Obama’s op-ed declaration of war until Gadhafi’s out of power

All of a sudden, we’re going to be at war in Libya — excuse me, acting kinetic-militarily — until Col. Moammar Gadhafi is out of power. This is the same Gadhafi who, at last check, was on his way to a thorough defeat of the rebels.

We learn this turn of events not from a presidential address to Congress, but from reading an op-ed President Obama co-authored with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

Our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove Qaddafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power. The International Criminal Court is rightly investigating the crimes committed against civilians and the grievous violations of international law. It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government. The brave citizens of those towns that have held out against forces that have been mercilessly targeting them would face a fearful vengeance if the world accepted such an arrangement. It would be an unconscionable betrayal.

Furthermore, it would condemn Libya to being not only a pariah state, but a failed state too. Qaddafi has promised to carry out terrorist attacks against civilian ships and airliners. And because he has lost the consent of his people any deal that leaves him in power would lead to further chaos and lawlessness. We know from bitter experience what that would mean. Neither Europe, the region, or the world can afford a new safe haven for extremists.

There is a pathway to peace that promises new hope for the people of Libya — a future without Qaddafi that preserves Libya’s integrity and sovereignty, and restores her economy and the prosperity and security of her people. This needs to begin with a genuine end to violence, marked by deeds not words. The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging, including Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zintan, and return to their barracks. However, so long as Qaddafi is in power, NATO must maintain its operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds. Then a genuine transition from dictatorship to an inclusive constitutional process can really begin, led by a new generation of leaders. In order for that transition to succeed, Qaddafi must go and go for good. At that point, the United Nations and its members should help the Libyan people as they rebuild where Qaddafi has destroyed — to repair homes and hospitals, to restore basic utilities, and to assist Libyans as they develop the institutions to underpin a prosperous and open society. (emphasis added)

While Obama has been calling on Gadhafi to leave power voluntarily, this is quite a turnabout from a military standpoint. A no-fly zone alone won’t get this done; unless Gadhafi suddenly decides he’s losing after all, there will almost certainly have to be boots on the ground. The rebels have been losing badly, and there are even questions about the efficacy of the non-U.S.-led NATO coalition. It’s a particularly strange turnabout given that there are also increasing questions as to whether the situation in Libya was as bad as Obama led on before the war began.

So, to recap: We lost precious weeks waiting for U.N. approval to act in Libya and, now that the cost of that delay is coming to bear, we’re going to commit to an even more-kinetic military action to make up for the lost time — while apparently going beyond the U.N. approval that previously was considered so critical.

Why do I not feel reassured about the way this is heading?

– By Kyle Wingfield

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39 comments Add your comment

Senior Citizen Kane

April 15th, 2011
5:36 am

“It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government.”

I thought Obama had opposed removing Saddam.

Joel Edge

April 15th, 2011
5:56 am

“there will almost certainly have to be boots on the ground.”
At this point, I don’t care. As long as they aren’t American boots. I haven’t heard much from the anti-war crowd since this started. I wonder why.

Moderate Line

April 15th, 2011
6:30 am

This may turn out alright but right now it doesn’t make any sense.


April 15th, 2011
7:04 am

The only leading character in this whole goat rodeo that has any competence is Khadaffi. Psst you aren’t suppose to notice any hypocrisy when Obama does it dude.

B. Obama

April 15th, 2011
7:09 am

Let me be clear: I need a do-over on my first term.

Terd Fergesun

April 15th, 2011
7:30 am

Let me be clear, Obozo has the leadership skillsof a pre-schooler. For those of you that wanted a community organizer as President would you please fact check on the person before you vote. And please don’t make color of one’s skin a major factor. White, brown, black, yellow, or purple we need a leader.

Joel Edge

April 15th, 2011
7:39 am

“And please don’t make color of one’s skin a major factor.”
Good luck on that. I’m pretty certain how this election is going to play out. They’re just waiting on a target. As soon as the Republican nominee is known, whoever it is, he or she is going to be raked over the coals.
Patience and a cool head will be a major asset in this coming election.


April 15th, 2011
8:10 am

Obama is lost……wag the dog


April 15th, 2011
8:22 am

@Terd; yes we need a leader. We need George W. Bush. We need a leader. We need Donald Rumsfeld. Yes, we need a leader. We need Karl Rove. I am sure you feel a lot more self esteem hating Obama. I brings you up.


April 15th, 2011
8:25 am

@Terd. Hating Obama brings up your personal standards.


