March 20, 2011

"Clinton's two key statements: 'We did not lead this' and 'America has unique capabilities' are not consistent with each other."

"Because of America's unique capabilities, it is in fact leading the Libyan effort.... [Vice Admiral Bill] Gortney's briefing made clear that the United States is not only leading the Libya operation but is virtually the only force involved in the operation.... And few Americans would want U.S. forces to go into combat under anything other than U.S. command. But why would the Secretary of State step onto the world stage and announce, 'We did not lead this'?"

Byron York poses a question.

ADDED: NYT:
“We are not going after Qaddafi,” Vice Adm. William E. Gortney said at the Pentagon on Sunday afternoon, even as reports from Tripoli described a loud explosion and billowing smoke at the Qaddafi compound, suggesting that military units or a command post there might have been a target.

71 comments:

Carol_Herman said...

I still think it's a political move. And, Libya was chosen for its CATNIP value. It should be over quickly. Libya has a very small population. Lots of empty space. Ghaddafi has been a crazy cult leader who is actually hated. There is no tourism, or any middle class in Libya at all.

Maybe, it will be a broken country that can be fixed?

peter hoh said...

Coming from Clinton, it makes a little more sense if you take out the word "not" and see the "we" as a royal we.

Fallows has some good questions, too.

Kirby Olson said...

She wants responsibility for the power but not the blame for the misuse of it.

It made sense to me.

I like the Democrats when they act like they care about the rest of the world. It's imperative that we help the Libyan people in their time of need.

The important fact of this is that the Arab league wanted us to intercede as did the UN. The Obama team did this just right.

Jason (the commenter) said...

She's speaking for the president, and he didn't lead, she did.

Anga2010 said...

At the pub in Lubbock ppl say "Yay! we are mighty and can just blow shit up!"
I ask, "To what end?"
pub in Lubbock says: "I dunno whuts gonna hppn."

traditionalguy said...

Lying to your enemy in a foreign policy public announcement concerning war is not always wrong...it can be another example that if you are not cheating, then you are not trying. What is so bad is Obama's consistent treatment of the USA as his enemy. Where was he born, again?

mesquito said...

I really want to hear from Colin Powell on this. I think it violates every single tenet of his much-worshipped "Doctrine."

Rialby said...

This feels like another Democratic war - go in half-assed, use the heavily-favored cruise missile and bomb from 50,000 ft.

These motherfuckers beat Bush over the head for 5 years about having no plan in Iraq and then they launch a war with no clear objective. Brilliant.

Anga2010 said...

to give the pub in Lubbock the full credit, I must also say that some of the pub in Lubbock mentioned:
Oil!
Corporations!
US support for dictators!

Rialby said...

Mesquito - Colin Powell

I was just thinking about this today. What we're doing here is the polar opposite of the Powell Doctrine that every Liberal waved in our faces for 5 years.

Lem said...

Obama is like the fleeing Wisconsin legislators..

The Europeans made me do it.

vbspurs said...

Quoting from the York piece:

"We are on the leading edge of coalition operations where the United States under General Ham in Africa Command is in charge," Gortney responded.

Ironic given what we mentioned in another thread -- Ham, Africa (!).

mesquito said...

A pub in Lubbock? That's sad.

Anga2010 said...

how so?

Maguro said...

Because HRC associates American leadership with the dreaded Bush "unilateralism" that she and her boss railed against for years. Admitting that US leadership is necessary to get anything done in the Middle East might give someone the idea that George W Bush was right about a thing or two. Cant't have that.

PS - If our goal isn't to get rid of Qaddafi...what is it?

Lem said...

Has a president ever gone abroad at the start of an American led war?

Its sort of like if I'm not in the WH I cant be held responsible if anything goes wrong.

Browndog said...

You cannot even begin to post inconsistent statements...

I have posed but one question on several blogs:

How do you define "civilians".

Directly, how does the U.N. define
them?

crickets.

vbspurs said...

Lem wrote:

Its sort of like if I'm not in the WH I cant be held responsible if anything goes wrong.

Joe Biden is in charge. What could possibly go wrong?

traditionalguy said...

