How Gadhafi's fall vindicated Obama and RtoP
National Security Council Senior Director Samantha Power led the drafting of PSD-10, the Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities. (Getty Images)
August 29th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

How Gadhafi's fall vindicated Obama and RtoP

Editor's Note: Stewart Patrick is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security.

By Stewart Patrick, Foreign Affairs

The fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is a significant foreign policy triumph for U.S. President Barack Obama. By setting overall strategy while allowing others to shoulder the burden of implementing it, the Obama administration achieved its short-term objective of stopping Gadhafi's atrocities and its long-term one of removing him from power. This was all done at a modest financial cost, with no U.S. troops on the ground, and zero U.S. casualties. Meanwhile, as the first unambiguous military enforcement of the Responsibility to Protect norm, Gadhafi's utter defeat seemingly put new wind in the sails of humanitarian intervention.

One must be careful, however, not to overdraw lessons from the Libyan experience. It was a unique case and is unlikely to be repeated.

For one, Libya had Gadhafi, a villain straight from central casting, who had managed to alienate nearly all UN member states, including his erstwhile Arab and African allies.

The timing was also perfect. As the UN, NATO, and United States debated intervention, leaders in the Middle East were still reeling from the Arab Spring. Acutely aware of the vulnerability of their own regimes, the members of the Arab League, Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Gulf Cooperation Council all endorsed the UN's declaration of a no-fly zone over Libya, including the use of "all necessary means" to prevent mass atrocities.

In addition, China and Russia, the two permanent members of the Security Council (UNSC) most averse to authorizing military intervention under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, had no special relationship with, or interests in, Libya. So, they had no reason to veto a collective action. Moreover, Libya is a small country, with a population of only 6.4 million, which is concentrated along a fairly narrow strip of land by the Mediterranean. Thus, the logistics of military intervention promised to be less daunting there than it would have in Sudan, for example, which is fifty percent larger, almost seven times as populous, and has hundreds of thousands soldiers under arms. And since Libya is situated on Europe's doorstep, NATO and the EU were more motivated to provide aerial power and political support for the mission, since regional instability and a wave of refugees would effect them. The country also possessed a credible, fairly cohesive, and increasingly capable opposition movement, which provided the ground force that casualty-averse Western governments would not. These rebels ultimately proved able to defeat Gadhafi's military machine.

Finally, Libya was an unambiguous case for applying the RtoP doctrine. To be sure, the atrocities Gadhafi orchestrated in Libya prior to the intervention pale in comparison to those committed during the course of other recent violent conflicts. In Sri Lanka, for example, the government killed thousands of civilians while finishing off the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. And forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have raped tens - or perhaps hundreds - of thousands of women over the past decade to sow terror. Gadhafi's violent crackdown on this spring's protests and his explicit promise to "have no mercy and pity" on residents of Benghazi, the opposition stronghold, also left little ambiguity. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted in March, "left unchecked, Gadhafi will commit unspeakable atrocities."

Read: Obama's Options in Damascus

Gadhafi's ouster may vindicate the RtoP idea, but the application of the norm will inevitably remain selective and highly contingent on the political context. The humanitarian imperative is a strong and growing global impulse, but statecraft is still subject to constraints of geopolitics, resources and political will.

What has been most striking in the Libyan case is the Obama administration's vocal leadership in seeking to consolidate RtoP as a vital global norm - a stark contrast to the lukewarm attitude of the Bush administration. Washington's embrace of RtoP is critical, because the United States is the only country with the power and the credibility to actually enforce it.

Lest one imagine that the Libyan case is a one-off, on August 4 the Obama administration released the Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities (PSD-10). The directive defines the prevention of mass atrocities as both "a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States." PSD-10 is a groundbreaking document and represents a huge victory for National Security Council Senior Director Samantha Power, a leading administration hawk on Libya.

The PSD-10 recognizes a simple truth: The United States will inevitably confront atrocities that cannot be ignored. The directive expands the menu of policy options available in such cases, which should range from complete inaction to sending in the marines. This escalatory ladder is meant to encompass preventive diplomacy, economic and financial sanctions, arms embargoes, and ultimately coercive action.

Realist critics have bemoaned it as a blueprint for interventionism run amok, anticipating meddling in foreign conflicts on a grand Wilsonian scale. But an honest evaluation of the directive should be informed by the United States' previous experience with RtoP; given the country's sorry record in actually confronting mass atrocities - in the killing fields of Cambodia and the bloody hills of Rwanda, to name just two - the realist critique seems off base. Indeed, the far greater risk is that the directive will gather dust on a shelf, while the United States and the international community ignore the victims of atrocities.

Read: Libyan Nation Building After Gadhafi.

Ultimately, the fate of the PSD-10, and perhaps of the RtoP norm itself, will depend on the attitudes of future U.S. presidents and the American people. Will they be willing to devote resources, and potentially lives, to address the suffering of strangers? The question is, in part, a moral one: What obligations does the United States have to those living beyond its borders? It is also a strategic one: How does a policymaker weigh the potential benefits of an intervention (in terms of lives saved) against the costs to the United States (including in the lives of its own soldiers).

There is no easy answer to this question. In the late nineteenth century, Bismarck famously remarked that the entirety of the Balkans was not worth the bones of a single "Pomeranian grenadier." A century later, NATO dithered before summoning the will to intervene in Bosnia and Kosovo, and the United States pulled out of Somalia after the deaths of eighteen U.S. Army Rangers.

Now, two decades later, no senior official in the Obama administration nor member of Congress has issued a call for intervention in Somalia to assist the delivery of emergency food aid, as that country faces its worst famine in decades. Al Shabaab, a U.S. designated terrorist organization, controls the vast majority of drought-affected areas and is obstructing the delivery of foreign aid. Without assistance, 3.2 million Somalis will likely die. The United States' silence on Somalia contrasts starkly with its policy on Libya.

The United States will remain selective about humanitarian intervention, because it must balance the goal of preventing suffering with other interests and commitments, and because some conflicts, such as anarchic Somalia, are dauntingly complex and would impose unacceptable burdens on well-meaning intervenors.

As Obama has noted, however, that is no excuse for inaction everywhere. Although rigid criteria for involvement are unrealistic, the U.S policy on armed humanitarian intervention should be guided by several principles, which I first outlined in 2004 when I was on the State Department policy planning staff.

