A week later, Abbott and Costello still in charge of war in Libya

When stories like this one from the New York Times are still cropping up a week after hostilities begin, it cannot be a good sign:

Having largely succeeded in stopping a rout of Libya’s rebels, the inchoate coalition attacking Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces remains divided over the ultimate goal — and exit strategy — of what officials acknowledged Thursday would be a military campaign that could last for weeks.

The United States has all but called for Colonel Qaddafi’s overthrow from within — with American commanders on Thursday openly calling on the Libyan military to stop following orders — even as administration officials insist that is not the explicit objective of the bombing, and that their immediate goal is more narrowly defined.

France has gone further, recognizing the Libyan rebels as the country’s legitimate representatives, but other allies, even those opposed to Colonel Qaddafi’s erratic and authoritarian rule, have balked. That has complicated the planning and execution of the military campaign and left its objective ill defined for now.

Only on Thursday, the sixth day of air and missile strikes, did the allies reach an agreement to give command of the “no-fly” operation to NATO after days of public quarreling that exposed the divisions among the alliance’s members. (emphases added)

And on it goes. The entire piece is truly a depressing thing to read — on its own, but also because we’ve been hearing similar things since before the intervention began. It is stunning that our government and our allies managed both to wait until Qaddafi had beaten the rebels to a pulp and to rush headlong into action without a plan.

Oh, and in case you were thinking the president might address the nation to explain what’s going on and how it can end well, forget about it.

So, while Daniel Henninger’s obituary for the “internationalist approach” to foreign policy still looks about right, I must admit I was wrong last week to suggest that there was ever a time when when the Obama administration could have been trusted to begin a new air war in another country with even a modicum of coherence.

In terms of sheer competence, from fiscal management to military “strategery” and everything in between, Barack Obama has doubled down on just about every mistake George W. Bush made.

And it’s only been 26 months.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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85 comments Add your comment

Junior Samples

March 25th, 2011
10:21 am

Doubled down?
Forgotten Katrina already?

Wyle Kingfield

March 25th, 2011
10:41 am

How about free drugs for geezers?

Georgia Voter

March 25th, 2011
10:42 am

What mistakes did President Bush make that President Obama doubled down on? Iraq and Libya are apples and oranges.

On the “internationalist approach” thing, the weather guy on Fox News this morning was interviewing some no name who was worked up about the fact that Bush had a bigger international coalition for Iraq. I think he was referring to the “Coalition of the Willing.” In other words, Fox News is arguing that NATO, the UN, the Arab League, and the African League, aren’t international enough.

He’s too international. He’s not international enough. Whatever. All I know is that the situation is fast, fluid, and complicated. And if there’s a no-brainer approach that should be obvious to all, I haven’t heard it.

Which means that this situation is ripe for the politic-stops-at-the-waters-edge crowd to reverse their previous position that we shouldn’t criticize the commander-in-chief at a time of war and have a field day. It’s not as if Obama is a Republican.

If anybody has any doubts about how right-wing politics works, read the e-mail about the “false flag operation” from an Indiana prosecutor who has been in GOP politics for 18 years. These guys are professional con artists.

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2011/03/25/the-high-stakes-labor-fight-in-wisconsin-gets-more-intense/

Guy Incognito

March 25th, 2011
10:45 am

“He will speak of peace, but his ways will be those of war”

Hmmmmmmm

that's goofy

March 25th, 2011
10:47 am

If you would get your news from the Daily Show – you already would know Obama is just like Bush. They say the same thing – the do basically the same thing. Both sucked at getting their message out. The only difference – Obama is willing to change direction and uses fewer talking points.

Senior Citizen Kane

March 25th, 2011
10:53 am

Generally, military campaigns go better when they have someone in charge. Of course, Obama doesn’t want that to be the U.S., because that might suggest we’re better than everybody else. Krauthammer has a terrific piece on this topic today.

Mrs. Norris

March 25th, 2011
10:56 am

You thought you were getting the anti-Bush but instead you got Bush-light. Put a fork in us, we is done. As goes Rome, so goes the U.S., except the Roman empire lasted for 1,000 years and we only lasted a little over 200.

Oh yeah, kudos to Guy Incognito for his observation. Hmmmm indeed.

B. Obama

March 25th, 2011
10:56 am

Let me be clear: I really wish McCain had won.

Peter

March 25th, 2011
11:01 am

Cheney said….Deficits don’t matter”

Bush said “Mission Accomplished”

Who is Abbot and Costello ?

MC

March 25th, 2011
11:01 am

The no brainer was to stay out of that mess Georgia voter.

