Confession time. I didn’t bother to watch the President’s address to the nation about the Libya
war kinetic military action time-limited, scope-limited action thingy. Really, why bother? We all know that BigO is the Teleprompter President. I can read exactly what the teleprompter told him to say afterwards and spend the time doing more important things, like adding to my lint collection, or playing Fluffy on facebook. But as I read the speech to my hubby, I couldn’t help but add my own asides, so here it is, my reaction to the President’s declaration of … whatever the heck he’s calling it today. My comments will be in bold. If you don’t want to go through the whole thing – Man, this guy just doesn’t know when to shut up! – Just skip to bottom of the page for my analysis.
The President’s Address to the Nation on Libya – As Prepared for Delivery
National Defense University
March 28, 2011
Good evening. Tonight, I’d *Drink!* like to update the American people on the international effort that we have led in Libya – what we have done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us. Yea. 9 days AFTER you started this war, oh, I mean “kinetic military action.” WTG Dude. This is #Winning! The Charlie Sheen way. Ugh.
I*Drink!* want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform who, once again, have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism. Damn straight. Our servicemen & women are the best of the best. They have moved with incredible speed and strength. Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved. Meanwhile, as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda around the globe. Except in Libya, where we are helping them. SMH. As Commander-in-Chief, I*Drink!* am grateful to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families, as are all Americans.
For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and advocate for human freedom. Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. What interests? Explain this please? That is what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.
Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt – two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant – Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world – including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.
Last month, Gaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”
Faced with this opposition, Gaddafi began attacking his people. Once people pick up arms against their government, they are no longer ‘innocent civilians’, they are now a rebel militia. As President, my*Drink!* immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our Embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. We then took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Gaddafi’s aggression. Yea, by renting a tiny ferry that wasn’t capable of traversing the rough waters that day and had to wait in port in Tripoli for a few days until the oceans calmed enough for it to leave port. #Winning! We froze more than $33 billion of the Gaddafi regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Gaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I*Drink!* made it clear that Gaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I*Drink!* said that he needed to step down from power. Yea, only AFTER his own airforce started defecting to Europe and Hillary twisted your arm about it.
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Gaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Again, once people pick up arms against their government, they are not ‘innocent’. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. The water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misratah was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assault from the air.
Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I*Drink!* ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition, and the Arab League, appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. At my*Drink!* direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass an historic Resolution that authorized a No Fly Zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.
Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Gaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear. You know, maybe it’s just me, but if I’m living in a place like Libya, and the dude down the street picks up a weapon and picks a fight with the Govt, I’d think that would be a good time to leave town.
At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. Why? Why should this “stain the conscience of the world”? It’s a civil war. I don’t get why we need to interfere.
It was not in our national interest to let that happen. Why? Explain, please. I*Drink!* refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I*Drink!* authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973. We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Gaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit his air defenses, which paved the way for a No Fly Zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I*Drink!* can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance. So, basically, we did to Gaddafi that which we accused him of doing to the rebels. Why? To make it a fair fight? Then say that man!
In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. If by ‘growing’ you mean shrinking. The Arab league is not pleased about the civilian deaths during the bombing. This includes our closest allies – nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey – all of whom have fought by our side for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibility to defend the Libyan people. Actually, this is about European oil supplies, but he won’t say that.
To summarize, then: in just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a No Fly Zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. Yea, do you know why it took so long for us to intervene in Bosnia? I mean besides the fact that then Pres. Clinton was too busy with the interns to pay attention to world affairs. It’s because Bosnia doesn’t supply Europe with oil! That’s why the UN drug it’s feet over Bosnia, but was real quick to smack down Gaddafi.
Moreover, we have accomplished these objectives consistent with the pledge that I*Drink!* made to the American people at the outset of our military operations. I*Drink!* said that America’s role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya; that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation, and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners. Tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge.
Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and No Fly Zone. Last night, NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians. This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday. Going forward, the lead in enforcing the No Fly Zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I*Drink!* am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Gaddafi’s remaining forces. In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role – including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications. Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation – to our military, and to American taxpayers – will be reduced significantly. So, we’re not leaving Libya. In fact, we’re going to spend more money we don’t have to help NATO, because no one else has the knowledge, or the toys we have. But Sir, you still haven’t defined why this is in our interests!
So for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear*Double!*: the United States of America has done what we said we would do.
That is not to say that our work is complete. Yea, we are still going to be there. This isn’t the simple military equivalent of a hit-and-run his Admin tried to tell us it would be. In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded. We will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Gaddafi regime so that it is available to rebuild Libya. After all, this money does not belong to Gaddafi or to us – it belongs to the Libyan people, and we will make sure they receive it. So, after bombing the heck out of the Gaddafi’s military and doing to him what he’s doing to the rebels, we’re also stealing his cash to hand out as some sort of stimulus to the people of Libya when this is over. Yea, because that stimulus thing worked so well here in the US. /sarc
Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will go to London Anywhere but here, I’m tired of her breaking my bawls over this crap, where she will meet with the Libyan opposition Read: Al Queda & other terrorist groups behind the rebellion and consult with more than thirty nations. These discussions will focus on what kind of political effort is necessary to pressure Gaddafi, while also supporting a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve. Because while our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people. Which is it? Is our objective narrow, or broad? Those are two pretty opposite words there. Also, why is it that Libya demands this action, and not other places where dictatorial leadership is killing off those who dare to protest, like say, Bahrain, Yemen, or even Iran? Why is Libya so special?
Despite the success of our efforts over the past week, I*Drink!* know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya. Gaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Gaddafi does leave power, forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community, and – more importantly – a task for the Libyan people themselves. Wow, this sounds like it’s straight out of one of Bush’s speeches on Iraq.
