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. liz

    A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable shows that Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain promised to help Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi obtain U.S. military hardware in 2009.

    The cable, released by the open information group WikiLeaks, reveals the pledge came at meeting that was attended by other prominent members of Congress, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

    In the meeting, Muatassim Qadhafi, the Libyan leader’s fifth son and national security adviser, requested U.S. assistance in obtaining military supplies, both lethal and non-lethal.

    The cable indicates that McCain was the dominant voice among the congressional delegation in a push for military hardware for Qadhafi.

    “Sen. McCain assured Muatassim that the United States wanted to provide Libya with the equipment it needs for its … security,” according to the cable.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
  2. 100% ETHIOPIAN

    Under the Presidential Study Directives (PSD-10), the Obama administrations conducting the War in Libiya very carefully.
    But, can he do it the same way against Syria and Iran? Where Intervention Iran is more challenge?

    Even during the Two Bushes Administrations, Psychological War against Iraq and Afghanistan were designed without Militarily, but failed quickly.

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

      In order to do the same thing in Syria and Iran, there would have to be an organized opposition that consisted of a large number of civilians and military, a plea from the AL to get involved, and a UN mandate to NATO that would not be vetoed by Russia or China.

      This has not, and most likely will not, happen. Therefore, the Libyan situation will remain unlike the Syrian, and most especially the Iranian, situation

      August 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  3. JOE

    There's a saying, there's two sides to a story but the reality is that when it comes to the political issues of the day, you cannot vote both ways or support two differen positions of an issue. For example, you can't say that you want president Obama to end the Iraq war and when the president sets a deadline to bring our troops home, you turn around and say that the president is sending the wrong message to the enemy by bring our troops home. No, it don't work that way. Likewise, you can't accuse the president of not doing anything to help those calling for democratic change in Egypy and when the president calls on Hosni Mubarak to cater to the protester's demands for a speedy transition of democratic change, you do like Newt Gingrich and accused the president of "batraying an old friend in Hosni Mubarak and supporting a terrorist group in the Muslim Brotherhood." And you can't accuse the president of standing on the sidelines and not intervening in the Libyan crisis and when the president responds with a coalition of world leaders, you accuse the president of "rushing to war and then asking what is the mission. You just can't have it both ways. It's either or but not both ways. You just cannot have a choice of two when you are only alotted one choice. The world doesn't workd that way. Or unless your flip flopping is designed to appease your ignorent and complacent republican base. And remember the oil spill desaster in the Gulf of Mexico? Well, you cannot accuse the president of not doing anything to help local businesses affected by the spill and of not holding BP accountable and when the president got BP to appropriate a 20 billion dollar fund to compensate those businesses affected, you do like Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas and accuse the president of " a shakedown of BP." No, that type of dirty politics is wrong and it is un-American. And if you were president, then just ask yourself this one simple question. If you were president, what would you have done different in the two and a half years of this administration? That is to lead America forward and beyond the eight year failure of the previous administration domesticall and abroad. If you were president, what would you have done differently? Just ponder this question before you begin to criticize, accuse and lay blame.

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

      Well, Joe, you certainly can do those things you described as contradictory. The far-right has been doing this throughout the Obama term. What you cannot do is be contradictory and not expect people to call you on it and label you a hypocrite. Which they most certainly are.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  4. vinvin

    vindicated?

    big word from a small biased liberal mind.

    did you say the same nice thing about Bush after the fall of Saddan, or the taliban?

    You think this situation in Libya is over? You think there will be peace and prosperity for all, now that gaddafi is gone?

    This is the EASY part.

    took bush 3 weeks to get rid of saddam. [well you know what iraq is like today].

    took bush 3 to 4 weeks to topple the Taliban...

    August 29, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      You really don't see the differences between the Afghanistan situation, the Iraq situation, and the Libyan situation? All three situations are completely unique. All of these types of situations are.

      Therefore, let me tell you why the Libyan situation, going forward, is quite unlike either the Afghanistan or Iraq situation: the US is not an occupying force. That, in itself, is enough. In order to 'pull out', all we have to do is stop bombing and call our ships and planes back to base. That is it.