First, the United States should set the bar for intervention high. It should be limited to stopping or preventing egregious atrocities –situations in which governments or insurgents are targeting large numbers of civilians with genocide, systematic rape, mass murder, expulsion or other crimes against humanity. There are prudent reasons for this limitation. Sovereignty remains the stabilizing force of the world order - a barrier to global anarchy. In addition, U.S. capacities are finite. Without discipline, its resources could be quickly exhausted.

Second, armed intervention should be an option of last resort. Given the costs, risks, and the unpredictable consequences, it should be employed only when other measures fail or when the speed and scale of atrocities outpaces slower instruments. And then, the mission should be undertaken using means proportional to the conflict, and should be coupled with a realistic long-term political strategy to address the violence's root cause.

Third, multilateral interventions are vastly preferable to unilateral ones. They offer both increased legitimacy and the promise that others will share the load.

Finally, the United States should undertake armed humanitarian intervention only if its leaders are committed to marshaling and sustaining the domestic support required to stay the course even if the going gets rough. Absent enthusiastic public or congressional sentiment in favor of intervention, the president must be ready to lead on his own.

Read: How Iran Keeps Assad in Power in Syria.

When it came to authorizing and conducting the Libya intervention, the Obama administration checked all these boxes. It set the bar high; moved to military force after other expedients had failed; designed a military strategy with good prospects of success, using proportional means; and it forged a broad coalition, legitimated by the UN Security Council. Finally, Obama displayed the political courage to do what was right, sticking with the campaign even as U.S. public support flagged from lukewarm 43 percent in late March to a dangerously low 24 percent by July.

Libya has demonstrated the viability of a well-implemented RtoP intervention. Yet just because the doctrine has survived a significant test, one should not assume that the United States and its allies will apply it universally. As atrocities emerge in other contexts, the international community will need to cultivate and weigh other policy options against armed intervention, so it is not faced with stark choice of military action or inaction. The Obama administration's PSD-10 is a step in that direction.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Stewart Patrick.


soundoff (417 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    The R2P – Responsibility to Protect – norm has been arbitrarily applied. Gaddafi has been toppled because he was an easy target – wayward and isolated. The others, who commit similar atrocities get away with murder. Has Gaddafi's fall got to do with the fact that his good fortune has come to an end? If so, maybe a tarot reader could advise who's next?

    August 29, 2011 at 7:36 am | Reply
    • coodav

      About to say: what the HECK is RtoP. Zero showed up in Google. Thanks for that. Must say, that is a pretty bad editorial gaff.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:41 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        @coodav – RtoP or R2P stands for Responsibility to Protect, a norm which enabled the Western forces to interfere in Libya, as Gaddafi threatened to take vengeance on the rebels in Benghazi in March. This intervention turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Under the pretext of protecting the civilians in Libya against Gaddafi , NATO and its allies aimed at toppling his regime.

        August 29, 2011 at 10:04 am |
      • jcm52

        Paragraph 1:

        "Meanwhile, as the first unambiguous military enforcement of the Responsibility to Protect norm, Gadhafi's utter defeat seemingly put new wind in the sails of humanitarian intervention."

        If you read that and then couldn't figure out what RtoP meant...

        August 29, 2011 at 10:19 am |
      • Julnor

        Normally it is proper writing practice to put an acronymn in parentheses after the first usage of the term to which it applies, ie, responsibility to protect (RtP). Just poor writing and/or poor editing.

        August 29, 2011 at 10:24 am |
      • Norm

        RtoP is explained in the very first paragraph of the article.
        Makes you look quite foolish when you comment without even reading it.
        I personally think the media is getting quite lazy with all these acronyms.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • Bob

        Contrary to the other posters who belittle you for not seeing the connection in the first paragraph, I fault the editor for this confustion. This article was written from the perspective of a professional who should have been more clear what the acronyms neams by writing something like "enforcement of the Responsibility to Protect norm (RtoP) " instead of making one have to "figure it out" by combing up and down to see the connection. I am highly educated and I did not see the connection. That is the fault of the writer and editor, not the public.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
      • Chad

        Agreed, acronyms – no matter how "common" the writer perceives them to be – should always be expanded in their first use, that's one of the most basic rules of writing.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
      • Reality Check

        @coodav, You should try this thing called Google, I did: http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/about-rtop/the-un-and-rtop

        August 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Calvin

        The Right to Protect was mentioned in the first paragraph. This word has been used so often in regard to the Libyan conflict, that maybe it seemed O.K. for the writer to shorten it back into it's acronym in the following paragraphs.

        August 29, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • BillInLA

        google cite, fyi:

        http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/about-rtop

        August 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
      • Ron in USA

        Good job CNN, put up some CFR propoganda, like we don't know what you're all about. Rah Rah, yeah great, we have been funding and training Al-Qaeda (which the mainstream media likes to call "the rebels" like they're good), and now there is a vacuum where Al-Qaeda will take over that country. What a brilliant foriegn policy. And we have had boots on the ground, in the form of special ops and intel, who have now fought side-by-side with the same people who killed US soldiers. What a joyous day. These "rebels" have also been murdering and raping, but you won't here about that from the big 3 networks. It's all propoganda – open your eyes and do some research. Well it's not the first time we funded and supported Al-Qaeda (muhajadeen), so here we go again I suppose. Let's all celebrate!

        August 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • bob

      Read the article. The makes the point that this was a unique case, exactly because of Ghaddafi's isolation, and because China and Russia had no interests there, and because other OPEC nations were withdrawn due the Arab Spring. The author's point is exactly that- that this case was the first unambiguous application of RtoP, mostly BECAUSE it was unique. Other examples have always been more complicated, messy to get and out of, and have not involved unanimous consent in the UN.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:23 am | Reply
      • Julnor

        This touchy-feely RtP protocol does not mean the USA has to intervene.

        August 29, 2011 at 10:26 am |
      • getreal

        If America cannot be "touchy feely" in regards to human rights and the right to speak out against tyrannts and others what should American be "touchy feely" about? The last POTUS found that America needed to be Touchy Feely with Oil Companies and that has cost us Trillions of dollars thousands of U.S. Solidiers lives as well as the invasion of two countries that will likely (Afghanistan for sure) fall back in to Chaos as we draw down our troop support. I will take Obama's (and the UN's) R2P any day thank you.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
      • TruthSpeaks

        Russia and China did have interests in libya its about loan and Oil hmm i could say then america has no interests in afghanistan to

        August 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
      • PeteMD

        getreal – so are you saying that Libya will not fall into chaos once we withdraw support? Right on!

        August 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
      • skarphace

        @Pete: what 'American support' are you referring to? We have no troops on the ground. We have no occupying force. The only thing we have to do now to 'pull out' is stop bombing. Quite a bit unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, huh?

