Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Early Fallout from 3rd Mideast 'War'

President Obama takes incoming political fire on military intervention in Libya.

Early Fallout from 3rd Mideast 'War'

A Danish F-16 takes off from the NATO airbase in Sigonella, Italy, Monday. The European Union´s top foreign policy official brushed aside concerns Monday that the coalition supporting military action against Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi is already starting to fracture. (Andrew Medichini / AP Photo)
A Danish F-16 takes off from the NATO airbase in Sigonella, Italy, Monday. The European Union's top foreign policy official brushed aside concerns Monday that the coalition supporting military action against Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi is already starting to fracture. (Andrew Medichini / AP Photo)

First, President Obama was a dithering ninny, doing nothing for two weeks while Muamar Qaddafi pounded the daylights out of his own rebellious citizens with air power, artillery and tanks.

Now that the U.S. has launched cruise missiles against Libyan government targets and is supporting France, Great Britain and other allies in a mission to impose a no-fly zone?

Well, Obama's taking fire from all over the political spectrum for a third military operation in the Mideast: He didn't consult Congress sufficiently; he consulted too much with foreign nations, seeking international approval; he didn't sell the mission to the American people; he has not defined the limits of the mission.

The administration says U.S. involvement will be limited and that the armed forces will hand off their support responsibilities to allies in a matter of days.

More coverage
Gallery: War in Libya
 
PhillyDeals: U.S. has spent over $100M on Libya war, so far
 
Trudy Rubin: On Mideast, Obama took only path available to U.S.
 
Attytood: If all you have is a hammer, Libya looks like a nail

House Speaker John Boehner (R.,Ohio) said Sunday that the U.S. has a "moral obligation" to stand with people seeking freedom from repression. But, "The Administration has a responsibility to define for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is, better explain what America's role is in achieving that mission, and make clear how it will be accomplished," Boehner said. "Before any further military commitments are made, the Administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved."

Sen. John McCain (R.,Ariz.) said that Obama is doing the right thing but it may be too late. "And we need, now, to support him and the efforts that our military are going to make," McCain said on CNN's State of the Union. "And I regret that we didn't act much more quickly, and we could have."

On the left, critics are saying that the Obama administration is just as high-handed as the George W. Bush administration was in launching military strikes.

And centrist Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, one of the most respected voices on foreign-policy issues, said on CBS' Face the Nation that he was worried about the consistency of our policy and whether we'll get dragged into other conflicts. Why intervene in Libya and not in Bahrain, Yemen or Syria?

Here's Lugar:

Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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