Peter

March 25th, 2011
11:03 am

How many Trillions has America spent in Iraq and Afghanistan Kyle ?

Time to look in the Republican Mirror.

Do Deficits matter Kyle ?

MC

March 25th, 2011
11:04 am

Krauthammer….the neo-con Krauthammer?

Georgia Voter

March 25th, 2011
11:06 am

Oh wait. There’s more:

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ros-Lehtinen was for a no-fly zone before she was against it.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman McKeon condemned the Obama administration two weeks ago for not taking action in Libya, and then criticized the Obama administration on Sunday for taking action in Libya.

Representative Miller, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said it’s in our “vital” national interests to assist anti-Gadhafi rebels. Then, after going in, the Republican said the administration’s mission lacks a “compelling” national interest.

Vital? Yes. Compelling? No.

Bottom line. President Obama is a Democrat. So, whatever it takes to undermine his support, we’ll say and do.

MC

March 25th, 2011
11:06 am

Abbott and Costello? Having flashbacks Kyle?

carlosgvv

March 25th, 2011
11:18 am

This would be amusing if it were not for the fact that Abbott and Costello mentality got us into Vietanm, Iraq and Afghanistan. I think the Military-Industrial Complex is in the saddle here and is riding all of us.

Billings

March 25th, 2011
11:19 am

U.S. and Canadian special ops are on the ground in Libya, they’re not wearing boots though.

Obama is a slick operator. It’s easy when his supporters are short on brain matter.

retiredds

March 25th, 2011
11:21 am

Kyle and others, have you ever read the battle histories of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW II, etc. How did the early campaigns of the victors go? Would you write this stuff about Washington, Lee, Grant, Eisenhower, etc. Your understanding of war and war strategy is about as prescient as Moose dung. How about the English and American squabbles over WW II strategy? Care to comment?

retired early

March 25th, 2011
11:21 am

Kyle

You just shot your last wad of credibility with this piece. Why not try waiting until the smoke clears before criticizing Obama. You and Newt should form a club together…

retiredds

March 25th, 2011
11:27 am

Speaking of Abbott and Costello, have you read your buddy Newt Gingrich’s statements regarding Libya? If not here they are:

Earlier this month, when President Barack Obama was clearly reluctant to commit U.S. firepower to support Libyan rebels, Gingrich was pressing the case for an immediate imposition of a no-fly zone, with the goal of removing Moammar Gadhafi from power.
“The United States doesn’t need anybody’s permission. We don’t need to have NATO, who frankly, won’t bring much to the fight. We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening,” he told Greta Van Susteren on Fox.
“This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.”
And he said that with the absolute, deadpan conviction that is the Gingrich trademark.
However, once Obama decided to commit U.S. forces to impose a no-fly zone, Gingrich suddenly reversed his position, condemning the policy he once advocated. Asked on The Today Show this whether the United States should try to oust Gadhafi, here’s how the former speaker responded:
“I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi. I think there were a lot of allies in the region that we could have worked with. I would not have used American or European forces, bombing an Arab country.” (from Jay Bookman this morning).

And some of you folks will vote for this Janus figure (i.e.clown) if he gets the Republican nomination.

Georgia Voter

March 25th, 2011
11:28 am

FYI–

“NATO agreed that it would not only take over command and control of the no-fly zone, but also of the effort to protect civilians through aggressive coalition airstrikes on Colonel Qaddafi’s troops on the ground”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/world/africa/26libya.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all

B. Obama

March 25th, 2011
11:28 am

Let me be clear: Abbott and Costello are not running this war. Laurel and Hardy are.

iRun

March 25th, 2011
11:36 am

Kyle, I used to think you might be like Bookman – ready to be fair in your partisan criticism. But you’re not. You’re just like everyone else out there – you cannot bring yourself for a single second to agree with the “Other Side”.

Lookit, I’m a liberal. But I’m not happy with Obama and I am ready to harsh on him all the time. But your automatic anti-liberal anti-Obama slant on everything your write about makes you unreadable.

So, good-bye. I’m not reading this blog ever again. I’ve got very limited time to read opinions from both sides and no time to waste on a narrow mind. I do wish you good health, etc.

Jimmy62

March 25th, 2011
11:41 am

I never got the problem with the Mission Accomplished thing. The mission, at the time, was to invade Iraq and overthrow it’s evil, dictatorial government. The military accomplished that goal, and Bush was 100% correct to celebrate that. Yes, there was more to do, but the mission of the day was accomplished.