        August 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • looking Glass

      Yeah, yeah and yeah . . . don't forget Obama's leadership is what this article is about. now repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President"

      August 29, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
      • Big Bob

        Gosh! How could we possibly forget?

        August 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
      • GGOPA

        Talking about leadership remember when the left-wing media tore-up Papa Bush in Read My Lips about raising taxes and son Bush constant charaterization in the media now you can enjoy the same guy who did son Bush about Obama. Steve Bridges is the guy who imitated George Bush on the Jay Leno Show. He has now started imitating Obama and does it well. Just Google Steve Bridges imitating Obama. It is just a start! Great Job Mr. President!

        August 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
      • skarphace

        @GGOPA: are you actually saying that Obama is like Bush because they are imitated by the same comedian? Really?

        August 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Tim in Kansas

      Well Obumble got one to put on his little lapel finally. He sat there and let his own country down day after day with indecisive leadership, bad ideas and general inability to do his job but his people got Libya settled. We had no interest in Libya and this was pure waste but hey he got a win somehow. Still is the worst President ever but hey he got one.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
      • Norm

        Go back to Fox inbred.
        No one cares what you've been told to think.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
      • s

        Obama sent in a few dozen Navy Seals and Mission Accomplished – something that you know who failed to accomplished for 8 years.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
      • biggy

        you're an idiot... He also got Bin Laden and his number two, and is wiping out AlQaeda by the minute... For those of us who voted for him, he has done a remarkable job considering the dixiefascist ring wing like you are doing everything you can to stop progress... it treason really... remember: "American First".. jack a$$

        August 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
      • Politician Hater

        S are you for real? You think Obama made the killing of OBL possible??? Give me a break. That was our fine Americans at the CIA and in the military. You loonies need to get off of Obamas d***! He is just as bad as Bush was, and he'll just as bad as the next clown that takes office (Unless Bachman wins, then we are really screwed). Obama probably never even made the call to go in with Seal Team 6. The CIA chief probably saw the window open and took the chance. Then after it was all done, they called Obama to tell him it was done so he could get his cronies together and take the now famous photo of those clowns sitting in the op room. They were really watching Oprah.

        Al Queda is not Americas enemy....Our own politicians are!

        August 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
      • biggy

        @Politician Hater: you're an even bigger idiot! Obama is commander and chief, dufas! He is the one who not only had the authority to order the operation... but, and here's where I'm gonna lose you, moron, the courage to make the strike. Mission Accomplished! Go back into your cave neanderthal....

        August 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
      • Joe

        Got one? Maybe you should give him at least credit for two or three, He has eliminated more in his term then Jethro did in the 8 yrs he was in office regarding terrrorist leadership , Mission accomplished take two..... blame him for everything, credited him for nothing, that is the way of the right!

        August 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
      • Politician Hater

        Biggy – Alot of courage was needed to make a phone call half way around the world to send others into the line of fire....
        Its just laughable how you clowns eat up the crap they say on TV. Keep on following your sheppard you damn sheep.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
      • TED

        Timmy,

        You must be a tea bag since they're always good at misrepresenting facts. The worst President was "W" and all Americans will be paying for it for years. Admit it Timmy you just don' like his shade of skin.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
      • Ptrika

        Then there is Osama's demise and ending the war in Iraq and pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Health Care Insurance for all Americans and stabilizing the economy...in addition to solving a humanitarian problem in Libya without American bloodshed and money. All in all quite a good record for a president who took office during a financial crisis. A good man for a bad time in our history. Keep up the good work Mr President, you have my vote.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
      • Joe

        Al Queda is not Americas enemy....Our own politicians are!

        Just repeating this makes the auther sound stupid! By the way Gadhafi is not Al Queda,, I know they all look alike to you.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
      • Politician Hater

        Joe – Sorry I'll clarify, you're right...Gadhafi is not Al Queda....the rebels are. Look it up jack a$$. Soon enough this will be a terrorist country.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
      • Joe

        Tim, if this is the way you think, I have to say you're not in Kansas anymore.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
      • Politician Hater

        "Ptrika
        Then there is Osama's demise and ending the war in Iraq and pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Health Care Insurance for all Americans and stabilizing the economy...in addition to solving a humanitarian problem in Libya without American bloodshed and money. All in all quite a good record for a president who took office during a financial crisis. A good man for a bad time in our history. Keep up the good work Mr President, you have my vote."

        I'm pretty sure the war in Iraq is still going on...There are still troops in Afghanistan (my buddy was just sent there), Healthcare will be a flop, all they did was sign a bill for it to go in effect 2014. They haven't worked out how they will pay for it....and it sounds like it will be more expensive than what we already have. And what economy are you talking about? By the looks of it, our economy is still in the gutter. Gitmo is still open and will remain open. And libya will be a giant flop...give it time.
        All in all, typical politician....lie, lie, lie and lie some more on the campain trail until you get elected then re-nig (no pun intended) on everything you said.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
      • Roger in Florida

        @PoliticianHater:

        You said your buddy was just send to Afganistan? So why is your yellow belly still here?

        August 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
      • Politician Hater

        I'm neither a dem or repub and most of the comments I've made under this section are to get a rise out of you clowns.

        But on a serious note, it amazes me that you people can be sooo caught up in the media BS.
        The war in Libia is not over, its not even close to being over. How can you guys give Obama credit for nothing. Gadhafi is still in power, their country is still in ruins, and it will take billions and billions of dollars to rebuild and help stabilize the country. Where is that money coming from? Whos going to be putting their dollars in for that?
        And on a side note: Obama broke the law by involving us in the Libian War. He did not get permission from Congress, therefore...he broke the law...But for some reason all you folks overlook that. At least Bush had the blessing of Congress to go and invade 2 countries. Again, you people forget that.
        We are still engaged in 2 wars overseas. I don't know why you people think we aren't...
        The healthcare reform bill isn't worth the paper it is written on. We don't even know what it involves. Just that there is a bill...Woo Hoo. Who pays for it, how is it paid for??? No one knows.
        Our economy is still in shambles. You all are blaming Bush, and I was jokenly blaming Obama, but the reality is...Its neither of their faults, but the Governments as a whole. We just had a very good insight on how the economy problems don't lay with the President, but with the senate and congress. Or did you people already forget about the Budget Defecit circus a few weeks ago.
        And we are now basically working with a group of 'rebels' that have aligned themselves with Al Queda. Who, let me remind you, were responsible for killing 3000+ Americans on 9/11/01 ten years ago.
        But Obama is ok with the 'rebels' working with this group of people.
        Its funny to me that they are calling these people 'rebels', depending on who they are fighting and the interests of the American Government they are either classified as 'rebels' or 'terrorists'.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
      • closetiguana

        If this turned out badly you would have been standing in line waiting to complain. Give the guy credit when he gets it right.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
      • Ronald Hussein Reagan

        Tim – you strike me as the kind of kid that fills in his answer sheet before he gets the questions. (ideologue)

        August 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
      • Politician Hater

        Roger – Why aren't you over there?

