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I didn't quite know what to make of a President who would launch an attack on Libya as he flew off with his family to South America for some sightseeing and chats with trading partners. That seemed pretty odd. Then I found out the Secretary Of Defense, Robert Gates, was in Moscow talking to the Russians as the war broke out. Then I found out Vice President Joe Biden was in Boston doing fundraisers for the Democratic party as the war broke out...maybe it's just me, but I always thought invading a country was pretty serious stuff. I always thought our leaders would be on hand in the war room, talking to the Joint Chiefs, ready to make decisions, etc., not going about their daily routines as if destroying Libya's air force and bombing Gaddafi's compound was equivalent to weeding a garden. I guess I was wrong. I guess it goes more like this:
"If you need me, Joint Chiefs, I'll be in Rio with the fam. Good luck. I'll take a picture of the Christ The Redeemer statue for you. You got my cell digits, right ? Anyone seen my Nike ballcap ? Call me. Luv ya, bye !". Then it's off to Air Force One for a mocha cappucino and an in-flight movie as the Tomahawk missiles rain down. Class move, Mr. President.
At least VP Biden is done with his fundraisers and is on-hand for some war strategy, right ? (please excuse me for putting the words 'Biden" and "strategy' in the same sentence. I'm aware of the contradiction). Well, not exactly. After Biden finished up his fundraising activites for the Democrats, he....went to spring training with the New York Yankees yesterday.
No wonder the Obama administration didn't bother to get the approval of Congress before bombing Libya. It would have interfered with their busy social calendars. When one is an elite, who has the time to keep the little people apprised of things ? It's so tedious.
However, like Obama, Vice President Joey saw things a bit differently back in 2007, when our President was from that other political party,..you know, the one with the elephant instead of the donkey.
Ladies and gentlemen, I drafted an outline of what I think the Constitutional limits [garbled] have on the President with the War Clause. I went to five leading scholars, Constitutional scholars, and they drafted a treatise for me that is being distributed to every Senator. And I want to make it clear, and I’ll make it clear to the President: that if he takes this nation to war in Iran, without Congressional approval, I will make it my business to impeach him - Senator Joseph Biden, 2007.
There you have it. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden, by their own words, think Obama has shredded the Constitution. Biden even thinks Obama should be impeached, or at least he did when Obama was Bush, and Libya was Iran. Who am I to disagree with such eminent men as these (not that it ever stopped me before) ?
But far be it from me to portray Obama as uncaring or hypocritical. In fact, the President cares sooo much that he even cancelled his trip to some Mayan ruins in El Salvador, returning to the USA two whole hours early to focus like a laser beam on Libya. It's all about "shared sacrifice", folks, and it starts at the top, as you can clearly see. I bet those Mayan ruins were pretty cool, and Obama sacrificed them...for YOU. That's commitment, by god. That's leadership.
Today's schedule has Obama lunching with Biden at 12.45pm (ooh, I bet Biden got him a ball signed by the Yankees ! Awesome !!!), and then meeting with Treasury Secretary Geithner this afternoon at 2:15pm, so Geithner can tell Obama he has no clue what to do about the economy. And Geithner will have statistics to back that up.
As for progress in Libya, I can only relate what I've heard. Obama said we'll be out of there in a week, but he also said we're committed to removing Gaddafi from power. I'm not sure how those two goals go together. Defense Secretary Gates said there was no timeline for withdrawal. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton announced yesterday that the humanitarian crisis in Libya has been averted, while the Washington Post at the same time was printing a story about the humanitarian crisis that was happening in Libya. The U.S. is saying Gaddafi's air force has been destroyed, but his ground troops are still moving forward against the rebels. Our leaders all seem to be operating individually, with no coordinated, coherent message. As for the overall UN/NATO effort, Der Spiegel is calling it a "coalition of the unwilling", with everyone disagreeing on the objectives of the mission and how to carry them out.
Getting back to the new United Nations standard of going to war to prevent a humanitarian crisis - guess what's happening in Syria, and might be happening soon in several other Middle Eastern countries ? You guessed it, a budding humanitarian crisis:
DAMASCUS, Syria – Residents of the southern city of Daraa held a sit-in Thursday to protest the killing of 15 people in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters, an activist said.
The activist, who is in contact with residents of Daraa, said the situation there was still tense, with a heavy armed presence in the streets. He said dozens of people were demonstrating in the al-Mahata neighborhood near the city center.
Inspired by the wave of pro-democracy protests around the region, the uprising in Daraa and at least four nearby villages has become the biggest domestic challenge since the 1970s to the Syrian government, one of the most repressive in the Middle East. Security forces have responded with water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
Syrian police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters, fatally shooting at least 15 in an operation that lasted nearly 24 hours, witnesses said. The total death toll now stands at 22.
An official at the Daraa National Hospital told The Associated Press by telephone that the hospital received a large number of casualties Wednesday and was "overwhelmed" with wounded people. He declined to say how many people were dead or hurt, saying he was not authorized to give out numbers or talk to the press.
Is the UN (led by America) going to step in to stop the killing now any time there's a humanitarian need ? That's what they said with the Libyan resolution. I fear that resolve will be tested very soon.