In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government Iran, anyone?, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home. Like Jobs, economy, jobs, housing bubble bursting again, jobs, whatever happened to his “laser-like focus” on the jobs thing?
It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And we shouldn’t. Sometimes a country needs a civil war to grow and advance. American did not have European help during our civil war. We should NOT interfere in other countries civil wars just because we can. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground. In other words, we’re there to make it a fair fight.
To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action. You mean like you did in Iran, with the slaughter Neda and countless others? Or the slaughter of protesters in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain? Need I go on?
Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful – yet fragile – transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the UN Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I*Drink!* will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I*Drink!* am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America. Like what? Exactly? We are still waiting for an answer to this.
Now, just as there are those who have argued against intervention in Libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Gaddafi and usher in a new government. Wait, now we want to take Gaddafi out? Because before you said that our goal was just to save ‘innocent’ lives. What is the damn goal of this war?
Of course, there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. HA HA! Yea. What are you going to do? Ask him nicely to leave? Good luck with that. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.
The task that I assigned our forces – to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a No Fly Zone – carries with it a UN mandate and international support. So did our mission in Iraq – 17 UN resolutions actually. UN resolutions aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. It is also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do. You mean Al Queda? When did we start taking orders from the enemy? If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. Meaning the Arab League would run the other way. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.
To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about Iraq’s future. But regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. Wrong. Regime Change took about a month or so. It’s the nation building, and protecting the fragile democracy that is taking root there that has taken so long. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.
As the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do – and will do – is support the aspirations of the Libyan people. You mean Al Queda. *sigh* We have intervened to stop a massacre, like we did in Darfur, right? Oh wait…. My bad. and we will work with our allies and partners as they’re in the lead to maintain the safety of civilians. We’re going to let the French take the lead and command our people. Say Wha?? We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supply of cash, assist the opposition, we will do to him what he has done to Al Queda, I mean the rebels and work with other nations to hasten the day when Gaddafi leaves power. It may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened Gaddafi tries desperately to hang on to power. But it should be clear *Double!* to those around Gadaffi, and to every Libyan, that history is not on his side. Why would that be clear to him? He’s been there for 40 years already! With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.
Let me*Drink!* close by addressing what this action says about the use of America’s military power, and America’s broader leadership in the world, under my*Drink!* presidency.
As Commander-in-Chief, I*Drink!* have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe. And no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform. I have made it clear *Double!* that I*Drink!* will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests. That is why we are going after al Qaeda wherever they seek a foothold. Execpt in Libya, where we are helping them take over. That is why we continue to fight in Afghanistan, even as we have ended our combat mission in Iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country.
There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are. So what interests and values are at stake in Libya? You still haven’t told us! Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and common security – responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us, and they are problems worth solving. And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help. Ahh! This is as close to the real reason as he will ever get to admitting – this is all about keeping the oil flowing to Europe.
In such cases, we should not be afraid to act – but the burden of action should not be America’s alone. Yea, because this isn’t about our interests, or even part of the bigger War on Terror. This is about scratching our allies’ backs. As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action.Wait, I thought the French were taking the lead on this. Doesn’t that mean it’s their task to get the international community to act? Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Blame Boosh!! Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all. Um, Bush’s coalition in Iraq was twice the size of your coalition in Libya. Suck on that.
That’s the kind of leadership we have shown in Libya. Of course, even when we act as part of a coalition, the risks of any military action will be high. Those risks were realized when one of our planes malfunctioned over Libya. Yet when one of our airmen parachuted to the ground, in a country whose leader has so often demonized the United States – in a region that has such a difficult history with our country – this American did not find enemies. Instead, he was met by people who embraced him. One young Libyan who came to his aid said, “We are your friends. We are so grateful to these men who are protecting the skies.”
This voice is just one of many in a region where a new generation is refusing to be denied their rights and opportunities any longer. Yes, this change will make the world more complicated for a time. Progress will be uneven, and change will come differently in different countries. There are places, like Egypt, where this change will inspire us and raise our hopes. And there will be places, like Iran, where change is fiercely suppressed. The dark forces of civil conflict and sectarian war will have to be averted, and difficult political and economic concerns addressed.
The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change. Only the people of the region can do that. But we can make a difference. I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms Oh yea, because Al Queda sooo stands for the same core principles we do. That’s why they love us so much. /sarc : our opposition to violence directed against one’s own citizens; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.
Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States. Ultimately, it is that faith – those ideals – that are the true measure of American leadership.
My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas – when the news is filled with conflict and change – it can be tempting to turn away from the world. And as I have said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength at home. That must always be our North Star – the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring of our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear. But so many of us are suffering at home. What ‘prosperity’ when jobs are at an all time low, the economy is dying, and our nation is so deep in debt my grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be trying to pay it all off?
But let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer and brighter if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity. Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward; and let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Ok… so here’s the deal. This whole thingy in Libya boils down to this – Our allies in the War on Terror have asked for help. Ten years ago France, Britain, and a list of others joined us in the War on Terror and helped us take down the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq. For ten years they have been “scratching our back” in Iraq & Afghanistan, now it’s time for us to scratch theirs. But BigO can’t say that, because then he would have to admit that Bush wasn’t the ‘lone cowboy’ the left tries to paint him as. He also can’t admit that this is all about the free flow of Libyan oil to Europe, because the left used the whole ‘war for oil’ thing to vilify Bush, even though the US gets less oil from Iraq now then it did before the Iraqi front in the War on Terror.
So, just to recap – This is all about Europe’s need for Libyan oil, and our involvement is paybacks for their help in Iraq & Afghanistan. But to come out and say so would mean vindication for GW, so Big O has to obfuscate and tiptoe around the truth.