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3/22/2011
WHY I’M SUPPORTING MY PRESIDENT

In a word - it’s complicated.

First and foremost, I am supporting the president because he is Commander in Chief and he has taken the United States to war. He didn’t take the Obama administration to war, or the Democratic party, or (many) liberals. He has taken the country to war - my country, our country. If we have disagreements - and believe me, I’ve got a ton - they can wait until after the war is over and won.

Simple minded? Sure. Blindly nationalistic? You bet. But I believe that if you begin to question the leader of our country about a decision he has made to commit the armed forces of the United States to battle, placing our children and neighbor’s children in harm’s way, you do nothing to alter that decision and only serve the purpose of the enemy to divide us at exactly the time we must be united.

It’s that simple now, it was that simple for Bush and Iraq, Clinton and Kosovo, Bush 41 and Kuwait, Reagan and Grenada, and on back to FDR and World War II. There may come a time where raising questions no longer primarily aids the enemy but would seek to save the country from its own stupidity as was done with Vietnam. But we are far, far from that point and doubt whether we need to worry about Libya in that regard.

I hasten to add that this is a personal view and does not mean I am calling those of you who disagree with the president’s decision traitors and anti-American. Each must search their consciences and find their own answers. But this simple, declarative notion that when the US goes to war, the nation stands behind the president and the armed forces is such a no-brainer I am having a hard time understanding the virulence of the opposition.

Much has been made about the hypocrisy of the president as his opposition to the “rush to war” in Iraq and other statements he made in the past has now come back to bite him. Who cares? After the war has been won, we can gleefully throw it all back in his face and watch him stutter like a schoolboy trying to defend himself. For now, on a list of important issues regarding the war in Libya, it is all the way at the bottom. It matters not a whit in supporting a man who needs a united nation to carry through to victory.

But beyond the practical reason of getting behind the president, there is the existential notion that America is “it” as far as the modern world’s policeman goes, and while we sometimes have a choice in where and how to throw our weight around, those choices are limited when confronted by the stark reality that innocents are at risk. It is a fact that when slaughter is threatened, nobody thinks of calling France, or Russia, or China, or even Great Britain. They dial the international calling code of “001″ - and America usually responds, Thus has it ever been so, and will continue to be. No amount of wishful thinking by the left that hanging with the rest of the world is the path to being loved will change this singular fact of existence.

They hate us for it no matter what we do, of course. We are usually heavy handed about it, going in and smashing things, and not being very delicate about it. We whine when no one appreciates what we’ve done. We bitch about how much it costs, how no other nation is pulling its weight in these “international coalitions” we keep forming to make us feel as if we are acting with the rest of the world. The truth is less appealing; we bear most of the brunt, most of the cost, and almost all the casualties while our “partners” kibitz on the sidelines criticizing everything we do.

We are not “First Among Equals” as President Obama is finding out and President Clinton discovered more than a decade ago. Both men sought to sincerely limit American involvement in the troubles of the world. Both sought to hand off responsibility for stepping into crisis situations to the United Nations and other, regional security bodies. This worked out badly. Rwandan genocide, Bosnian rape camps, Kosovo ethnic cleansing - either the UN or NATO fell flat on its face addressing those tragedies. It wasn’t until Clinton stepped up and put the US military out front that Bosnia was pacified and Kosovo saved from a terrible fate. By the time the world was ready to get its act together for Rwanda, it was too late for 800,000 Tutsi tribesmen. Clinton regrets to this day that he didn’t act with the few nations who were willing to try and prevent catastrophe.

All of our good intentions about internationalism and multi-lateral agreements came a cropper because the world order is not set up to be a touchy-feely place of international harmony and good will. It is a cold, hard, brutal, planet of thugs, crazy men, and oppressive autocrats who only understand the point of the sword. What few democratically inclined nations there are realistically find themselves drawn to the US orbit as an insurance policy against the darkness the thugs represent. They know better than to place their faith and trust for survival in the hands of the United Nations. They may as well ask the Tooth Fairy for an alliance if that were the case.

The vitriolic anti-American rhetoric used by most countries is for show. How do we know? When the Arab League passed their resolution last week asking the UN for help with Libya, can anyone doubt that they didn’t believe that America would be in the lead in any force that went into save the rebels, and innocent civilians? The most virulent, blood curdling anti-American rhetoric from Arab states can’t mask the sober logic of power politics; if you want something done, done quickly, and be sure that the invading crusader will leave when the job is done, you’ve got one choice.

I realize President Obama’s intent is to “hand off” responsibility for this campaign to the French and British in a “few days.” That’s the plan and I have every reason to believe him when he says he wants to do this. But if the goal is to “protect civilians” - that is the UN mandate - how is this to be done if the rebels come up short (a near certainty given the paucity of heavy arms compared to Gaddafi’s forces) and Gaddafi remains in power?

A physical buffer of troops are going to be necessary to protect civilians from the wrath of an aroused Gaddafi. We have already seen evidence of what happens when Gaddafi’s forces retake a town that had been held by the rebels. The foreign mercenaries move in and begin the process of cleansing the town of rebels and their sympathizers. No one knows how many have already been killed but we can expect this to be repeated in hundreds of towns and cities if Gaddafi is allowed to stay in power. Is the UN going to put troops in every town and city in Libya? What will be their rules of engagement? Will the be able to intervene to save civilians?

As it stands now, regime change is not on the menu. But as a practical matter, there can be no other outcome if the UN’s mandate of “protecting civilians” is to be fulfilled. In the end, the coalition will have to go in and physically remove the tyrant or risk having their efforts come to naught. Stopping short of regime change will give Gaddafi a victory, strengthen his position, and allow him to slaughter his people at his own leisure.

Can President Obama possibly turn down his coalition partners when it comes to removing Gaddafi? He’s already committed the US to war, and while his best intentions are to keep American ground troops out of the fray, a scenario is taking shape where, like Clinton in Kosovo who also promised no ground troops but was ready to commit them if Milosevic refused to step down, Obama will probably be forced into sending in our boys.

Unless we get lucky and Gaddafi’s own people take him out, or the rebels can be united and supplied with heavy weapons to challenge the pro-Gaddafi forces, there will be a moment of truth where Obama will feel the tap on the shoulder and history will demand he act.

When he does, I will still be behind him, supporting him because he’s the only president we’ve got and while I might wish he had acted differently, we’ve got to back his play to the end.

By: Rick Moran at 10:54 am
One Response to “WHY I’M SUPPORTING MY PRESIDENT”
  1. 1
    Is Dissent Permissible During Wartime? Pinged With:
    12:50 pm 

    [...] Moran explains why he’s supporting the President’s decision to involve U.S. forces in the current Unite… and, in part, he makes this point: First and foremost, I am supporting the president because he is [...]

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