problem starting another war in Africa. They have no concept of what a no fly zone entails and even when they are told by Bob Gates and Admiral Mullen, they willfully ignore it and just want the president to act. Right now my hands are on the lever and its just itching to pull back and let loose.
    p.s- this post in no way advocates the perpetuation of violence on anyone whether or not we believe they are wrong, evil or just plain stupid. It’s a nice imagery I like to rely on as it helps to keep my blood pressure in check. It’s just a sad fact of life that sometimes we are surrounded by idiots or duplicitous people, it’s up to us, the reasonable people to fight with our ballots and prosocial behaviors to confront these injustices and help to get our country back on the right track. Ugh. It’s very tiring being reasonable and adult 😕

  11. 24 cat48
    March 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I think we should help the Libyan Rebels–just as soon as we can afford the WIC program, Head Start, Planned Parenthood, Special Olympics, and all the other social funding the Goopers are trying to cut; also everyone who wants a job is able to find one; also, no entitlements cut; because WE’RE BROKE! Since, WE’RE BROKE, we all have to tighten our belts (I’ve been told by the corporate media we must have AUSTERITY NOW!) and the prez must lead NOW; because the debt is HUGE! As soon as the Rethugs pass a huge tax increase with several brackets specifically for the Rich and pay down the debt/deficit and shore up entitlements, then we’ll *discuss* an Act of War on a sovereign country. No one has attacked our country, except for the Gooopers’ Culture War on the Middle Class, the Poor and the War on Unions.

    Sorry for the rant folks, *depressed* today 😦

    • 25 barb
      March 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      Amen, dat48. I know where you are coming from. You make a very good point. It’s time to help our own Nation. Just keeping on having faith in our President and let the rest take care of itself. He needs a strong current of love holding his back.

    • 26 Audrey
      March 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Amen, Cat!

      The very same republicans who want cuts in education, healthcare, public radio,basic services and benefits for hardworking middle class because we are “broke” want us to go into yet another trillion dollar debt on borrowed money to send Ghaddafi a message!
      Americans are nuts to support anything or anyone who identifies as republican!

  12. 27 barb
    March 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I trust President Obsama and Gates. Whenever anything like this happens everone looks at us. Well it is my opinion that it’s time to change the picture. We have already placed ourselves as decision maker in these last two wars and I believe it is time to sit this one out. We are not the only country in this world. I believe that we are involved to a certain extent but it’s time for other countries to step up to the plate with us as backup. This seems to be Obama leadership style to bring in all nations. Britian and France have been very involved. They have closer ties to Liyba.

    From BBC which is ontop of reporting every day on the ground
    2030: The White House also says it is in direct contact with rebel groups. This from spokesman Jay Carney: “We are still engaged in the process of assessing those groups, the council and other individuals, to find out what their vision is, who they represent, what their ideas are and where they would take Libya in a post-Gaddafi future. But we are very engaged in that process.”
    2026: The White House says it will shortly send disaster relief teams into eastern Libya.


    There is no place in my heart for these quasi msm media type know it alls.
    I do know that rebels against Quadafi have repeatedly ask for no foreigh ground troups. More recently they are asking for a no-fly zone. As Jay Carney has said, we need to know who is in charge if anyone before we act. Disaster relief and Humanitarian Human Rights figures also need to see what is going on. I know that the reporters on the ground have been taken captive, beaten and abused with false executions using live amunition shot next to their ears.

    I keep President Obama in my thoughts and prayers because he needs a lot of positive energy flowing his way. Bless him.

  13. 28 Sue in Minnesota
    March 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    America should lead by example, not by force. Stay the course Mr. President, I trust you will make the best decision at the appropriate time.

  14. 29 Shirley
    March 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Amen, Amen, and Amen! I agree totally, as a matter of fact, I’ve been dwelling on Psalms 27:14, and praying that President Obama dwells on Psalm 27:14 also. Which simply says “Wait On the Lord, Wait I say, on the Lord”. We’re not Policemen, and yes, I pray for the Libyans too, my heart goes out to them. Look at the mess we In now???? Does It look like we need to engage In another war????? We broke now. Yeah, I agree with Secretary Gates, we need another war, like we need a hole In our head.

  15. 30 Titti
    March 11, 2011 at 6:23 am

    “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. The world doesn’t need another war; this is a job for the UN and NATO not the USA alone. I pray that the Lord gives him the wisdom of Solomon.

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