Just another nothing that the left made into a huge deal because they hate everything Bush did no matter what. You’ll have a hard time finding a leftie willing to admit that Bush did more for Africa and the poor and often diseased peoples there than any other leader in the history of the world, but he did. Obama hasn’t done anything even close to positively affecting the lives of so many people as Bush did with his Africa policies. He was a true humanitarian who did great stuff and then did not spend all his time bragging about it. History will eventually give him a lot more credit than the fools on the left do.

That said, I didn’t like his domestic spending policies then, and I still don’t like most of them looking back. He also started the bailout trend which has led to rewarding failure and punishing success in all areas of our society.

Sean Smith

March 25th, 2011
11:41 am

Obama could have lunch with Jesus Christ and the republicans would complain that Obama is not christian enough. There hypocrisy is getting pretty old and tired.

And whats with all the juvenile name calling in these blog posts. Junior high kids from Alabama have more smarts than most posters here.

Peter

March 25th, 2011
11:45 am

Hey Jimmy62

March 25th, 2011
11:41 am

I never got the problem with the Mission Accomplished thing. The mission, at the time, was to invade Iraq and overthrow it’s evil, dictatorial government. The military accomplished that goal, and Bush was 100% correct to celebrate that. Yes, there was more to do, but the mission of the day was accomplished.

After that statement….. Why did Bush invade ? Because of WMD ? Was there any ?

So he just wasted American Tax payer money for what reason ?

How is that money coming back to Americans ?

How is the typical American benefiting from the Iraq Invasion ?

carlosgvv

March 25th, 2011
11:46 am

retiredds

How about our “victories” in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Care to comment?

buck@gon

March 25th, 2011
11:54 am

It’s more like “Cheech and Chong” or “Bill and Ted”. More appropriately I would say Will Ferrel is running it because I don’t find him funny at all–well OK, Elf was a good movie.

The problem with Obama is if you put him in a Christmas costume, he isn’t cute. I imagine it would also violate his Muslim faith. He also whistles his S’s so much that my hearing in the upper frequencies is diminishing. I can no longer hear a piccolo play.

Seriously though, can there be any OTHER reason that Obama and his White House bunch of boobs are behaving this way than they have no discernable central code of morals, of behavior, or of what is appropriate or not for people to do?

To wit, I provide some examples of Obama’s bumbling and decidedly UN-Presidential character:
To John McCain in an “open” and “listening” debate about healthcare where Republicans got 1/4 of the time: “John, I’m the President. I won.” (now shut up)

Attorney General Eric Holder’s blatant disregard of civil rights laws regarding what the whole world has seen, the New Black Panther intimidation in PA during the 2008 election.

Former speaker Nancy Pelosi’s outragoues declaration: “we’ll have to pass the bill so that we will know what is in it”, regarding healthcare.

Obama’s healthy sense of self: To Democrat leaders, who needed encouragement for the healthcare bill, “things are different because you have ME now.”

The mainstream press’ derelection of duty in not mentioning these and other absurd actions by Obama and his party, including one of his biggest lies now becoming untru-er than ever: “we’re going to bend the cost curve for healthcare.”

The more I ponder this ribald mishap Obama Presidency and the currents of the liberal side of the nation, I can’t help but wonder, how can so many people jump to conclusions where the facts don’t support them? I can only conclude that beliefs trump facts.

If they do, then this may not be a bad thing. Perhaps it’s time to recall things like God and values and independence that the left has for so long mocked us for doing even when we haven’t.

Well, whatever the case, Kyle, I’m in your corner, ready to fling the truth on those who would deny its existence–especially your colleague Jay Bookman.

retiredds

March 25th, 2011
12:02 pm

Carlosgvv: what victories? What’s your point?

Intown

March 25th, 2011
12:03 pm

Ouch. There is plenty to criticize about Obama’s approach. At least they’ve held off a genocide … temporarily.

retiredds

March 25th, 2011
12:04 pm

buckagon: blah, blah, blah, blah

Guy Incognito

March 25th, 2011
12:16 pm

@S.S.

Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!

You criticize name-calling…..”And whats with all the juvenile name calling in these blog posts.”

And then in the VERY next sentence, you name-call

“Junior high kids from Alabama have more smarts than most posters here.”

Typical of the left. The always tolerant left

that's goofy

March 25th, 2011
12:26 pm

Jimmy 62 – it isn’t that hard to find people on the left that give W credit for Africa. However, 2 wars, no WMD (we knew where they were) the blinders to what was going on in Iraq (civil war) and Katrina – yeah he messed those up. Don’t get me going on his cut tax and spend more + bailing out his buddies on Wall Street.

Geezuz Krist

March 25th, 2011
12:27 pm

You freaks are some dense mofo’s.

The DemoPublicans are all PROGRESSIVES.