        I give all the credit in the world for the soldiers that are over seas fighting or that have been over and are back or the ones that never made it back.

        I was in a car accident in highschool and shattered my pelvis and thighbone. Got metal and pins all over. They wouldn't take me.

        I have a job, pay my taxes and am not on any government aid. That is how I do my part.

        "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for you country" – JFK

        August 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
      • Ronald Hussein Reagan

        The people who downgrade Obama's part in handling Libya are the sort who wouldn't give credit to Eisenhower because he didn't personally build the interstate highway system with a pick and shovel. In other words, Obama does what a President does; Navy Seals do what Navy Seals do and Right Wing Wackos get on the internet and whine!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Cause that's what they do.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Mike

        Hey "Politician Hater". Obama did make the call. He was informed there was 50/50 chance Bin Laden was at the compound, and Obama made the call to go in- this is well known and verifiable.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
      • JF

        Tim, get over it. Take a deep breath & ask yourself, "Why do I pick this place to pout?" And Politician Hater, you are off your rocker. You probably believe the moon landing was filmed on a sound stage.

        August 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
      • Tim in Kansas

        Not only is he the worst President(Carter has got to be thirlled to be rid of that moniker) but his followers are simple liars who are clueless about anything that goes on around them. They are so busy hanging on this guys jock they have no clue what is going on around them they are just glad to have an idiot who is as stupid as them to follow off the cliff.

        Pol. Hater, you are right on the money and the guy who called ou a dufus is hilarious because he spelled it wrong and that pretty much shows how stupid he is along with the fact he is gargling Obama juice.

        August 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
      • skarphace

        @Tim: "We had no interest in Libya and this was pure waste"

        The fact that the US had no interest in Libya is exactly what made this a good mission. The mission was to save lives, not to profit. This is why it was labelled a RtoP (Responsibility to Protect) mission, and this label was accurate. I know how you Republicans hate thinking about others, though, so this will probably not make a difference to you.

        August 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
      • Politician Hater

        Skarphace – You're right, we don't have a major interest in Libya, but Europe does. That is why we're involved.
        Europe gets alot of oil from them and its close to their doorstep.
        Look at Mexico, 30000+ have been killed over this drug war. But the US government does nothing of serious nature about that.
        If Mexico had oil, you can bet your a$$ we'd be in there cleaning up the rift raft. Its a joke.

        Can't you people see through the smoke and mirrors?

        August 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
      • skarphace

        @PH: that makes no sense whatsoever. Before Gadhafi started killing unarmed protesters he was already selling most of his oil to Europe and France and Italy and they were his best buddies. Therefore, if this were just for profit, then they had absolutely nothing to gain by intervening.

        In fact, when the rebels take over the Gadhafi contracts will be null and void. Therefore, the European countries had everything to lose by taking the rebels' side over Gadhafi.

        What was that about smoke and mirrors again? Perhaps you are seeing your own reflection.

        August 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • R Erickson

      Perhaps I am naive. At this moment who is in control of Libya? Do they even know how a democracy functions? Will this turn into a Pot Pol debacle? Democracy takes a vast socialization process. A few days ain't going to cut it.
      Things could go from one level of hell to a worse level.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
      • Politician Hater

        I wonder the same thing. So these 'rebels' are taking over the government, whose in charge? Did they elect someone or did someone just take power? How are these people going to go on with a demorcratic government when they probably don't even know what one is.

        I have a feeling this is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. We'll end up giving them aid money to rebuild, and help starting their government.

        And you got this wacko columnist and all the fruitcakes in America praising Obama on how good of a job he has done. It ain't over people....not by a long shot.

        Give it time, we'll soon be sending aid to them to help them rebuild and support their country. 5-10 years down the road they will turn on us and we'll have another war on our hands.

        History repeats itself. Look at the middle east, we have been giving our enemies money for decades if not longer. And we keep getting the same results. They all end up wanting to kill us.

        You think our pathetic politicians would catch on sooner rather than later. You can't make friends by buying them.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
      • Wired

        This is a reasonable and valid concern. I am happy how THIS was handled, especially since it was as a joint action with the UN. Now we just have to see exactly how reconstruction is handled. I'm hoping the trend continues to show Republicans and their allies exactly what they did wrong regarding the Iraq War. (aside from starting it base don lies and misinformation, of coourse.)

        That being said, i'm sure next week Obama will let me down and be on an aircraft Carrier with a "Mission accomplished" banner.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
      • Orac

        The rebels have a political infrastructure, based in Benghazi. Many of the rebel leaders are western educated professionals who returned to Libya to help with the uprising. At least one prominent member of their leadership was a professor at my university here in the US. I don't think they'll have a problem establishing a democracy if that's what the Libyan people decide they want. None of this information is secret and you could have easily found this out if you look to sources beyond CNN. CNN's coverage is pretty atrocious. They can (and should!) do better.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
      • closetiguana

        Should we expect an overthrow of a dictatorship and as quick transition to a democratic government? Russia is still in transition. Give it time, sheesh.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
      • Kar

        This intervention is different than any others in the Middle East in recent memory. Instead of bankrolling autocrats, we sided with the Libyan people in a fight for change that they started. If anything, it has the potential to show Arabs that, despite its pathetic history in the region, it can actually do something in line with it's values.

        Your point that we don't know how this will turn out is analogous to saying that no one knew how the American Revolution would turn out, so it's better not to take the chance in the first place. You raise a valid point, but it can't be used to support inaction.

        August 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • chatmandu002

      Spin it anyway you want. Obama still screwed this up.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
      • Norm

        We could say the same thing about your parents, but they already know that.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
      • s

        Right. Let the first "Mission Accomplished".
        Obama sent in a few dozen Navy Seals, Mission truly Accomplished! How fast we forget!

        August 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
      • BillInLA

        Pretty funny - Norm got that right.

