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Obama, Bringing His Signature Flexibility to War in Libya

This morning's Jolt features the anniversary of Obamacare and the strange signals of an upcoming coup by Vice President Biden, but it begins with Libya:

Odyssey Dawn, the Obamacare of Military Operations

You’ve probably already read this post by Victor Davis Hanson, but if not, go now; on paper, military action to prevent a massacre and hit a dictator who has supported and ordered terror attacks against Americans in the past ought to be easy to support. But this administration manages to take even this and make it feel overcomplicated, internally divided, confused, contradictory, and emanates this aura of anxiety-inducing rhetorical muddle that suggests the folks at the top are making it up as they go along.

For starters, apparently Gaddafi doesn’t have to go now?

Politico: “President Obama indicated on Tuesday that Muammar Qadhafi may still have an opportunity to “change his approach” and put in place “significant reforms” in the Libyan government. Asked by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie what the U.S. commitment is in Libya if Qadhafi remains in power but continues to pose a threat to his people, Obama appeared to leave the door open for political reforms.”

Sure, he was talking about fighting to the last drop of blood, threatening to blow up airliners and ships in the Mediterranean, threatened to sabotage his oil fields, send droves of refugees across the Med to Europe, and pledged to wipe out those who oppose him “alley by alley, road by road.”

But hey, guys, he’s talking reforms, now! Everything’s cool!

I love how Hillary Clinton and Obama continually talk about Qaddafi stepping down and call on him to do so. Like that’ll happen. Have they heard any of his speeches during this crisis? He sounds like a cross between primal screams and a professional wrestler taunting his opponents. If he wanted to grab his fortune and flee to the French Riviera with his voluptuous Ukrainian nurse, he could have and probably would have done so a long time ago. How many times does a guy with the nickname “Mad Dog” choose a quiet exit, to a retirement of luxurious seclusion?

This is my new worry: Obama will realize what a complicated mess he’s just charged into, realize that seeing this through would mean telling the American people things they don’t want to hear and require telling his own party to grow up, and he’ll try to find the military equivalent of voting “present.” My guess is that means after a certain number of air strikes, declaring victory and ceasing military operations, declaring that cause that got us into this, protecting civilians is now the responsibility of “the world community.” Our allies shrug, pointing out the obvious, that they don’t have the resources to continue operations anywhere near the current tempo. Most of the rest of the world yawns and turns away.  Qaddafi resumes his offensive against the rebels, who start to feel like the Kurds after the Gulf War, and begin fermenting bitter anti-American feelings of betrayal as they retreat towards the Egyptian border.

Oh, and then Qaddafi begins looking for payback, under a scenario described by Adam Garfinkle, the editor of the American Interest, that Rich pointed to in the Corner: “As I have said, a Qaddafi left armed and dangerous when the dust settles is an unacceptable outcome. Civilian planes will likely start falling out the sky, as did the one over Lockerbie; assassination attempts will multiply, like the attempted Libyan-backed murder of the Saudi king in 2003; al-Qaeda and affiliates might be aided and abetted to do Lord-knows-what to the Italians, the French, the British and, of course, to us. With nothing to lose, and way beyond the threshold of worrying about sanctions and such, Qaddafi could well become more dangerous than ever. If I were Silvio Berlusconi, in particular, I’d pick my future whorehouses with extreme care.”

…But hey, at least he’s here. Nugy: “Breaking News: President Obama to visit the United States of America this week and is expected to be here for several days.”

Jim Geraghty

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Obama, Bringing His Signature Flexibility to War in Libya

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