President Obama’s trip to South America was routed around the political storms in Libya and a nuclear meltdown in Japan, but by the time his flight departed for Brazil, President Obama had already committed US forces to yet another war in the Middle East.
Political pundits describe the president’s decision to go to war as ”too much, too late”. By the time his flight landed in Brazil, President Obama’s new war in the Middle East had already enraged some social and union groups in Rio de Janeiro. They “have declared Obama persona non grata,” accusing the president of “bellicose policy of occupation” in foreign countries, and of attacking people “in the name of the war on terror.”
If that sounds familiar it is because similar language was used by critics against President Bush when he invaded Iraq. The difference is that President Bush waged his war with the consent of Congress,; Bush’s war was approved by a Democratic-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House. Also, President Bush had a clear military objective: regime change in Iraq, whether or not the coalition found evidence of nuclear weapons.
President Obama gave Libya an ultimatum, saying the terms of a UN Security Council resolution backing action to defend civilians were non-negotiable. And, though President Obama met with key congressional leaders to discuss Libya, his failure to seek congressional approval prior to attacking Libya, and further failing to outline an end game has angered lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, with Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich calling the president’s decision a ”a nightmare.”
As doubts mount over the president’s decision to start a new war, the coalition is “suffering from a lack of direction and waning support.” Another unpopular war could not come at a worse time for this president. The president’s approval numbers are slipping in the most recent polls, and a clear perception of dithering and indeed, passivity, has provoked concerns on both sides of the aisle regarding the president’s handling of Libya in particular, and the budget in general. With the unemployment rate hovering at unacceptable levels, and dropping poll numbers, the last thing the president needs is a third war in the Middle East.
The president’s tepid decision to start a new war in the Middle East was a bizarre combination of Bush Light and Jimmy Carter. President Obama attacked President Bush during a speech in 2002 for engaging in a ”dumb war.” In that speech Barack Obama defined a dumb war as one in which we go to war against a nation that “poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to its neighbors.” By attacking Libya, which poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to its neighbors, President Obama has started his own “dumb war.” And, unlike Bush, there is no commitment for a regime change, nor is there a long term plan to protect the innocent Libyan population from Colonel Gaddafi’s inevitable revenge.
Former President Jimmy Carter’s weak and ineffective handling of the Iran Hostage Crisis, caused him to lose his reelection bid to Ronald Reagan..
President Obama’s declaration that the USA’s commitment to the war in Libya will be ”in a matter of days and not a matter of weeks,” makes him appear weak and indecisive, if not naïve. It seems President Obama is wearing Jimmy Carter’s suit as he engages in his own dumb Bush Light war..