April 15th, 2011
8:40 am

Ramzad, all you need do is observe, seek out facts and ignore rhetoric and it is clear while Bush Rumsfield and Rove all had failings and made mistakes (as we all do) Obama is making them look like geniuses! The man is truly overmatched in all but oratory


April 15th, 2011
8:46 am

We will settle Libya one way or the other. Like Truman settled North Korea. Like Nixon and Johnson settled Vietnam. Like Clinton settled Somalia or like George W. Bush settled Iraq. See a pattern of what happens when we are scared and confused political demagogues?

Only numskulls can not see that we can not leave Gadhafi on the edge of North Africa raising hell,
killing people, and dispatching terrorists brigades into Europe and on to the United States.

When will you all see that this is now an interconnected world? The US can not go into a hole when these situations pop up, or we will be on the way to more car bombs in New York City. Obama is right. He is not waiting until Monday Morning Quarterbacks have it all figured out.

Reagan was right all along about Gadhafi and a few other things.


April 15th, 2011
8:53 am

Until America becomes a post-racial society Obama’s biggest problem is that he is black. His white mother, God rest her soul, be damned.

Conservative white Americans- the ones whose parents and grand parents designed Jim Crow just can’t deal with it that the beloved Union is now operated by a black man.

They still believe he should be in the back of the woodshed with his lacerated back bleeding. I
can see how Obama could make racists irate.

Frankly, after George Bush and one notorious Richard Nixon America is on the way from hell.


April 15th, 2011
9:03 am

It looks as though the only real winners in this, as in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, will the the corporations who supply weapons for our Military. This is no accident. Big Business keeps the politicans in the money for elections and re-elections. So, money and political power mean more to the corporations and politicans than the lives of our servicemen and women. Is anyone honestly supprised by this?


April 15th, 2011
9:34 am

While our attention is on the Middle East, it allows Obama to continue his agenda, which if nothing else, as a Democrat, I’ve learned does not include the wishes of We the People.

that's goofy

April 15th, 2011
9:43 am

This isn’t an Obama thing – it is a UN thing. Instead of reacting to Kyle’s cherry picked interpretation – try reading the whole thing.

Then end of the op-ed

“This vision for the future of Libya has the support of a broad coalition of countries, including many from the Arab world. These countries came together in London on March 29 and founded a Contact Group which met this week in Doha to support a solution to the crisis that respects the will of the Libyan people.

Today, NATO and our partners are acting in the name of the United Nations with an unprecedented international legal mandate. But it will be the people of Libya, not the U.N., who choose their new constitution, elect their new leaders, and write the next chapter in their history.”

that's goofy

April 15th, 2011
9:45 am

“the end” – not “then end” of the op-ed.

proof reading fail

Kyle Wingfield

April 15th, 2011
9:57 am

goofy: Where in that “unprecedented international legal mandate” is the removal of Gadhafi contemplated?

common sense

April 15th, 2011
10:12 am

I think the “H” in Obama’s middle name stands for hypocrite. Agree or disagree with his stand, you cannot help but observe the exact same logic applies to Iraq. Yet it was Obama’s opposition to Iraq which catipulted him to the lead an eventually into office. Maybe even won him a Nobel Peace Prize.

It is like this on a lot of issues. Like the debt ceiling. He voted against it in 2007 saying he was morally opposed to the excessive Bush spending. Now he says it is reckless and inexcusable to hold the debt ceiling hostage against his even more extreme spending.

He is a good orator, although most of what he says is lies, misstatements and distortions.

And on the racism issue, what do you think of the fact that his approval rating is 85% among blacks. No racism there. Maybe they all like him because all Republicans are racist, right?


April 15th, 2011
10:42 am

First make Libya a “big problem”. Then call for a “big solution”, military action. And that would require a “big military” run by a “big government”.

Only those dedicated to having a Big Government would ever claim having the “duty” of policing the entire world.

And those police the world guys and gals must be in ecstasy over the pending $800 billion military budget we will own in a few years.

Real Americans love big! What’s the expression? “Think big.”

So we do Afghanistan, we do Iraq, we do Pakistan and now we do Libya.

How the hell did we stay out of Egypt?

And now there are calls for doing Syria, Bahrain and Yemen.

Oh, and the 5000 dead American troops? Merely the necessary cost of “Pax Americana”. And besides, it’s someone else’s kid getting killed or maimed.


April 15th, 2011
11:05 am

common sense
April 15th, 2011
10:12 am
“…. you cannot help but observe the exact same logic applies to Iraq.”

The two are NOT EVEN parallel!! Note the differences:

1) Saddam Hussein was supported BY the US; Quaddafi isn’t
2) Saddam Hussein did NOT bring down a US airliner; Quaddafi did
3) The US invaded Iraq under false pretenses, i.e. revenge; the US did NOT invade Libya
4) Yhe US is still in Iraq; the US is NOT in Libya

“And on the racism issue, what do you think of the fact that his approval rating is 85% among blacks. No racism there. Maybe they all like him because all Republicans are racist, right?”

