The Government simply cannot make up their mind, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.-- Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936It might help to explain why Obama banished the bust of Winston Churchill from the White House (in addition to his other early snubs of the British) when you consider that the above quote by Churchill, made in reference to the weak and waffling Baldwin government in the run up to World War II might just as well be made about Obama.
Since writing yesterday's post describing how Obama is very content to abdicate U.S. leadership in the world we have seen new evidence of the consequences such action brings.
At a press conference in El Salvador on Tuesday Obama declared: "We will continue to support the efforts to protect the Libyan people, but we will not be leading them." This raises the question: who will lead if the U.S. will not?
The British newspaper The Daily Mail asks: Who's in Charge? The Mail goes on to chronicle the withdrawal of German support, the threat by the Italians to do the same. The headline in the German newspaper Der Spiegel is 'Gadhafi Is Facing a Coalition of the Unwilling' in an article that goes on to cite how coalition members cannot agree among themselves what their objective is, mostly centering around whether Khaddafi should be removed from power. In the U.S. the Washington Times reports:
“NATO is in complete disarray,” James Ludes, director of the think tank the American Security Project, told The Washington Times. “Everyone seems to have a different idea about what this is and where it is going.” If the world leaders cannot reach an agreement, “we will be left holding the baby,” Mr. Ludes said.Defense Sec. Gates Admits We Are Making It Up "On the Fly"
The people who wanted Obama as President because he would be different from George Bush sure got their way with this one. Before going into both Afghanistan and Iraq President Bush assembled a broad based coalition with clear command authority and goals BEFORE starting the attack. There was no question who was in charge and what their mission was. No one can say that regarding the Libya alliance.
On a trip to Moscow, Secretary of Defense Bill Gates seemed to be ignorant of recent history when he spoke of the Libya coalition saying: “This command-and-control business is complicated, and we haven’t done something like this kind of on-the-fly before.” Perhaps he should call his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld and ask him how it's done.
Obama wasted three weeks dithering over whether to set up the no fly zone in Libya. All that time he could have spent working out a clear understanding with our allies was apparently spent golfing, fundraising and picking winners in basketball.
Obama: Don't Worry, We'll Fix It
During his remarks in El Salvador, Obama promised that all the questions of who is in charge and what is the mission would be answered in a few days. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass found that a bit hard to swallow:
On Tuesday, Obama was asked about these command issues. It wasn't a trick. It should have been expected. He stood there, and he opened his mouth.
"I would expect that over the next several days you will have clarity and a meeting of the minds of all those who are participating in the process," Obama said.
We'll have clarity in a few days?
Clarity in a few days, Mr. President?
You don't wait to find clarity a few days after you begin a war. You'd better have complete clarity before you ever give the order to fire in the first place.
Days after ordering the launch of cruise missiles at around $1 million a pop isn't the time to find clarity, Mr. President.
Days after you bomb a country — even one run by a murderous psychopath like Moammar Gadhafi — isn't the time to begin searching for clarity.
The president must find clarity before beginning such an enterprise. To do otherwise is to risk not only American lives and his own presidency and political fortunes, but to risk America's future security and its place among nations.
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I suppose at this point it doesn't do much good to remind Obama voters once again that many of us warned them about the consequences of electing an inexperienced and unqualified man as President. But just for the record, we did make that warning. And now, unfortunately, as we are being proved right yet again the damage to this country's position in the world is mounting.
The good news is that the damage cannot continue much longer. In less than two years we have the opportunity to begin restoring sanity to our national security as well as our domestic security policy.
2012 can't come soon enough!