by Michael Barone at Townhall.com
“This is not a war of choice,” Barack Obama told the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 17. “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9-11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaida would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.”
But that was nearly seven weeks ago. Now, it appears that Obama is about to ignore the advice of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whom he installed as commander in Afghanistan in May, after relieving his predecessor ahead of schedule. McChrystal, who came up as a Special Forces officer, is an expert in counterinsurgency. Not surprisingly, in his Aug. 30 report to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he recommended a course that seems certain to require a substantial number of additional troops.
During the first three weeks of September, Obama held one meeting on the “war of necessity.” Then, on Sept. 20, Obama appeared on five talk shows to push his health plan. The next day, Bob Woodward published a story in The Washington Post based on a copy of McChrystal’s report, which the newspaper later posted in redacted form. Woodward made it clear that McChrystal would request more troops. When questioners pressed him about the war, he said he was rethinking his Afghanistan strategy.
The rethinking looks a lot like a rejection of his general’s recommendations. McChrystal said last week that he had spoken to Obama exactly once since he was appointed. But many people, notably Vice President Biden, seemed to be speaking against his recommendation in a three-hour meeting Obama held with advisers on Thursday, Oct. 1.
A quarter century ago, Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi served as the Osama Bin Laden of the time. Brazenly sponsoring acts of terror against the US and other Western countries, he was responsible for the deaths of many Americans. Ronald Reagan described him in these terms, “…Qaddafi was an unpredictable fanatic. He believed any act, no matter how vicious or cold-blooded, was justified to further his goals.”
Any head-of-state embracing the recently released convicted killer in the Pan Am flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland would have been offensive to those of us who remember the wave of terror attacks against the US that culminated in 9/11. But for Qaddafi, who sponsored the killings, to publicly embrace Abdel Baset al-Megrahi upon his release is even more disturbing, especially when one considers how the Libyan leader had been distancing himself from terror against the US for decades.
After Qaddafi sponsored the bombing of a Berlin night club in an attack targeting US servicemen, President Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of military targets in Libya that included the leader’s compound. Though he didn’t renounce terrorism at that point, he was humbled to say the least. He retreated to the desert, living in a tent as a Bedouin after he realized how vulnerable he was to American military power.
Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi almost immediately volunteered to give up his age old pursuit of nuclear weapons and renounce terrorism. Though the dictator hadn’t been a prominent director on the terrorism stage since Reagan nearly obliterated him, he had never given up his pursuit to make Libya a nuclear power. US willingness to stand up to those who threaten or attack us convinced him.
Though it was a long, slow process, Qaddafi was clearly retreating from sponsoring or embracing terror and had come a long way in the process of bringing his country to a respectable status. Then this. The embrace of a convicted terrorist on camera for all the world to see.
Talk about turning back time! How did this happen?
Just last year, then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice paid an historic visit to the north African country and announced the relationship between Libya and the US “has been moving in a good direction for a number of years now.” Now the dictator of 40 years honors the convicted killer of innocent women and children in an obvious show of respect for the murderer and his crime.
Weak-kneed liberals won’t understand how this happened, but bullies and dictators can only be controlled when they know there’s a real danger of their being defeated. Reagan’s flexing of American muscle sent Qaddafi to ground, hiding in his desert tent surrounded by his camels and goats. He popped his head up once in a while to rail against the US, but didn’t show it long for fear of having it shot off. Bush II made a believer of the Libyan leader when the US overthrew Hussein. For all of Qaddafi’s bluster, he always knew he didn’t stand a chance against us if we ever made up our minds to take him out. So he opted for self-preservation by turning from his evil ways that had made him our enemy for so long.
All of the respect built over the past three decades may now be fading fast as President Obama grovels at the feet of two-bit dictators around the third world, bows to foreign kings, and even denigrates our country abroad. Obama claims his foreign policy will result in better relationships with countries around the world. However, Qaddafi’s reversal and renewed support of a known terrorist lends credence to the hypothesis of the President’s critics–that demonstrating weakness will only embolden those who wish to do us harm.
After all, since Obama took office, Qaddafi has not only watched the US President wreak havoc on respect for America in the world, but he’s seen previously controlled tyrants slap the world’s most powerful country square in the face and get away with it. The Libyan dictator must have wondered why he’d acquiesced on the weapons of mass destruction issue when Kim Jong-Il’s nuclear tests and missile launches earned him nothing more than a slap on the wrist. And Qaddafi likely regretted turning his back on his terrorist allies when he watched Obama ignore those who stood and died in an effort to bring democracy and freedom to the world’s best known state sponsor of terror.
In short, he’s lost the respect for the US that previously encouraged him to give up his evil ways and tow the line that had begun to earn Libya a place among lawful nations.
Thanks to President Obama and his feeble foreign policy, we may once again suffer at the hand of a Libya that aids and abets those who seek to destroy us.