        August 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Howard

      @ j. von hettlingen ... of course, R2P is arbitrary, or selective, if you would accept a less pejorative word. Only a fool would argue that R2P should be invoked anywhere and everywhere without regard for the domestic or international consequences. However desirable it might have been for the international community to intervene in Chechnia, surely no one needs to have it pointed out that the oppressor is the 2nd most heavily armed nuclear power in the world. At the same time, not being able to intervene everywhere does not justify not intervening anywhere.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
      • Mike Martens

        Obama started the Lybian war to help protect the Italian, French and British oil interests. And what was behind the "we are not interested in regime change"?

        If R2P is so sacrosanct, why are we not bombing Syria – OH that's right, no oil.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Bob in pa

      And what goes on all over the world as we speak ? What a bunch of bull pucky R2P is. Nothing more than a selective method of applying force as a means to an end. NATO bombs another country into submission, thats all.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • me

      And because Libya is an oil rich country which the west would like to control. I can assure you the "RtoP" doctrine really stands for "Right to Protect our interests" . It has nothing to do with protecting citizens of any particular country. Atrocities occur every single day in some part of the world. We only go in when the country in question has mineral/and or strategic intesests for the U.S.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • me

      And because Libya is an oil rich country which the west would like to control. I can assure you the "RtoP" doctrine really stands for "Right to Protect our interests" . It has nothing to do with protecting citizens of any particular country. Atrocities occur every single day in some part of the world. We only go in when the country in question has mineral/and or strategic interests for the U.S

      August 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • Justin

        Why can we not protect civilians AND our national interests at the same time? Why is being efficient a bad thing?

        August 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
      • me

        @Justin – It's not that we can't. It's that we don't. Almost zero presidents are going to spend political capital, and risk lives to save people when there's no interests for the U.S. – and I don't think we should. We are not the world's policemen.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Justin

      You say it has been arbitrarily applied, and then say Libya was selected because it was an easy target. Sounds like they had criteria to me, as in they preferred an easy target... And why aren't we fine with that? Our country and our military are finite, and I'd rather them topple "easy targets" that are committing atrocities than get bogged down for a decade spending trillions of dollars TRYING to topple a "hard target"... Picking your battles seems wise regardless of your underlying strategy...

      August 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  2. Jon

    samantha power has some very skewed and curious ideas about the middle east..she has largely been kept out of view these last 2 yrs because of these views as it doesn't help obama's position that he is pro israel. dig a little deeper on ms. power and you will see what she advocates for israel's "unshakeable" ally.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:11 am | Reply
    • HZ

      It's silly to say Obama isn't pro Israel when EVERY SINGLE UN VOTE by the U.S. has been pro Israel under him. Some of you need to stop wearing tinfoil hats and beliving the polarized politics that is used to manipulate you into voting for wheover is manipulating you. Just look at facts and stop believing all the speculation.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:31 am | Reply
      • Big Bob

        Dude!

        Then you should LOVE Samantha Power. Nobody is as fashionably more Pro-arab then she is. Not to mention an advocate of Agenda 21. The president likes the idea as well.

        August 29, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Ricky L

      USA pro-Israel votes has zilch....zero....nada......to do with President Obama's foreign policy predilections, likes/dislikes or personal choices. This is a long-standing, enduring United States government policy....regardless of the president....or the party in power at the time.

      Talk to your congressman.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • Name changed to protect the innocent.

      She is the very scary part of r2p. By the way, what does National Security have to do with r2p anyway ?

      August 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  3. Mark in Kansas

    The fat lady still hasn't sung a tune! Let's call this a victory or vindication or whatever after the country is stablized. If Obamas media machine doesn't hold off on all this victorious leader (from behind) it will bit him next year right around election.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • Darth Cheney

      Let the "Obama gets no credit for anything" spin begin!!!

      August 29, 2011 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • looking Glass

      Mark, repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President"

      August 29, 2011 at 10:47 am | Reply
      • rob

        First, Obama never stated he wanted to topple the regime. They were only to stop the threatened bloodshed in the oppositions stronghold. Because of that, Obama by passed the US Congress for any authorization and went to the UN. Since its still peoples right to have questions about this admins policies: because of the indifference of the Russians and the Chinese, and Libya's small size wouldn't it have cost far fewer opposition and civilian lives if we just stated in the beginning thatw e wanted regime change, brought the full force of military assets we had and ended this thing months ago ???

        August 29, 2011 at 11:04 am |
      • Ricky L

        Nice try, Rob.....that is, if you like futile gestures.

        August 29, 2011 at 11:09 am |
      • Big Bob

        Yes! Prostrate yourself to our dear leader, Mark!

        ctssn

        August 29, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Sorry to tell you, Mark, but your president just scored again! America's coming back strong and shaking off the dubya daze.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:51 am | Reply
      • Norm

        Oh don't waste your time with these Fox retards.
        They could never see past the color of his skin.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  4. glu

    Idiotic article, pure filler

    August 29, 2011 at 10:17 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Big fan of Cheney?

      August 29, 2011 at 11:22 am | Reply
  5. CitizenJP

    I congralulate President Obama for this great victory. What is history making is that his strategy has accomplished this victory with least cost and not a single drop of American bloodshed. America celebrates this victory against a brutal regime's fall.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • Dennis

      You ever heard of "blowback"? Many Americans will pay for this war, just like any other war. And people thought Obama was the peaceful president that would "end all wars". What a load of hooey!

      Gaddhafi's fall vindicates Obama no more than Hussein's fall vindicated Bush.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
      • looking Glass

        Dennis, repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President"

        August 29, 2011 at 10:49 am |
      • ib42

        The people who thought Obama would end all wars, also though that Jesus would bring peace forever, that the world would end last May, that the earth was flat, and the center of the universe, that diseases were caused by hexes, spells and curses,t hat man would never fly, and that the moon was made of green cheese.
        Yes, they are still among us, sad to say.

        August 29, 2011 at 11:00 am |
      • AzHitman

        It is amazing how war mongering this noble peace prize winner is. First one that I've heard of that order an executive kill instead of capture order, then goes and bombs another country and call it a non-hostile act.

        I'm not sure if looking glass is being sarcastic or he's actually has his lips stuck on obama's sack.

        August 29, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Judging by these comments, I'd say it's also a huge and decisive blow against conservatives. Every one of them has come here and whined about how they really hate to see Obama get credit. Would it help if he dressed up like an airman and posed on a carrier next to a banner saying MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?

      August 29, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
      • AzHitman

        Actually, I hope he gets full credit and thrown out of office for going to war without the approval of Congress.