Understand this dimwits. They’re all BIG-GOVERNMENT TOTALITARIAN WARLORD CONTROL FREAKS.

Got it retards? Damm some of these blog readers are sorry and stupid. Get a clue you witless wussies. This drain is all yours.

[...] — of …US Escalates Libya WarFox NewsTwo important unanswered Libya questions for USCBS NewsA week later, Abbott and Costello still in charge of war in LibyaAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Reuters -BusinessWeek -Bloombergall 476 news [...]

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 25th, 2011
12:42 pm

Good afternoon all. I believe that stopping Qadaffi was and is a meritorious use of American military power. I wish Chauncey had acted a couple of weeks earlier, and that he had shown international leadership rather than highly visible “followship.” Fortunately France has stepped into the breach in international defense of western values, and our noble military has been loaned to them for the duration.

Peter

March 25th, 2011
12:50 pm

Hey Geezuz Krist….Bush increased the size of the Government.

Better try to do some reading.

Michael

March 25th, 2011
12:54 pm

I really try not to comment on your ravings, Kyle, but my God you’re such a smug little prick.

Holly

March 25th, 2011
12:57 pm

Guess I’m the only one who thought that was a great title!

joe

March 25th, 2011
1:02 pm

Instead of the “who’s on first” routine, we should be asking- “who’s in the white house.” It’s certainly not Barry the great…he’s on the golf course or in the bunker watching feeds of march madness keeping an eye on his brackets…

Good Grief

March 25th, 2011
1:25 pm

What exactly points out that Obama is willing to change direction? This is the same man who made it a point to the GOP that he “won” the election. He wanted to find someone and kick their a** after the oil spill. He told Republicans that they could come along, but they had to sit in the back. He pushed for a massive health care law, and then started granting his friends and contributors waivers from that very law. His AG, Eric Holder, has referred to the NBP case and other similar cases as involving “my people” and he has said that protecting the civil rights of Muslim’s was his department’s top priority. What about protecting the rights of Americans, and not just select groups of Americans.

As for the Bush and Obama comparisons. Bush had a coalition of 37 nations going in to Iraq, Obama’s coalition numbers 16. Of course, as someone pointed out earlier, the UN has to count for something. I mean, how dare we forget a body that was willing to allow Libya onto the Human Rights Council and was going to let Iraq and Iran onto the Weapons Council.

Peter

March 25th, 2011
1:32 pm

Yes …….Good Grief ……after telling lies of WMD’s, Bush got many nations on board !

The Snark

March 25th, 2011
1:36 pm

Your worst column ever, Kyle.

Get Real (the original)

March 25th, 2011
1:41 pm

Peter

Yo Peter…wakey wakey it is 2011 now, time to put your thinking moving forward, not reverse

BW

March 25th, 2011
1:44 pm

Kyle…conservatives who aren’t supposed to be for foreign intervention in the first place, have no idea how to prosecute this war on terror either. It’s a murky situation….no clear goals, no standing armies, no clear continuing mission. Let’s face it….as long as oil is a component, expect this crap to continue. I for one don’t want an American boot on the ground in yet another country. It’s either “internationalist” or bust….we don’t have to flex our military muscle everytime.

John Galt

March 25th, 2011
1:47 pm

Peter, you are a simplistic moron. Do you believe what you say or are you just trying to deceive less intelligent readers (there are few, if any).

Get Real (the original)

March 25th, 2011
1:48 pm

Peter…apparently British and Russian Intelligence, not to mention Mossad were all in on the WMD “lying conspiracy” as well

Get a grip pal….

Peter

March 25th, 2011
1:57 pm

Yes…..Get Real (the original)..Ok please tell us that the Iraq WMD was not a lie.

Tell us what the War cost, and how it is being paid for…..Or maybe it has been paid for in full ?

Walt

March 25th, 2011
2:03 pm

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

So it is with Tomahawk cruise missiles. We paid a lot of money for that technology, and there seemed to be an application for them in taking out the Libyan air defense system. And voila!

They are fired.

What next? Who cares! We got to hammer that nail!

Walt

Get Real (the original)

March 25th, 2011
2:12 pm

Peter…A lie no, bad intelligence yes. If you proceed with the assumption that it was a lie that would include forethought and planning for all the intelligence agencies I mentioned, as well as others, to be part of massive conspiracy.

I get it, you are against the war, that’s fine…. but live in reality

Road Scholar

March 25th, 2011
2:13 pm

Kyle since you and many of the conservatives KNOW ALL that has been discussed by the president, why don’t you just go to Libya and handle the situation. With you on the ground in Lybia, what could go wrong? Oh and take Newt with you!