The point that Obama has made is to establish it as a precedent to ignore the Congress in DC and pass his authorization for war over at the UN Building in NYC. Bush did both as have every GOP President. Maybe Obama knows something we don't know about the UN superseding that Constitution thingee.

edutcher said...

So we have two rather high up people giving very conflicting views of what's happening.

If the Hildabeast is trying to make everybody think we're not leading, it isn't working. If she's trying to CYA herself or the Administration with the idea that "We only wanted to be in a supporting role but the generals took over", it's really not working.

And, no, I don't think this is a deception op. They're usually better organized than this.

So, again, what's our objective?

Regime change?

No-fly zone?

Get Khadaffy?

I have a feeling you'll get different answers from different people.

And that ought to scare everybody.

Almost Ali said...

But why would the Secretary of State step onto the world stage and announce, 'We did not lead this'?

Clever by half.

They have three choices: Kill Gaddafi and be done with it; 2) Don't kill Gaddafi and have this new war drag on interminably. 3) Choose door #2 and blame it on the French/Arabs.

I haven't factored in Hillary selling what's left her soul to get the big basket-baller to sign the action order.

Lem said...

"We did not lead this"

Obama polled the "no fly zone".

PETER V. BELLA said...

What is really funny is the liberals in congress are in a lather and froth over this new war. Kucinich even used the I word- impeach.

Obama is getting it from both sides. A mild rebuke by the GOP and a shot across the bow by his own party.

No wonder he fled to Brazil. How do you say flee bagger in Portugese?

Third Coast said...

If after "days, not weeks" of bombing, Kadaffy is still in power and thumbing his nose at us, what will happen? Obama will look even more impotent than people already think he is. At the least, I believe Obama (Hillary?) has to make sure Kadaffy is taking a dirt nap when all is said and done.

Henry said...

It's not like there's any cover out there by equivocating.

This is why I have opposed this effort. Half measures are half-assed. Full measures should not be undertaken without a serious commitment to the long run.

It looks to me like we're going to get half-measures without any serious commitment.

Anga2010 said...

Let me tell you all about the road to victory. We need ground troops to oust the regime, it cannot be done otherwise.
The regime is hiring mercenaries to do the killing as it has not enough loyal troops to do the job. We need to hire those mercs!
It really is that simple.

Coketown said...

The whole situation has been odd. The Europeans felt a sense of Moral Urgency about the whole situation, but Obama shrank away. He then deferred to the UN, thinking history would repeat itself and he'd be given a few more months to dawdle, but no--the normally glacial machinery of the United Nations moved rather quickly. So with everyone's cards down he punted the action to Hilary and shrank away completely. His infidelity to his own rhetoric will be called 'nuance' and his inability to lead will be called 'pragmatism.' But against his own judgment he's done two things: Reasserted America's position as global leader (else why couldn't the Europeans proceed without us?), and proven that Hilary has a bigger set of balls dangling between her legs than he ever will.

The whole spectacle has been a farce.

David said...

"They have three choices: Kill Gaddafi and be done with it; 2) Don't kill Gaddafi and have this new war drag on interminably. 3) Choose door #2 and blame it on the French/Arabs."

Or . . .

Kill him and blame it on someone else.

Lem said...

By taking ground troops off the table isn't Obama signaling to Qaddafi to stand firm? to hole up until its over?

Obama has in effect preemptively prolonged the war.

Hagar said...

The U.S. "unique capabilities" do provide the heavy hammer, but that "we are virtually the only force involved ..." is an overstatement. The French and the Brits were the ones with the fighter aircraft taking out Qhadafi's tanks, etc., and that is no small part of the operations.

This has been a very surprising turn of events, not only for the Obamma administration and internal politics, but also for the other actors involved and Middle East, and indeed International, politcs.

The game now seem to be to have several other Arabic speaking regimes move in on the ground and help Libya establish a "democratic," or at least somehow elected government.

One would hope that "our side" has some rational basis for believing they can make this work, but in any case it should be worth watching.

Whatever happens, the Middle East is not going to be the same after this.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why not go after Qaddafi? Seems like the perfect example of a "Team America: World Police" dicks and assholes situation.

