Our most ridiculous war

by nkronos on March 21, 2011

Given we are led by a President who thinks publicly filling out his NCAA bracket and golfing are high duties of office, it comes as no surprise that when committing our forces to yet a third front in the Middle East he immediately flies to Brazil to play street soccer. While bending it like ‘Bama in Rio, the Big 0 left explaining what the hell we are doing in Libya and how long we’ll be there to everyone else–mostly the British, as it turns out. Just as the Most Disinterested Man in the world hates to look like an executive leader rather than mere head of state–he would make a fine constitutional monarch, in fact–he appears disinclined to want the United States itself to lead the international scene.

Hence the continuing spectacle of insisting we’re not leading or at least we’ll transfer leadership soon when plainly the US–even while bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan–is still the only Western power capable of commanding the main offensive action against Khadafy. Nor is that the only contradictory story coming out of a conflict with the double-speak goal of mounting a war to prevent civilian casualties. British Foreign Secretary William Hague claims that aim to be “nothing more, nothing less” than the end game in Libya, when clearly such a mission would have no end game at all.

Then there is the matter of Mr. Khadafy himself and whether or not he is a legitimate target–the Khadafy who only recently was a hero in UN chambers and a staunch admirer of President Obama. One might easily have the perception that this society of admiration was at least somewhat mutual, although not as brothers-in-arms as Obama-Chavez, the latter appearing almost fist-bump-worthy.

Is Khadafy a target? Depends on whom you ask, yet his compound has been struck by attacking missiles. If unhappy accident caused such a strike, then such lack of accuracy makes the goal of protecting civilian life even more nebulous. The missiles, however, have plenty of reason for their confusion: the British Chief of Defense Staff has ruled offing Khadafy out (“Absolutely not”), saying it exceeds the UN mandate, while civilian leadership is not so sure. Both Hague and the Defense Secretary Liam Fox appear ready to give it a go.

Even the name reinforces the stupid boondoggle upon which we are engaged: Odyssey Dawn, which I suspect will change shortly, as it sounds nothing so much as the nom de guerre of a woman of ill repute. “I spent last night in Odyssey’s bed and woke up at the crack of Dawn.”

Our own President–who, as posted previously, thought as recently as the last election what he is doing is unconstitutional–faces only minimal opposition thus far from mainstream American politicians, who more and more resemble the ossified Politboro of the Brezhnev years: any traces of courage they have left devoted to the service of keeping their phoney-baloney jobs. Only the usually dismissed suspects like Kucinich and Nader recall their positions during the Bush administration and feel compelled to offer even a pretense of consistency.

Secretary Clinton, who seems to be growing tired of prowling the deck of the good ship Obama and waiting for her turn to be cast overboard, must be intelligent enough to realize that she, too, is vulnerable to petard hoisting. In 2008 she said in an address to Congress:

Our democratic institutions, under our Constitution, balance one another and check against excesses and concentrations of power that help us wrestle with difficult challenges in an open and forthright way….That is the genius of our American system and our constitutional duty. We have witnessed these past six years– until the most recent election of a new Congress by the American people– the cost of congressional dereliction of its oversight duty, a vital role entrusted to Congress by our constituents, enshrined in, and even required by our Constitution….

President Bush must not be allowed to act without the authority and oversight of Congress. It would be a mistake of historical proportion if the Administration thought that the 2002 resolution authorizing force against Iraq was a blank check for the use of force against Iran without further Congressional authorization. Nor should the President think that the 2001 resolution authorizing force after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in any way, authorizes force against Iran. If the Administration believes that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.

That the American people have grown so used to sending our forces cavalierly abroad in search of monsters to slay and with complete disregard to American national interest, they have the President and other leadership they deserve. They, too, prefer filling out their NCAA bracket to understanding anything more about this conflict we are now committed to than “Khadafy, he a bad man”–which he, of course is…in a world full of bad men. It is a world in which the governments of Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain have all killed protesting civilians just in the last week.

Our government cannot confront its own very real problems, both foreign and domestic, so like Argentina’s misguided foray in the Falkands, it expends what little remaining strength it has raining pointless missile barrages on Tripoli. We imitate the aging man who, unable to do anything about his declining youth, achieves fleeting satisfaction through a quick adventure with an exotic woman capable of stroking our manly ego and need to feel heroic, never mind the morning’s consequences.

Our best urges lack all conviction while our worst are full of passionate intensity.

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