Note: 100% of white people supported a white candidate for the Presidency before Obama’s Administration; would YOU consider yourself to be racist in that aspect?? Are you failing to note that some of the animus pointed towards the President IS racially based….or are you just “up the river”, i.e., in DENIAL???

Georgia Voter

April 15th, 2011
11:09 am

Sorry to stray off topic, but KW had previously written about the need for some sort of taxpayer receipt. Well, ask and you shall receive:http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/15/your-taxpayer-receipt?utm_source=041511&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=daily


April 15th, 2011
11:22 am

@Ramzad: /putheadinthesand Clearly, all disagreement with Obama has to do with race. I mean, his policies are excellent, leadership is strong and clear, his rhetoric is full of healing and non-partisan claims. Surely, it’s only his skin that’s a problem. /removeheadfromthesand

Georgia Voter

April 15th, 2011
11:26 am

Related to this topic, here are the biggest line items from my 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt:

10.7% Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
10.5% National Defense – Ongoing operations, equipment, and supplies
10.3.% Medicare doctor payments and prescription drug payments
8.8% National Defense – Research, development, weapons, and construction
6.0% National Defense – Military personnel salaries and benefits

Among the smallest items in the budget?
0,4% Energy supply and conservation
0.4% Job training and employment services
0.8% Student financial aid for college
0.7 % International – Development and humanitarian assistance (international aid)


April 15th, 2011
11:47 am

[...] Obama changes his mind about what we are doing in Libya.  [...]


April 15th, 2011
11:49 am

It seems that the President and the Congress don’t have the courage or patriotism to just stop all these wars and bring the troops home. I totally disagree with most current republican party policies so it grieves me to say this: go ahead and refuse to extend the national debt ceiling and let the country default on its debt. It appears that will be the only way to end all these illegal and unnecessary wars. End the wars and our deficit problems become manageable.


April 15th, 2011
12:00 pm

HDB 11:05

When we go into Libya and start having casualities, will you still be saying this?


April 15th, 2011
12:34 pm

Hang in there folks.

Obama is Toast in 2012!

Original Thought not Necessary

April 15th, 2011
12:50 pm

I realize that everyone is on here for their own reasons and rarely do we all see eye to eye on much of anything. But something I just read in the AJC has moved me not only nearly to tears but moved me to make this post on all of the blogs here.

Regardless of our respective political positions I think we can all agree that the freedoms we enjoy are provided and protected by the brave men and women of the military. I hope and pray that we can all also agree that when a person gives their life to the service of this amazing country until they retire deserves not only our respect but also our support as much as the soldiers that currently put themselves in harm’s way.

That being said, please read this article…
Here is an example of a woman who willingly served and protected us all as a combat medic reduced to living in a supply closet at a hotel in order to be near her son. I am calling on all of us to put aside our partisan bickering for a few moments and give something, anything to show our love and appreciation to this American hero.

We are America. We can’t sit by and let this happen.

Please go to any Bank of America branch and give to something, anything to The Miguel Windley Special Needs Trust.


April 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

I think you are only uneasy because it is not a Republican president saying this. If it were, let’s be honest, you’d be giving him the benefit of every doubt and praising his/her resolve to remove another tyrant who has a taste for nukes (even if it is in remission) and proven terrorist from power. But, it’s Obama. So you have doubts. I understand. I would doubt any action taken by George W. Bush even if it turned out to be correct.

also, remember there is a War Powers Act. This is not exactly ground that hasn’t been tread before.

JF McNamara

April 15th, 2011
2:26 pm

Maybe I read something different than was written by Obama.

“In order for that transition (a transition to an inclusive constitutional process), Qaddaffi must go.”

That is correct. I’m not sure how that is a declaration of war. If he doesn’t go, they just won’t have the transition. He said nothing about entering the conflict. He only said they would aid the Libyans to keep the pressure up. I think I’ll take a wait and see approach instead of the sky is falling one.

Despite your contentions, this has been well handled so far. Let the Libyans largely decide their fate. Just no Native American style massacres.