Freeman Hunt said...

The pussies, I suppose, would be the people for whose benefit Clinton would say "We did not lead this."

David said...

By the way, despite his stumbling, there is a good chance Obama will come out smelling like Pete Rose on this thing.

Belkys said...

The Europeans felt a sense of Moral Urgency about the whole situation. Cameron? Yes. Sarkozy? no way, he is losing the polls for the national elections to a neonazi and was defeated today by socialists in the local elections. So he is trying to get votes from the right inflaming nationalism while trying to get votes in the left attacking Japan while people is still recovering.He doest care about the thousand of victims of the earthquake and tidal wave , he needs vote so he doesnt care to take cheap shot at a government thai in it worst is far better then the french, The cowboy style get him the job and is doing it again. And cover up the electoral contributions too

Freeman Hunt said...

He's horrid. A most unlovable tyrant if there ever was one. Who would miss him?

Belkys said...

Why not go after Qaddafi? Joseph Story answered that

vbspurs said...

Two reasons, Freeman.

1) The UN action is there to help the rebels militarily, and not politically. They want them to take care of that themselves, so that it gives immediate authority to Qaddaffi's successor in the eyes of his people and in the Arab world (in other words, it's not some crusader war that leads to Western puppets).

2) If the international community learnt nothing from refusing to go after Saddam Hussein personally in 1991, perhaps they think that an alternative leader of Libya in the region is worse.

I'll go with Number 1. Number 2 is too amateurish, even for Obama.

David said...

Lem said...
"By taking ground troops off the table isn't Obama signaling to Qaddafi to stand firm? to hole up until its over?"

No, it's actually designed to make Quadaffi worry about US ground troops. Obama took no fly zones off the table (via his SECDEF Gates), and then he imposed one. (Do not bullshit me that we did not lead. You CAN NOT impose a no fly zone without American weapons, intelligence, communications and command and control.)

Quadaffi is not stupid. He knows that when Obama says we won't do something, he actually means we will. Or we might. Or just wait and see. Or something.

Lem said...

Back in the 80's Qaddafi was threatening everybody.
After Reagan purposely bombed his castle, the defiant Qaddafi quickly changed his tune.

Qaddafi is a coward.

Obama may (its not too late to change strategy) have failed to take advantage of that.

David said...

"Whatever happens, the Middle East is not going to be the same after this."

So true. It will have more bomb craters.

Maguro said...

By the way, despite his stumbling, there is a good chance Obama will come out smelling like Pete Rose on this thing.

So Obama's going to end up smelling like bourbon and cheap cigars?

I don't think the women in his life are going to be happy with that.

David said...

"After Reagan purposely bombed his castle . . . "

I thought it was a tent, but that's just a detail I suppose.

Lem said...

He slept in a tent outside, thereby saving himself.

David said...

Maguro, my point exactly.

David said...

The old castle tent ruse.

Clever.

Even fooled the Gipper.

Lem said...

BTW.. Obama has learned nothing from Reagan.

Hagar said...

At the time Reagan bombed Qhadafi, I had the impression it was meant more as a warning to Hafiz Assad to pull in his horns or else, which it also appeared that he did.

I am wondering a little if this might also be meant to warn Iran that we can too take on one more war if we have to.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Without American ground forces the conflict can't be resolved with Gaddafi gone. With a no-fly zone in place it can't be resolved in Gaddafi's favor. We're going to see an east-wast stalemate and a quagmire for Obama.

Browndog said...

Freeman Hunt said...

He's horrid. A most unlovable tyrant if there ever was one. Who would miss him?

HUH?

Barry or Mu'ammar?

Everybody is loved by somebody...however horrid as it seems.

the least unlovable tyrants we can work with......

Sixty Grit said...

Yet another mismanaged democrat war. Those idiots can't even kill despots correctly.

Still waiting for anti-war protests here - those were real big 8 years ago.

Freeman Hunt said...

I was referring to The Daffy.

Browndog said...

The driving force is not Hillary.

Samantha Powers.

Married to Cass Sunstein..


Google is your friend.

peter hoh said...

Iowahawk tweeted: Barack Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined

peter hoh said...

mesquito: here's Powell.

rhhardin said...