      Will Libya have complications in it's democratic movement? Of course. Is it guaranteed to fail, as the right-wingers would have us believe? Of course not.

      Give peace a chance. I know that is a Liberal mantra, but it works for me.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  5. Donald

    Stupid article. Explain why Obama has not implemented this "successful foreign doctrine" on Syria? Syria is committing more violent atrocities than Libya. Could it be that Syria does not export oil to European nations? Could it be that Libya was/is an easier fight? Bottom line is this; CNN is a political arm and media outlet for the Obama administration. Bias journalism at its best.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • Tim in Kansas

      Because Syria is a huge can of worms. They have weapons and they have weapons that will reach far beyond their borders. They do have chemical and biological weapons there and just think about how bad that would look for the looney left when it comes out into the open since they were never supposed to exist in the first place.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
      • Dink Cheney

        Oh boy, the WMDs are back and this guy's going to tell us where they are! Get ready, everyone, this will be good. OK Tim, where are they?

        August 29, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Gee, isn't it treason to not be a complete shill for the White House? When Cheney was president, you didn't dare be critical of him. I guess you are some kind of foreign agitator or something. How about just saying NICE things?

      August 29, 2011 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • Tim in Kansas

        LoL! it's so funny when some rube tries the whole when bush/cheney were in the whitehouse you couldn't say anything about them yet the left couldn't shut up. Now they try this reversal of some nonexistent thing that didn't happen to try to shut up the other side. The left and how they love the first Amendment as long as they agree with it thing is the stuff comedy writers live for.

        August 29, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • Dink Cheney

        "some nonexistent thing that didn't happen" December 2001: In response to Democratic plans to question parts of the USA Patriot Act during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, John Ashcroft suggests that people who disagree with the administration's anti-terrorism policies are on the side of the terrorists. "To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."

        August 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Retired Army in San Antonio

      @ Donald who stated: "Stupid article. Explain why Obama has not implemented this "successful foreign doctrine" on Syria?"

      Donald......FACT......the Syrian rebels absolutely does NOT want the US or NATO to assist them with troops or with bombing raids. They want NOTHING MORE (other than their own victory) than for the U.S. and the Europeans to stay out of the way!

      If you'd bother to pull your head out of your butt once in awhile, maybe.....just maybe.....you'd know this!

      August 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  6. Tim in Kansas

    Bad Job Mr. President. You have done a terrible job at every turn. You have bankrupted our country, tried to socialize our industries, scared business from hiring people and basically killed the economy. You allow people to blatantly run across our border like it doesn't exist, you have lied to the American People and you have failed at your job miserably. You were a small part of helping get Gadaffi tho except your drones kept killing the wrong people but I am sure you will somehow your minions will call that a good thing. Glad to see you will be a one term President tho you don't deserve the retirement benefits you get along with the job since they should be subject to you actually doing your job worth a crap and you didn't.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Actually he hasn't done any of those things; your man Bush wrecked the economy on his way out the door and we're still stuck with his wars. No one's tried to socialize anything, and Obama's going to be easily re-elected since no one is going to run against him. Nice rant, though; I bet your head's about to explode right now.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:47 am | Reply
      • Tim in Kansas

        You're wrong but I am sure you will try to argue no matter how futile.

        Ostupid tanked the economy. he has tried to socialize car companies, wall street and healthcare. We are never giong to get that money back. GM is losing big, Chrysler has always lost and BofA will go down since Warren Buffet I bet won't take anymore emergency calls from Obama to try to save him.

        He won't be re-elected he's a complete failure. My head isn't about to explode but it seems your is still firmly planted in your nether region.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
      • Name changed to protect the innocent.

        You have nothing other than "Bush did it ! " ? It's getting kind of stale don't you think.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
      • liz

        That's not what Fox News says and we know they would very purport oipinion to be fact. Like EVER!!!!

