Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Obama’s late conversion on Libya

Jerry Stratton, March 22, 2011

Lying about your opponents does sometimes come back to haunt you. Sometimes your allies start believing your lies are possible. One of the most pernicious lies of the 2002-2008 Bush era was that Bush went to war unilaterally—he didn’t even ask Congress for approval1. Even Senator Byrd skirted around claiming this in Losing America. Perhaps Obama went to war in Libya without approval because he believed those lies, and figured, hey, if that’s a presidential power I can do it too.

It’s even more egregious because Obama could have gotten approval. He could have had approval over three weeks ago when the rebels still controlled most of the country and Gaddafi looked like he was seriously considering just leaving the country. All he had to do was ask House and Senate leaders to bring it up for a vote.

Gabriel Malor has a different theory that Obama wasn’t ignorant, just indifferent. That the reason he never asked for authorization for military intervention is that he never planned to use it, until the last minute when he started looking bad compared to France and the State Department.2 And by then there really was no time.

Evil is often just a matter of putting off the right decision until the only option left is the wrong one. When Obama chose to speak softly and do nothing, Gaddafi’s reaction was the reaction of a tyrant who did not expect anyone to oppose him. The mere act of the President requesting authorization for military action against Gaddafi’s air force would have been a significant blow to his dictatorship, and would probably have convinced him to leave. Fewer rebels would have died and there would have been less collateral damage from Allied attacks—because there would have been fewer Allied attacks necessary.

Congressional authorization is important not just because we want a yes or no on going to war. It’s because we want to know the scope, cost, and reasons. We want a national discussion, even if it’s one that only takes one or two days. We definitely want a discussion among our representatives.

  1. And that the approval Congress did give him was not really legal, if it even comes up.

  2. Seriously. You’re looking like more of a pussy than France and the State Department? Dude.

  1. <- Palin: reward success
  2. Forfeitures encourage trafficking ->