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The United States is the world’s greatest military power, but is it our job to be the world’s policeman and interfere in internal affairs of other sovereign nations?
And by starting military action in Libya while we already have forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, are we stretching the U.S. military, not to mention the federal government’s budget, too thin?
Those are questions we think should have been thoroughly debated in Congress before President Obama made the decision to start military action in Libya without congressional approval.
Sen. Rand Paul, a conservative Republican from Kentucky, spoke out against Obama’s “cavalierly taking us to war” with Libya without first gaining congressional consent.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a liberal Democrat from Ohio, also spoke out against Obama’s latest military action. He wrote in USA Today, “U.S. intervention in Libya is a blunder. We intervene in support of an opposition that is unpredictable, at an expense that is unsupportable and with an endgame unknown. It will stretch an already overburdened military, undermining our national security.”
Conservative columnist Cal Thomas quoted liberal 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern’s comment that the United States cannot be “the policeman of the world” and wrote, “I’m starting to think he was on to something.”
Lest one think that only arch-conservatives and arch-liberals are against our intervening in Libya, it should be noted that Indiana’s own moderate Republican senator, Richard Lugar, spoke out against our becoming militarily involved there two weeks before Obama made the decision to do so.
Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and widely considered the Senate’s leading authority on foreign affairs, told Evansville Courier & Press Washington Correspondent Bill Straub, “Depending upon the method of delivery and what we decide to do, we could decide to have a war in Libya to join the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
He also spoke out against imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. That was the same stance taken by Robert Gates, Obama’s own secretary of defense who also served in the same role under Republican President George W. Bush. Yet that is the action Obama has taken so far.
Obama said he took action to try to prevent Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from slaughtering thousands of Libyan citizens who were rebelling against Gadhafi’s harsh rule.
But as Thomas noted in a debate on the issue in USA Today, “Many countries oppress their people, including North Korea, China, Cuba, Congo, Northern Sudan . . . . So if they kill hundreds, it’s OK, but we draw the line at thousands? That seems awfully and cynically subjective.”
Actually some estimates of the number of Chinese protesters killed by Chinese government forces in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 were in the thousands. Of course Obama was not our president then, but no U.S. president, including him, would be foolish enough to attack China unless that country posed an imminent threat to the United States.
Most agree that Libya now also poses no imminent threat to the United States. So what is the real reason the United States is getting involved? Could it be that we hope to get some cheap oil from Libya if grateful rebels succeed in overthrowing Gadhafi with our help?
That isn’t what Obama said, but he was certainly disingenuous on other points about America’s involvement. Though he first said it would be for “days, not weeks,” he did not say how or when he expects the military operation to end.
In his televised address to the nation March 28 he said that the United States would relinquish its role as leader of the military effort March 30, with NATO then taking it over. But the lion’s share of the manpower, leadership and financing of NATO operations comes from the United States.
Again we would like to have seen all these issues thoroughly debated in Congress before the decision for us to interfere in what is basically another nation’s civil war was made.
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