Posts Tagged Libya

The House just says no to Libya. Obama says Koh

Does the President have authority under the War Powers Resolution to go into Libya?

The House vote clearly shows a belief that the president has over-stepped.

Still, the president clings to the opinion of Harold Koh.

Harold Koh?

Read my Amok column here: www.aaldef.org/blog

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Our government’s covert mission in Libya: Is the U.S. creating a new Hmong? What we can learn from the Hmong experience

At his Tuesday speech on Libya, the president used the phrase “To be blunt…”  The implication was that he was about to deliver a kind of crushing truth.

But instead of being blunt on Libya, he was really being blunt about the path the Bush administration took in starting a war in Iraq, putting troops on the ground, taking eight years and thousands of lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. “That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya,” the president said.

So what can we afford? 

A covert action!

NBC is reporting the U.S. is involved in a “covert” action in Libya, which could lead to arming the rebels who appear to be in grave need of at “military advisors.”

Hmmm. Sound like Vietnam yet?

The covert part should at least bring back the image of the Hmong who were involved in the so-called “Secret War” in 1961. Armed by the U.S., tens of thousands of Hmong were trained by the CIA  to help beat back Communist troops threatening Laos.

In the long war, over 100,000 Hmong lost their lives, as Laos ultimately fell. The U.S. began resettling them to America in 1975. Today the Hmong population approaches 300,000 in the U.S., their new homeland.

Is that the fate of the Libyan rebels?  Many of them have travelled from places like the U.S. and Canada to join the fight for their land. One said to NBC’s Richard Engel, that they don’t care about the rockets, and that he wants to die.  “It’s freedom,” he said.

Makes the rebels sound like they are on a suicide mission. Unlike the Hmong, the Libyan rebels have no jungles to hide in to wage a rebel fight. They’re in the open desert, staying near the public roads where they are  sitting ducks.

But does that make our greater  humanitarian effort aiding in the war?  Or is the real humanitarianism in the bringing back survivors to the U.S. when the fighting ends?

Obama can learn a thing or two from the Hmong experience.

Read my other comments on Libya at www.aaldef.org/blog

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Obama’s “War”: As NATO takes over in Libya, rebels find they can’t move without U.S. enablers

Reports out today that the Libyan rebels are finding that the ease of movement last week is no longer. Last week, the U.S.’ rebel partners had airstrikes and were traversing more friendly territory. Now NBC News is reporting the rag-tag rebels are having a tough time advancing  on and confronting the Gadhafi loyalists.  The rebs want more sophisticated weapons. Rocks won’t cut it. Now does NATO and the U.S. arm them?  

We’re getting sucked into a real war here, folks. No matter what the president says, the U.S. is the war enabler.

Now, how humanitarian is that? 

Check out my blog at www.aaldef.org/blog  to read my reaction to the president’s Libya speech.

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Why is the U.S. attacking Libya?

Deep in an economic funk is no time to embark on another war, unless you can call it something else like a UN humanitarian mission to save poor anti-Gadhafi rebels.

Already by my amateur count, Obama’s spent all the savings he’d theoretically  get by cutting something like public broadcasting.

Public bombcasting is always more expensive.

The issue this week is what exactly is the U.S. involved in? Are we leading? Following? Obfuscating our true purpose? Why doesn’t Obama just call it what it is. Blood for Oil, Part II, or is it Part III, or Part IV.

 I’m losing count.

I’ve got to hand it to Obama. Starting a war, excuse me, a military engagement with UN allies, while all the world is focused on the devastation of Japan is a great bit of political sleight-of-hand. By comparison a war doesn’t seem so bad next to worries about impending nuclear disaster and the end of the world.

But as we come into this first week of Spring, we have no less than Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) saying that Obama has perhaps committed an impeachable offense, launching an unconstitutional war effort.

Should Obama have consulted Congress before giving the go ahead to start up against Libya? Is it a “war”? No combat troops are on the ground (yet). Did you expect Obama to parse his contitutional power to this degree?

Kucinich and a small group of the most liberal House members think the president is fudging to so much, he should have consulted them. The War Powers Act of 1973 is intended to limit the president’s ability to send troops into combat without Congressional approval.

But a president can do so for 60 days without a declaration or mandate from Congress.  60 days?  That sounds like a lot of time to do damage. But for enemies who like to play war for decades upon decades, 60 days is not so long.

So maybe the president thinks this is truly a short term action and we can all kindly disregard Gadhafi’s histrionics. All that stuff about fighting to the end, inch by inch, for forever and a day. Just macho talk by the colonel.  Or not.

Obama seems to be hoping for another repeat of the first Gulf War, where we can do most all the dirty work by air in just a few days with an adhoc alliance, before a vote can be taken in Congress.  And by time one could be taken, the action would be all over.  And we would win! U-S-A, U-S-A! 

Maybe. But the first Gulf War was an anomaly. The lesson since: War is not a video game. It’s a long narrative.

As we wait to see what exactly our purpose is in Libya, and what the end game is, it’s rather disappointing to see our man of change changing before our eyes into a different kind of president.

Anyone really surprised at this transformation? 

From  the war policy to the domestic policy and the banking and economic crisis, Obama seems quite happy to alienate the people who saw in him much hope.  Is this his way of getting ready for 2012?

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