The Libyan civil war appears to be reaching its climax, with the rebels having overrun Tripoli and Col. Moammar Gadhafi nowhere to be seen, only heard as he issues desperate calls to arms to extend his 42-year reign. An Associated Press dispatch Thursday began with this gruesome scene:
The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.
At the Washington Post, columnist E.J. Dionne is concerned that President Obama isn’t getting the credit due him:
It’s remarkable how reluctant Obama’s opponents are to acknowledge that despite all the predictions that his policy of limited engagement could never work, it actually did.
Let it be said upfront that the rout of Gaddafi was engineered not by foreign powers but by a brave rebellion organized inside Libya by its own people.
But that is the point. The United States has no troops in Libya, which means our men and women in uniform do not find themselves at the center of — or responsible for — what will inevitably be a messy and possibly dangerous aftermath. Our forces did not suffer a single casualty. The military action by the West that was crucial to the rebels was a genuine coalition effort led by Britain and France. This was not a made-by-America revolution, and both we and the Middle East are better for that.
Is Obama getting too little credit for his Libya policy?
Total Voters: 131
It seems rather curious to complain that people aren’t rushing to give the president credit for not getting in the way of what others have done — that the rebels may have been successful thanks in largest part to the British and French, and Obama deserves kudos for giving them a chance to prove we’re a not-so-indispensable nation. As it’s been called, “leading from behind.”
Or does Dionne have a point? Perhaps Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham really are wrong to argue that America’s “failure…to employ the full weight of our airpower” meant the fighting dragged on for six months — rather than the “days, not weeks” Obama promised back in March. Perhaps the president was wise to risk failing in the mission in Libya, which was preventing mass civilian killings by the Gadhafi regime, rather than the dangers associated with taking a more robust role in the NATO operation (even if Dionne draws an obviously false choice between doing it Obama’s way and “the way we did things in Iraq”).
That’s this week’s poll position. Answer in the poll and in the comments thread below.
– By Kyle Wingfield