        August 29, 2011 at 11:32 am |
      • Big Bob

        The Navy probably wouldn't have him.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  6. Julnor

    The USA has no more responsibility to protect people in other nations than anyone else. This was not our issue, not our business. We ahould not have had any involvement what so ever in Libya. We are not the nannies of the world. Heck our govt isn't even supposed to be the nanny of the US citizen, although Obama and his ilk seem to think so.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:21 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      So you are saying that the right-wing would not have blamed Obama if he had ignored the Libyan crisis, tens of thousands of civilians had died, the price of oil had skyrocketted, and the violence from Libya had spilled over into Egypt and Tunisia making the entire region become even more unstable?

      If so, I call a big B.S. on that one. Give Obama all the blame for everything that happens wrong and no credit for anything that happens right: this is the right-wing agenda.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  7. Denny

    Obama did as little as possible to not look totally off the case, and only did what he did when he looked bad compared to what other world leaders were doing. If there had been better leadership from the US, the episode wouldn't have dragged on as long as it has and fewer innocent people would have been sacrificed. This has clearly identified that the US is the only force capable of making things happen; the rest of NATO reaallly strugged on this adventure and several NATO members did not contribute anything, because they couldn't – they've cut defense budgets so much the don't have any real capability. Obama's "leadership" is more like abandonment.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • looking Glass

      Denny, repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President"

      August 29, 2011 at 10:50 am | Reply
      • Big Bob

        Wipe your chin already, it's revolting!

        August 29, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • JS

      The worst part of our Libyan involvement, in my opinion, was the totally boldfaced lie of the logic behind it. We were there to provide "humanitarian support" only in that we had picked our side in the revolution and were doing everything possible to help them win quickly. Yes, it's an accomplishment for us that the rebels have had major military successes, and we can now hope for a stable and friendly Libya to come out of this, but nobody should kid themselves about the true reasons for this military involvement.

      While you can say this obvious lie (or,at least, false pretext) was necessary to accomplish our goals in a easier way, it sets a dangerous precedent for the future. There are many governments out there (North Korea, the former USSR, just to name a few) who have no second thoughts about using ridiculous false logic to justify their actions – we've just taken an action towards being like them!

      August 29, 2011 at 10:53 am | Reply
      • Larry

        Agree.

        August 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  8. Rex

    Yes this is a great win for Obama and his friends in the Muslim Brotherhood who now control Egypt, Libya and soon Syria as well!
    Israel’s days are numbered!
    Yes He can!

    August 29, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • Dom

      That is just ridiculous.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • looking Glass

      Rex, you know better.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:51 am | Reply
      • Retired Army in San Antonio

        No......he doesn't.

        August 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Rex, you're really just Glenn Beck, aren't you? Tell the truth.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • ed galbraith

      I have a dog named Rex...who appears brighter than you.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Big Bob

      Not to mention the ones in the State Department, FBI, Military etc.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      Ok, Rex, I will enlighten you a bit. Syria's ruling class is Shiite (like Iran, which is why Syria is Iran's biggest ally in the region). The Muslim Brotherhood is Shiite.

      You see where I am leading you here? That's right, the Shiites have nothing to gain from a revolution in Syria. In fact, they have everything to lose.

      Do you see yet why falling for the Fox propaganda makes you look ignorant?

      August 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  9. GS

    Mission accomplished – where have we heard that before.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • ib42

      From an idiotic, caricature of a man, your previous choice for a 'decider'.
      Mr. Obama has not once crowed about anything he had a hand in accomplishing.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:03 am | Reply
      • skarphace

        *like*

        Well said, ib42.

        August 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  10. Julnor

    The author asks, "What obligations does the United States have to those living beyond its borders?" The answer: NONE. We should only act when OUR interests are at stake. Our interests were not at stake in Libya.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      I couldn't disagree more. The fact that we had no interest in the conflict is exactly why it was our responsibility to get involved. This was not about oil (as was the case in both Iraq wars). This was purely about saving lives. And since we are all humans on this planet, saving lives should be our number one priority regardless of the country in which those lives were saved. I know you hate our President, but he did absolutely the right thing in this case.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  11. Kailim

    Intervention for stopping or avoiding humanitarian atrocity is definitely the right action. Yet great care has to be taken to not causing tragedy afterwrads. Worrying about the future of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia by looking at today's Iraq. Innocent people are killed nearly everyday.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am | Reply
  12. Greg S

    He broke the law, If he was a republican yall would have fried him, But now yall claim a victory, what a bunch of Hippocrates!

    August 29, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • Darin

      How did he break the law? We have treaties with NATO, the POTUS is sworn to uphold those treaties. Are we no longer a part of NATO? If he hadn't then you would scream impeach him because he didn't up hold the treaties with NATO. The guy can never get it right.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • looking Glass

      Greg, What law did he break? Just repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President"

      August 29, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
      • Big Bob

        Sluurrrp! War Powers Act Slurrrp!

        August 29, 2011 at 11:17 am |
      • skarphace

        @Big Bob: slurrp War Powers Act, War Powers Resolution, what is the difference slurrp

        August 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Gus

      Hippocrates? Thanks! That's very nice of you, but I think you're being overly generous. He was an extremely important figure.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • ed galbraith

      Greg. Where you from, "yall"? Tells the whole story.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:28 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Are you trying to say, in your charmingly insane way, that you think President Obama is guilty of medical malpractice against Libya? It's amazing how stupid some people are, and what fantastic delusions they can have. The president is not a doctor and has never taken the Hippocratic Oath.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • Cati

      "yall"???How far did you go in school? First grade? Just because you say that doesn't mean you write it. Actually "You" can be a plural. Did you know that?

      August 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  13. Lynn

    The ONLY success that the Obama administration has had is because of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton , Secretary of Defense Leon Penetta (former head of CIA and who also served in the Clinton Administration.) and General David Petraeus ( led both wars and is the new head of the CIA) It has EVERYHING to do with their skills and NOTHING at all to do with Obama. Without their skills it would be another typical Obama failure.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • Darth Cheney

      More pure spin.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • looking Glass

      Lynn, stop your nonsense, you know better, She, Hillary, gets her orders from Obama . . . Mr. President to you. Now repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President"

      August 29, 2011 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • Toosh

      Lynn, you're talking like an ignorant illiterate.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      We've really got the conservatives on the run today! Admit it, this is a victory for America and for our president, and you hate to see it.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
      • Retired Army in San Antonio

        Yep......they really do hate to see it!

        August 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Retired Army in San Antonio

      Lynn......just who do you think placed Clinton, Pinetta and Patreaus into their current positions in the Administration?