        August 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
      • Buster Bloodvessel

        "It's getting kind of stale don't you think." What, the truth is getting stale? Oh, you want some NEW TRUTH to replace the old truth? Sorry, this ain't FOX.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  7. Brian

    How does the Libya War vindicate obama? We sat on the sidelines

    August 29, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      We didn't spend trillions and lose thousands of men and women fighting Libya. Compare that to the Bush Wars.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:49 am | Reply
      • Big Bob

        Much smaller country. Also, it took 225 years and 43 presidents to run up a $7 trillion deficit (rememeber when dems used to care about that?) and the current president doubled it in less then 6 months.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
      • Buster Bloodvessel

        Bob, are you on the wrong page or something? We didn't lose a man and our part of this is over. We aren't going to fight them inch by inch and leave a dead man on every acre, Cheney-style.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  8. o8sys

    Aren't these the same people who said 'toppling Hussein' was not justification for the IRAQ war? Hyprocrites all, political idealogues. YELLOW Jane Fonda types.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      Right. However, there is a slight difference in the meaning of the words 'vindication' and 'justification'. Use a dictionary sometime and look it up.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  9. Buster Bloodvessel

    Here's my prediction: Rush and Beck will attempt to offer Gadhafi asylum in the US. Beck will weep when it doesn't happen.

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

      After all the practice Gadhafi got with Libyan State TV, he would be a great asset for Fox News.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  10. John

    The author stated it quite clearly. We got into this because it was perceived as easy. If it succeeds, Obama says look at me the great military leader. If it fails, he says it's not my fault as we were only leading from behind. But as to whether or not this turns out to be a long term success remains be be seen as we have little idea about who will be replacing the dear deposed leader. As the old tale of the farmer's son says, Maybe so. Maybe not. We'll see.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      First, when has Obama ever said, "look at me the great military leader"?

      Second, if Obama had failed in the original mission to gain air control and protect civilians, and Gadhafi had still levelled Benghazi and killed tens of thousands of Libyan civilians, then he would have definitely taken alot of flack. From both sides.

      Third, it may not be over, but it is now the Libyan civilians who have control over their own future. Will there be continued bloodshed and terrorist attacks on the new government? Probably. Does this mean they should not be given a chance to govern their own country? Most definitely not.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  11. JOE

    JS,

    George W. Bush was my president too and I respected him as my president until he lied and misled the American people, the UN and the world community about false WMD's in Iraq, a lie that led to the deaths of thousands of our troops in Iraq even today as we speak. And I may add that when GWB went into Iraq, he abandoned and prolonged the Afghan war and that is why we are still suffering casualties in Afghanistan today. Let's face it JS, regardless of our political affiliation, unless we hold our elected officials accountable for their actions or inaction, they would continue to abuse their authority and put Americans in harm's way.

    And make no mistake, if president Obama was to govern in ways that are detrimental to our safety and well being, I would speak out and say something about it. Let's face it, we're all Americans and when one hurts, all hurt.

    Now, as far as your assumption that GWB is being disrected and mistreated, let me say that you should tell that to that little ten year old boy who was just told that his heroic Navy Seal's dad is not coming home anymore. And speaking of disrecpect, what American president has been disrecpected more than president Obama? I don't have to explain because you read it, you see it and hear it in the media and in your base everyday. But I'd say this, I neither consider myself a Democratic, a Republican or an Independent because I just consider myself an everyday American and whether a red or blue president is moving America forward, that's is good enough for me JS.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:51 am | Reply
  12. AlohaBetty

    Obummer should go run for President of Libya where he will be appreciated!

    August 29, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      Or maybe all the Tea Party freaks should move to Libya and reinstate Gadhafi as President so they can be appreciated.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  13. Sam I Am

    Let's not make the same mistake the Bush administration did, and declare victory too soon. Ghadaffi hasn't been caught and his loyal troops are still fighting. Once that is ultimately complete, we still have to participate in the rebuilding of Lybia's government, infrastructure, and cultural centers. There are no guarantees that the man who replaces Ghadaffi is going to be any better than Ghadaffi, and there are no guarantees that people loyal to Ghadaffi won't continue to snipe, plant bombs, and perform suicide bombings, just has been going on for years in Iraq. While Obama has managed to pull this off so far, if I were one of his advisors, I'd be cautioning him to move carefully here.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:53 am | Reply
  14. Matt

