Obama making all the right moves in Libya


On Monday, President Barack Obama said the United States has the opportunity in Libya to stop the violence and protect Libyans from their ruthless and despotic leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Obama is trying to play the middle ground. He is acting aggressively to protect the Libyan people and has changed the course of the conflict.

Rita Yeung | Daily Trojan

At the same time, Obama has stated we will not overextend American resources in Libya.

Despite many uncertainties related to the intervention, the Obama administration is acting both justly and altruistically.

The U.S.-led war in Libya doesn’t benefit us in any tangible way. Libya is not strategically vital to the United States despite its strategic location.

The war in Libya is a war of choice, not one of necessity or defense. Obama has made that clear.

Despite his address Monday, Obama has yet to clearly state the expected length of America’s involvement in Libya.

If Obama wants the students who helped elect him in 2008 to vote for him again in 2012, he will have to make sure American resources aren’t overextended in Libya like they are in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently said the United States could be engaged in Libya for up to a year.

But costs of this war might be the most unnerving aspect of the intervention.

The cost incurred by the Pentagon during the first 10 days of the bombings was $550 million, and the Department of Defense expects the war to cost $40 million each month, Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Kathleen Kesler said in a recent email statement.

The United States cannot afford a long intervention in Libya, nor will the American people will not accept one.

NATO action in Libya also risks overstepping the United Nations resolution that initially empowered it, limiting action in Libya to the protection of citizens.

Still, Obama’s intervention in Libya is just, courageous and grandly American.

Gaddafi is one of the most violent rulers in the world today. And action had to be taken.

The war in Libya is an idealistic war for the standards of democracy and freedom; the Obama administration is doing right by standing by these ideals in Libya.

In his recent address to the nation, Obama preached his Woodrow Wilson-like worldview: “Our own future is safer, our own future is brighter, if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity.”

The Obama administration appears to be holding its promise to scale back America’s commitment to the war effort as well as handing over leadership to NATO.

The war in Libya further demonstrates how the United States can act with other international powers in the protection of human rights.

Collective action is essential in humanitarian interventions. American taxpayers cannot afford to bear the full burden of this crisis.

Of course, the United States cannot intervene in every foreign country where atrocities occur.

If it did, America would never have the time to attend to its domestic affairs.

The war on Libya is far from over, and, like all other conflicts, shrouded in confusion.

Yet, as long as American troops never step foot in Libya and resources are not overspent, the Obama administration should be commended for acting against Gaddafi.

The public might be quick to point out the administration’s  tactical flaws in its handling of Libya over the past few weeks. Quite frankly, such criticism might persist.

Regardless, when an American president truly upholds the ideals of freedom and democracy, he should be given his due credit.

 

William Fay is a senior majoring in international relations. His column, “Facing Our Global Challenges,” runs every other Thursday.

18 replies
  1. Christopher Ganiere
    Christopher Ganiere says:

    Humanitarian missions are for the Red Cross and the Peace Corps, not the military. The military is the most expensive way to intervene around the world. The first day of the conflict depleted our defensive capabilities more than $100 million worth!

    News flash, our deficit for 2/2011 was over sixty billion dollars. We need to borrow money to fight this war and the other two.

    Where will the money for this and the other two wars come from? The millions of unemployed aren’t paying taxes to help the war effort. The oil and gas rigs that left the Gulf of Mexico aren’t paying drilling royalties. The Chinese don’t want to buy any new T-Bills. Now is the time to end expensive foreign wars with intangible financial benefit. Now is the time to stop paying NATO & UN dues. Now is the time to turn foreign aid over to the private sector. Now is the time to bring our troops home.

  2. Diane
    Diane says:

    Yeah, Gaddafi is way worse than Saddam Hussein ever was.

    Oh wait, no he wasn’t.

    The writer states two obvious truths but can’t see his way clear to take the logical next step. Yes, America can’t get involved in every country where atrocities are taking place. And yes, we have no tangible interest in Libya (hey William – it’s a WAR FOR OIL – remember how those are “bad”?).

    The logical next step from these two facts is that Obama doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. Especially since he seems to be helping Al Qaeda types.

    Yeah, the president’s a freaking genius. Keep drinking the Koolaid.

  3. Jason
    Jason says:

    This was a humanitarian mission that escalated to Land attack missile strikes, then Obama got sucked into support an NFZ. The mission was supposed to be of limited scale, the. The mission creep pulled Obama into an anti armor campaign that resulted into Libyan Loyal Armored Divisions using populated cities as revetment, mitigating pursuing coalition forces immediately. The the Close Air Support units entered theatre, and Spectres and warthogs are on station and loitering. That means JTACs are on the ground, and that means there are units there supporting forward observation.

    Obama provides no leadership, no vision and certainly no objectives to the situation. He has no intel, he doesn’t know who the leadership of the separatists are, who they ally with, or which affiliation to unfriendly and anti American groups the rebels ranks may contain.

    They are retreating en masse as I speak.

    Not even the United States, the Arab League, NATO, the United Nations and half of the European Union can stand off the Libyan military from advancing and we have 600 million dollars invested in a campaign with no way to win….because there aren’t any objectives.

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