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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Obama's Libyan Success

Below is a comment that I submitteed for posting on Juan Cole's "Informed Comment" site last night. It was in response to an item he published on how Michael Dorn, the clearly rainbow actor who plays Worf, one of the assisting characters on the Starship Enterprise bridge, is promoting the idea of making a film in which Worf is the main character and a full-fledged Starship Captain. Cole sees this as being a reflection of Obama's deeds, and in the process he makes interesting comparisons of Obama's approaches to things with those of Worf in past Star Trek episodes.

Mr. Cole, you didn't mention Obama's actions re: the Libyan uprising. Yet I can't see why the way Obama handled the U.S.'s role in those events can't be seen as having most likely been his finest foreign policy achievement to date. I would even put that above the summary execution of Osama Bin Laden without interrogation or trial of any kind. I'm sorry, but I never saw the virtue of that. You don't get much out of villains when you kill them on the spot without hearing what they have to say for themselves, which could conceivably have value of some kind. And after all, Bin Laden had already had 10 years to savor his victories in NYC and D.C. and to observe how the GWBush reactions merely intensified the effects of his work, so that taking his life had become essentially meaningless when it came to taking anything from him. Bin Laden might have quoted from an old blues song: "I have had my fun, if I don't get well no more."

In Libya, while wasting a minimum of time, at first Obama took an active hand, and then, after a few days he stepped quietly back while letting other NATO countries, especially Britain and France, assume the leadership and do the heavy lifting, while he supported them with intelligence and other assistance from afar, and there can be no doubt that thereby a slaughter of Libyan citizens was averted that would have been much like what happened later in Syria.

By your own testimony from visits there-- and the stuff you say always has the ring of truth -- today things in Libya are not that bad, despite a few burps here and there. Yet people, predictably mostly the Reglubs, either would like to pretend that Obama's Libyan intervention never happened, lest he be credited with a foreign policy victory, or they attack the money that it cost, though that was small change compared to what was spent on Iraq, not to mention Afghanistan and Israel and what the hawks would now like to see spent on Iran, though so far Iran's threat isn't even "existential," despite the constant over-use of that pompous word.

Obama is also castigated for having left Congress out of his decision. I think we could easily get a majority vote that that "horrible" omission alone gave Obama's Libya venture all the appearance of having been the smartest thing he has done so far.


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