    This is comical. This dumb azz niiigger had nothing to do with this outcome. Hussein Obama is just a dumb thug niiigger who like them all has no clue about reality and loves to take credit for things they had nothing to do with. Thank the lord his time is almost over, not soon enough, but close.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Your mom's calling you, hillbilly.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Matt's Mom

      Come back to bed, sugar pie.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • rtbrno65

      Hey Matt, can you please lie face down on the floor for me? My shoes are dirty.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      And yet the far right critisizes Liberals for calling them racists. Go figure.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  15. JOE

    So why are you idiots mentioning Saddam hussein? No, mission was not accomplished in Iraq because we didn't go into Iraq to change regime. No, we went there looking for WMD's that GWB and cabinet knew didn't exist at all. But yet, GWB was VINDICATED because despite thousands of dead American troops in Iraq, thousands dead in Afghanistan because we abandoned and prolonged that war to go into Iraq and half a million dead Iraqi civilians from the bombings and the insurgency as a result of us destabilizing that country, George W Bush has not been sent to the ICC in the Hague for war crimes.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply
    • Tim in Kansas

      because he didn't commit war crimes.

      BE SMARTER!

      August 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • Name changed to protect the innocent.

      You ar eso gullible. The weapons existed, they just changed ownership. Just as Gadhafi gave up what was supposedly his nuke program, was actually Iaqs program

      August 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • Big Bob

      Joe, boychic!

      I have a feeling that you are a young man. The US and UN drew line after line in the sand with Saddam. After you've told him no so many times, when do you finally stand up and say STOP. Look up resolution 1441. Or look up quotes of Democratic politicians, including the Clintons, Gore, Kerry, Durbin, Pelosi etc. They all were quoted as saying Saddam had WMD's and that Regime change was the optimal solution.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Reply
      • Tim in Kansas

        DRAT! Logic and facts, a liberals worst nightmare.

        August 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
      • Buster Bloodvessel

        Go back and read the newspapers. It was nothing like that. After we unloaded on Afghanistan for perfectly good reasons, Cheney decided to take us into Iraq so he could get the oil for Halliburton. The CIA "proved" there were WMDs, and Colin Powell threw away his reputation by lying to Congress about them. Ask Powell about the WMDs? He knew they were a lie when he went there.

        August 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      We went to Iraq to make Halliburton the richest corporation in the world. Mission accomplished!

      August 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply
      • Tim in Kansas

        can you say Apple or will it confuse you to much with your fantasy?

        August 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  16. JOE

    Matt,

    What pie hole you exited?

    August 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  17. Reality1

    What a load of dung from an author whose main accomplishment in life has been to lick the crotch of Obama. Where will those dung heap of an "author" be when Libya becomes a safe haven for terrorists? Right where he belongs, buried face deep in Obama's buttcrack.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      You conservative traitors are SO angry, and I love it. Your weenie little tears make me laugh out loud. Good work, Obama.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  18. Terry Brookman

    Next week Obama will pass gas and save the planetary atmosphere but at the moment he is still dropping bombs on sand, when did it become the measure of a president on how many bombs are dropped. I would think that measure would be better made in the quality of life in the country he is president of. Do we have better health care, schools. roads. jobs. power infrastructure or perhaps are we less dependent on Libyan oil. Where are the green jobs or any job for that matter, when is the brown paper coming off the glass in the zombie malls???? We are a breath away from default and when we go all of the rest of the world will go and it will make the great depression look like a test for the real one. Millions will starve even here.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      "Millions will starve even here." Don't worry, FOX news will save you. What a hysterical fool . . .

      August 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  19. Homer

    This article is nothing more than partisan cheer leading. Obama isn't vindicated for anything. This is a European oil war disguised as a revolution. The humanitarian angle is the excuse, not the reason, for NATO involvement.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  20. Googlybear

    Kudos to the President and his accomplishments with regard to Libya. I remember well the voices of the Libyan people shouting for America to help. I am proud we did. Anyone who would not have done the same should be embarassed.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  21. Uh

    uh the People of Libya toppled GadHafi (with the help of NATO)

    August 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Right. All we did was interdict Gadhafi's air power. We didn't lose a man, and Gadhafi's in hiding. Pure, cheap victory.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  22. John

    R2P? Somolia? Bahrain? Saudi Arabia? Syria? Yemen? 15 Trillion dollar debt. R2P is a lie. Who do you think you are fooling?