We've been spared an Obama speech explaining the decision, so far.

I assume that Ghaddafi didn't pay his drug bill.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Freeman Hunt: He's horrid. A most unlovable tyrant if there ever was one. Who would miss him?

With Qaddafi gone, every leader in the region loses the ability to say, "at least I'm not as bad as him".

Bumsurf said...

There are only two possible outcomes of this adventure: 1) Ghaddafi survives and plots/executes revenge against the Crusaders or 2) the Islamist rebels replace Ghaddafi and continue pursuing their version of the worldwide Caliphate. Either way, we'll soon regret this intervention, while Obama will BS his way out of taking responsibility for anything that happens no matter the outcome.

Phil 3:14 said...

Because of America's unique capabilities, it is in fact leading the Libyan effort

Isn't it always thus.

OK UK how many ships can we count on from you? Two?.....OK well that's a start. France, how 'bout you, what do you got? .....OK 10 fighter jets OK so we're building up? Italy? OK yeah we do need food but I was focusing on firepower for now.....
Germany? What, they're not coming to this party. Shit! Well at least we got the Arab League to run political interference for us.....Uh what was that? They're saying 'too much'..already!... What the f**k!!!

(turning to American forces) OK guys you know the drill, lets get started. Just remember for the cameras its COALITION

Seven Machos said...

Bumsurf -- When the GDP of the worldwide caliphate reaches the level of, say, Indiana, you let us know.

In the mean time, I urge you to cut back on the Glenn Beck. Just a thought.

Phil 3:14 said...

And who said, neo-conservatism was dead?

Joe said...

Theater of the absurd; instead of trying to kill or detain the one person who is the problem, we kill a lot of people, including innocents, in the hopes that one person might be collateral damage. Actually, this isn't absurd, it's immoral.

Lucien said...

The US does have unique capabilities in several areas. It can provide AWACS support that our allies lack, launch cruise missile attacks, and, in proper cases (maybe not Libya) provide heavy airlift capabilities beyond those of allied nations.

That does not mean we will be leading every effort to which we contribute some of those abilities.

Whether that empirically turns out to be the case regarding Libya is another story.

Also, we hate to put any of our forces under the command of some foreigner.

Carl said...

Authority and also the responsibility is good on the US command,about the United States is not only leading the Libya operation,and the features about this and the thinking is also useful for the people,and the command is good because this event have some great abilities and wonderful capabilities.
_______________________________
Dissertation

damikesc said...

Kirby, the Arab League has decided that what we are doing is not what they want. Took a whole 24 hrs to get them off board...which is why we should've stayed out and made THEM enforce a no fly zone.

We will be the bad guys presently.

Fen said...

And few Americans would want U.S. forces to go into combat under anything other than U.S. command.

The blackhawk that went down in Somolia, it took the UN clusterfuck 8 HOURS to manage a rescue effort. A US command would have had a TRAP mission in play in 8 minutes.

Fen said...

Just remember for the cameras its COALITION

Yup. Like the Paki troops. They never came out of their compound. In fact, they sent their sick lame and lazy to the fight. We actually had to spend food and medical resources intended for starving Somolis on them.

damikesc said...

The US should stay out of all of these ME uprisings as there are not likely any "good guys" here.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

FTA:"Later, a reporter asked: "Can you specify how many British ships were involved compared to the U.S. ships?"

"We had one British submarine," Gortney said.

"And the rest were all U.S.?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Gortney's briefing made clear that the United States is not only leading the Libya operation but is virtually the only force involved in the operation."

KLDAVIS said...

We've always been at war with Eastasia, depending on the definitions of we, have, always, war and Eastasia.

Ankur said...

"we did not lead this" - note the tense - past perfect, not present continuous.

That observation makes it clear, to me at least, that the reference is to the UN resolution which was led by the french, of which the US was a co-sponsor. So, even though the US is militarily leading it, politically it was France that applied the initial pressure.

dissertation said...

Clinton's two key statements: 'We did not lead this' and 'America has unique capabilities' are not consistent with each other. <--
that's what i was looking for
Writing a Dissertation