April 15th, 2011
4:28 pm

Every since we tied in Vietnam, we have been backing up,


April 15th, 2011
10:45 pm

@hdb: This will be too easy……

“The two are NOT EVEN parallel!! Note the differences:
1) Saddam Hussein was supported BY the US; Quaddafi isn’t”"
more recently Kaddafi was warming up to the EU and US…..why it was oil and he seemed more mellow!
“2) Saddam Hussein did NOT bring down a US airliner; Quaddafi did”
He did try kill our President….maybe that doesn’t matter but what if it was “former” President Obama?? And the little things like shooting at our planes in the NO FLY ZONE (sounds like Libya eh!) and slauthering his own Kurds and Shia??
“3) The US invaded Iraq under false pretenses, i.e. revenge; the US did NOT invade Libya”
Yeah but the progression sure looks like it especially if you have already notice that arms and trainers from our allies are! When will they ask for our expertise?
“4) Yhe US is still in Iraq; the US is NOT in Libya”
As long as you don’t count those pesky CIA paramilitary and other “Agencies” as “boots” on the ground or planes over head. Now if this had been a Repug Prez, I will guarantee that you would have called B**S** on that little statement!

In the end, the president is just like Bush. They and the NeoCons believe that military power can change the core dynamics in the Middle East. Yeah they may have different processes but their goals are the same.


April 16th, 2011
1:22 am

The Obama presidency is a disaster. On the domestic front, Obama’s policies have and continue to undermine the economy. Unemployment, the national debt, inflation are, or about to be, out of control. Worse, Obama’s ban on new US oil drilling and his fatal focus on ‘not ready for prime time’ green energy sources, have left us utterly at the mercy of events and countries that hate us. It’s doubtful now the US will be able to escape a double dip recession, especially if Obama and his congressional and media allies demagogue Republican ideas for long term entitlement reform and debt reduction.

Obama’s handling of foreign affairs and defense is equally disastrous. Traditional US allies are treated shabbily by Obama and his team while he encourages our enemies. In Iraq and Afghanistan, he insists on telling them not to worry, the US will soon with drawl. Kyle’s post sum’s up pretty well Obama’s incoherent and ludicrous approach to Libya. Does Obama really expect Gaddafi to go gracefully into the night because he wants him to?

Obama doesn’t care what voters want (to wit Obamacare) – he cares only about his hyper ideological agenda and implementing as much of it as he can. To that end, he wants four more years. I don’t believe Obama is a Marxist but he, like many progressives, certainly believes ‘the ends jusstifies the means’. In other words, they have no integrity – no moral center. Even some Democrats and left leaning media types are coming to realize Obama’s words and his actions don’t match up. If truth be told, nearly every word out of his mouth is a distortion or out and out falsehood.

Obama is the worst president in living memory. Maybe, the worst of all time.

John W.

April 16th, 2011
2:28 am

Why are we fighting in Libya? If it’s really a “humanitarian” mission, what makes this a greater humanitarian crisis than the Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo or Zimbabwe – or do we plan to send troops to those countries, too?

Or is it not really about humanitarianism, but just about removing Ghadafi? If so, why target him and not the various other dictators around the world (and even in the Arab region) who are clinging to power despite protests? What exactly legitimates the Libyan opposition? Do we have any idea what they even stand for?

This is not a Dem or GOP thing. It simply would be nice to get some coherent answers to these questions. Our country is supposedly trying to save money and reduce the deficit, but here we are launching yet another military adventure, which will cost quite a bit.

Georgann Marks

April 16th, 2011
10:41 am

If Obama starts a war – conservatives grouse. when Bush started wars.. Dems groused.

A pox on both houses. I don’t want either party – one works for Wall St – the other installed a lesbian at TSA to grope my grand kids.

I want a good hangin judge.

Robespierre…. EMPEROR FOR LIFE!

lets get started.

Brian McCann

April 16th, 2011
5:57 pm

Great orator?? How about Pontificator? Obfuscator? (never let the facts get in the way of a good story) Obama’s most recent fantasy hour should be put into consideration for “Best Fiction by a Sitting President” He could put the award next to the Nobel Prize. Both works of fiction. I really had hoped that there was substance behind the hype, that there might be a patriot pragmatist behind the politician. But it has worked out the other way. Another narcissistic chump unwilling to realistically address what ails us.

dom youngross

April 16th, 2011
5:58 pm

Hey lighten up, good news here all around. Obama’s excellent kinetic adventure in Libya will hasten troop drawdown in Afghanistan. So he can redeploy them on a kinetic humanitarian venture in Libya. Obama might not wait until July to fulfill his promise. He might swing 3,000 marines over to the shores of Tripoli before May is out.

Bomb, bomb, bomb,
bomb bomb a… Libya.

Chris Miro

April 19th, 2011
12:55 am

Engaging and well written article! This tops anything I have read lately on the subject at hand. I wonder if this’ll be posted on Twenty-First Tycoon. Although the site has awesome political, business, technology and real estate news, they could use more stuff like this. http://www.21Tycoon.com