    August 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      Ok, then what exactly did we have to gain from removing Gadhafi? The west was already getting his oil. The far right claims we had no interest in this war and therefore should have stayed out of it.

      So which is it? Did we do it for humanitarian reasons or did we do it for profit? If you claim the latter, then by all means back up your claim. Otherwise, you are just blathering.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  23. Marc V

    It's funny how those on the left like Samantha Power are all for intervention unless of course it for our REAL national security or under Republican presidents. They never would have supported R2P against the East Bloc during the Cold War (Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968), just like they opposed Reagan preventing communist takeovers of El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980's.

    The effort to oust Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 almost failed in the Senate against party lines. Yet the same people jumped to support Clinton in Kosovo. Kosovo was an integral part of Serbia and all Serbia did was try to stem a rebellion. Our intervention there would have been like France bombing us to support the Confederacy as a response to Sherman's burning of Atlanta.

    Ms. Power is sure to oppose any nuclear disarmament of Iran or protection of Taiwan from Chinese invasion. Where was she when Mugabe pillaged Zimbabwe after he lost re-election? Clearly this policy has no coherence and is not in the national interest of the United States.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  24. Name changed to protect the innocent.

    Shouldn't we be doing something about the drug cartels south of the border then ?
    They are even more brutal than Gadhafi.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      Trust me, we are. Covertly. To do anything more would be to undermine the Mexican government, who are our allies at present. It is in our national interest to keep it that way.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  25. JonDie

    In the Brave, Old World of the Tea Party, NOTHING Obama did, does or will do matters since Obama is EVIL INCARNATE. Uh, the rebels could NEVER had toppled Qaddafi without "the help of NATO."

    August 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • Name changed to protect the innocent.

      can it Matt.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  26. Jerry

    Patrick and some of you "posters" need to stop drinking President NObama's spiked KoolAid. Otherwise, you are going to overdose! And worst of all, NObamacare may not cover your medical bills.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      Wow, a very intelligent, meaningful, and insightful comment. Please, enlighten us some more.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  27. Katherine

    Kudos to President Obama. and Kudos on capturing Bin Laden too. Bush was there EIGHT years and couldnt' get him.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Bin Laden - Special Advisor to Office of the President

      Dead ? Hardly, look hard, I am on the US Government Payroll now.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      This is KILLING the conservative weenies today. They all have nosebleeds.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      Er .. I don't think 'capturing' is the right word. However, you are right. Obama deserves credit for the way he handled both of these situations.

      Not that the far-right is about to admit it. That would be contrary to their primary agenda, which is to make our President fail at all costs.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  28. Jerry

    Hey Señor Joe, you seem to be holding President Bush for things he did and some, obviously, that he did not do. When are you going to hold President NObama accountable. Will you and his supporters ever be able to stop all his lies and those of his administration. You know the old saying: "people that live in glass houses should refrain from throwing stones."

    America, remember 2012!

    August 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      I would alter your last comment a bit: America, remember 2010 in 2012.

      We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  29. JOE

    Let's face it, if you people to the right were true patriotic Americans, you would be applauding our success in a Libyan mission where no American lives were lost. But to just criticize success everyday and wish the president of the United States failure on a daily basis is just outrageous and beyond me. Are we still living in the Jim Crow era of the 1950's and 60's where some just couldn't stand the site or existent of people who didn't look like they did? What is God's name is wrong with you people to the right? What do you people really accomplish through your self righteous bigotry and hate? Does the color of a person's skin really bother you that much?

    Is the American government about scoring political points or about moving our country forward and keeping us ahead of every other country in the world? Let's face it, when our Founding Fathers created our system of "Checks and Balances" and a Two Party system, the objective here was not to have one Party PREVENT the other Party from moving the country forward but rather for both sides to find common ground that's in the best interest of our Union. So I wish you people to the right would just put your bigotry, racism and hatred aside for once and just give credit where credit is due.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
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