      Yep....that's right....the PRESIDENT!!!

      You see.....when you surround yourself with the right people, and those people perform their job with expertise (at your behest) then their successes ARE YOUR successes.

      You'd have to be very nearly an idiot to try to argue otherwise.......aw.....the hell with it.....you ARE an idiot!!

      August 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  14. Kevin

    Just because "our side" may have won (wait, I thought we didn't take sides?) does not at all mean that our policy was vindicated. Remember when this was sold to us as a humanitarian intervention? Remember when we were told it would be "days, not weeks"? Remember when Obama waited until Congress was on it's break so he could bypass them? Winning a war against an African country with 6 million people in 5 months is not something I would brag about.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:36 am | Reply
    • Retired Army in San Antonio

      Well.......what about.......winning a war against an African country with 6 million people in 5 monthsell......eithout a single U.S. casualty.....or.....for that matter.....not putting a single troop on the ground in that country?!?!?

      August 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  15. JS

    Very odd article...to discuss the "success" (we'll see!) of this doctrine in Libya, and then go on to the situation in Somalia as if it was anywhere near the same while ignoring the obviously very comparable situation in Syria was ridiculous. I/m not advocating NATO involvement in Syria, but to ignore the whole issue trashes the article (and author's) credibility on an intellectual argument basis.

    Here's the reality (which to the author's credit, they paritally acknowledge) – the Libya situation was politically easy because Gaddafi's Libya no longer had any friends left who were willing to raise objections politically to what was being done. Even in this "perfect storm" case with no outside allies, a fairly weak military, and an on-the-ground insurgency in progress, the political will of the NATO alliance barely held together long enough to accomplish its goals (assuming no reversal of rebel gains). It is very unlikely that this type of action is likely to work again in the future, and it's extremely dangerous that people (especially politicians and activists) will assume that it will based on the positive result in Libya.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • pjd

      They also seem to forget that we intervened in Somalia during the reign of William Jefferson Clinton and lost to mission creep. We're not the world police, and need to stay out of other's business.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  16. volksmaniac

    Even though oblamo completely bypassed congress in this decision , this writer says he's vindicated . Yeah , right .

    August 29, 2011 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      blah blah blame Obama blah blah. This is getting old.

      You on the far-right just can't stand it that our President was involved in a successful regime change in less than 6 months, less than a billion dollars, and no loss of American lives. Had your hero Bush done this in Iraq our economy would not be nearly in the shambles it is in right now.

      I feel sorry for you Teavangelists. You have less and less reason to critisize our President each and every day. I am sure that will not stop you from trying, though.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  17. bigwilliestyles

    @ Dennis, Dennie, Julnor, glu, and j. Von: Hating Obama much? Whatever he did, it beat the h.e.l.l out of "Shock and Awe" (SaA), now didn't it? Aside to Palin: hey Sarah...SARAH! SARAH PALIN!! How's that MOVIE thingy goin'?

    August 29, 2011 at 10:47 am | Reply
  18. JOE

    Let's face it, president Obama has been experiencing significant triumps after significant triumps since he has taken office but of course, those to the right would have you believe otherwise. You see, those to the right believe that a win for president Obama is not a win for America. To the right it's just more political points scored for the president. But if the president succeeds, doesn't America succeed?

    I just can't help but reflect every so often when during the heated healthcare debate a year ago, those to the right charged that president Obama and Speaker Nancy Polosi were obsessed over passage of the healthcare legislation not because they were concerned about Americans but because they were only concerned with setting a legacy for themselves. Well, how stupid an assessment. And when "Obama got Osama" I guess the president was just setting another legacy for himself. And I guess when the president passed the economic recovery legislation, he was just trying to set a legacy for himself. And when he started bringing our troops home from Iraq a few months ago, he was just trying to set a legacy for himself. And when he signed the anti nuclear non profileration threaty with Russia and put his name to so many other legislations he has signed since taking office, he is not trying to lead America forward and serve the American people and continue our position as leader of the free and democratic world. And I guess when the president avoided a government shotdown twice, he was just concerned about his own political endeavors rather than being concerned that important checks would not reach the elderly and out troops around the globe. And if the president is just trying to set a legacy for himself then what may such a legacy accomplish for the president? Perhaps another Noble peace Prize?

    So one of the most brutal and fearsome dictators in Moammar Ghadaffi falls and president Obama rakes up more points and sets a legacy for himself? So when is this administration's leadership in the interest of the American people? As a concerned American, I just wish that those to the right who have for two and a half years given me a severe migrane would just stop the game playing once and for all and start working with this administration for the benefit of America and the free world. Well, I'll keep praying on it.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • JS

      Joe, there's so many directions to go with this, but I'll simply ask one question. In the eight years prior to the coming of your messiah to the White House, did you give President Bush credit for anything he did? I doubt it. I don't really care to debate Bush's legacy – there were some obvious things done wrong, some obvious things done right, and (I personally believe) a lot of things that happened in the 2nd term that were more the fault of the Democratic Congress than of our former President. However, what is undebateable is the fact that President Bush faced a much more virulent hatred, shown be a disgusting lack of respect and personal attacks, from those on the left than anything that has ever been directed at President Obama, and I'm sick of hearing you and your left-wing buddies act like this type of thing just started when Obama took office.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:02 am | Reply
      • Ptrika

        So you are angry because the liberals didn't like Bush and you are now determined to pay them back. Mr. Objectivity you are not. If you want to be taken seriously, get over your mad.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
      • biggy

        sure, we gave bush credit for taking a 250 billion dollar surplus and 22 million jobs created and turning our economy into a lost jobs seven trillion dollar deficit and an near depression. We also rightly gave him all the credit for starting a war on a pack of fascist lies, killing over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children, over 5000 soldiers, and the life long maiming injuries over over 50,000 additional soldiers, and oh yes, trillions of additional dollars of borrowed money from China to pay for it... What would you YOU like to give him credit for?... well, we're all listening......

