There’s been no shortage of criticism of Obama’s decision to set up a no fly zone/air strike on Libya and I think much of it is deserved. I mean, if he wanted to stop civilian killings, why not make this move weeks ago when not only you would have saved lives … but likely would have dethroned Gadhafi? But that’s all water over the dam. This criticism from Britt Hume last night is not an exercise in punditry and I think has real meaning for service people everywhere.
Hume, I think tackles the real issue here, and that is the mission itself. Even the President yesterday seemed to struggle reconciling his stated goal of regime change with a mandate in Libya that stops far short of that. Listening to him you wonder if he seems to be hoping to “scare” Gadhafi into leaving.
Because the young President found it necessary to let the UN define the mission, and not his military advisors. Because he decided it was more important to consult with the Arab League than Congress, the mission in Libya is fuzzy at best, and foolhardy at worst. The UN mandate means we are there to protect civilians only, not regime change. But how long does that last? And what if Gadhafi retains power, even if it only means ruling half of Libya. What then?
Hume calls this one correctly. Failure is an option.