        August 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • looking Glass

      Joe, I stand with you . . . we are many and we will move forward.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:04 am | Reply
      • ed galbraith

        Yup. Joe is right. JS is wrong...tough luck JS

        August 29, 2011 at 11:32 am |
      • GGOPA

        looking glass you forgot to say Now repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President" I am assuming that you and your left-wing buddies out number all the Americans that does not stand by you. Let me see a bunch of Americans got together and called themselvs the Tea Party and took the House I know they are racist and terrorist and not too bright like the elitist left. Now repeat after me . . . "Good Job Mr. President"

        August 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  19. Walter

    Let's wait and see who replaces Gadhafi before we start the accolades for Obama. Also, for those who think this will help Obama next year, take a look at our killing of Bin Laden. Americans were far more interested in Bin Laden than Gadhafi, and despite that, Obama's favorability is below 40%. Foreign policy doesn't matter right now to Americans.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:49 am | Reply
    • Charms

      what poll are we looking at? lol

      August 29, 2011 at 10:55 am | Reply
  20. Enlightened4

    This article is sheer, blatant nonsense. Hype and propaganda from the left it is.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • Demsareidiots

      Were nearing election season, the democrats will be trying to get credit for anything and everything good for the next year. Same old MO for them, nothing to see here, move along.......

      August 29, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  21. Charms

    are you kidding? People on the right have already begun blaming the way Obama handled this. Would they have preferred the other 2 prolonged wars Bush got us into?

    August 29, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
  22. Tom Schoening

    Saddam,s fall was quick, it's what comes next that is hard to predict or conrtol.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:56 am | Reply
  23. SidXH

    Sure R2P is being arbitrarily applied. However the fact that it exists is itself a big 'overarching vision of the world'. The UN never had any balls to do sh!t for the world. Maybe, the US is growing up? Maybe the policy-making Americans can no longer delude themselves with isolationist/profiteering points-of-view? Maybe they just realized that evil is evil no matter how far away it occurs and it always comes back to haunt Iowa? Sure, but that's probably a naive way of looking at it. Libya was a one-off. I remember the Lankan/Tamil tragedy. It was brutal like you can't imagine (Libya is cake compared to Lanka). The Tamils in Lanka had no one but Indians and the LTTE to turn to, and the Indians botched it (The Sri Lankan army was being supplied by the Chinese, and the Chinese did not desire to lose that source of revenue). Prabhakaran was declared a terrorist by the Americans and Indians didn't want to touch him after that. It was a massacre and an effin tragedy. I just hope R2P becomes a major foreign policy initiative for the US and succeeds in preventing such scenarios in the future. Sure, it will promote American defense related spending, but at least it will be for a reason – the greater good for mankind (Yes, I understand how it could be screwed up to keep brutal regimes in power as well). I just choose to be an optimist. Yay for R2P!

    August 29, 2011 at 10:57 am | Reply
  24. stan

    Gaddafi might have been a bit of a looney case, but it is our very own western governments that reach out and extrajudicially kill people all over the entire globe. No arrests. No courts. No evidence. Just ordered execution. Or they are kidnapped (redered) and placed (without trial) into a modern dungeon (complete with torture) at Guantanamo Bay.

    'We will not call for the axe as the ultima ratio so long as there remains one vestige of reasonable hope for a solution without the axe. The further I look into the western world, into the chain of events which brought Europe to us Russians, the more there arises in me a disgust for all bloody revolutions.' – Alexander Herzen

    August 29, 2011 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • Demsareidiots

      Gaddafi and other mid east dictators killed tens of thousands of people over the years and you say that he is a "bit of a looney case" and then point the finger at the west. Get your head out of the sand and open your eyes to what has happened to the world the last 20 years. It is easy to blame the west but the rest of the world is just as guilty.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:11 am | Reply
      • Onesmallvoice

        What an idiotic comment this is!!! Come on Demsareidiots, you know better than that!

        August 29, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • JS

      Yep...when an organization conducts an undeclared war on you, and hides behind governments throughout the world, there's a need for a different kind of defense. A solution based totally on military, or one based totally on law enforcement, is doomed to failure. It's a messy kind of war, and our defense against it is necessarily messy at times. It's easy to criticize from the outside, but Obama learned when he became President that theoretical rhetoric and actually policy actions don't always agree. There's a reason that GB is still open...it serves an important purpose.

      You can't have it both ways – people want to criticize Afghanistan as an example of a military "overreaction" to 9/11 that has involved us in a lengthy war, but then want to criticize selective strikes against our enemies, such as the killing of OBL, as illegal. Any suggestions for what our country is supposed to do against Terrorists planning abroad to destroy our country that don't involve strictly law enforcement measures that can be successful 100 times, but only have to fail once before a major disaster hits our country?

      August 29, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
      • ed galbraith

        You have it wrong again. NO ONE claims the war in "Afghanistan" is an over-reaction. It was the war with Iraq. Get it right. Is that asking too much? Guess so.

        August 29, 2011 at 11:38 am |
      • JS

        Ed, you obviously aren't a deep thinker...even puttign aside the vocal minority on the left who were protesting right at the time of the invasion, everyone who is complaining about Bush's "warmongering" and pointing to Afghanistan as an example of this is guilty of second-guessing the decision itself to invade. Sorry – it just isn't possible to envision every outcome when you make a decision to invade a country – at that point, you've made the decision to put soldiers lives on the line, and you plan for the outcome you want. Unfortunately wars are messy, and usually don't turn out exactly the way you want them to. When this happens, you can't just pack up and leave a mess behind....oh sorry, I forgot Obama and pals believe wars can be fought according to a schedule!

        August 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  25. bigwilliestyles

    @ JS: so how'd you feel about that whole "WMD" thingy?

    August 29, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
  26. Mike in SA

    Mr. Patrick, all you need now is an aircraft carrier and a big banner behind you saying "Mission accomplished!"

    August 29, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      For Mr. Patrick, that would be acceptable. For our President, that would not. It would be immature, disrespectful, and most of all premature. It is a good thing we have Obama as President now instead of Bush, or that would have already happened.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  27. Onesmallvoice

    I suppose that after Libya, we Americans will now jump up on our high horses and go galloping around the world "liberating" people from themselves! How so high and mighty we've become!!!

    August 29, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
  28. We Are Change Windsor

    The "Liberation" of Libya: NATO Special Forces and Al Qaeda Join Hands
    "Former Terrorists" Join the "Pro-democracy" Bandwagon

    by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26255

    August 29, 2011 at 11:14 am | Reply
  29. bobby

    Thank you Mr President! I wish Bush/Cheney could have done something similar and most importantly saved a lot of US Soldiers lives. You can not put a price on that.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • Big Bob

      Libya is a much, much smaller country. It's comparing apples and oranges. Not to take anything away from the administration, though...

      August 29, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • Mike in SA

      We also ended up with a somewhat friendly functioning democracy on display for the Arab world to see in Iraq and will likely end up with an anti-American (already refusing to extradite Lockerbie bomber), Sharia law, Islamist state in Libya. Yes, great job BO!

      August 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
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