On Point: Regime Change: Libya


by Austin Bay
March 23, 2011

Stopping mass murder in Libya requires regime change.

The first step toward achieving modern stability in Libya --not the brittle and brutal false stability of tyranny -- is regime change.

The international coalition (yes, that Iraq word again,coalition) now aiding Libya's rebels is pursuing regime change because actuallywinning Libya's War of Liberation means getting rid of Moammar Gadhafi.

Despite the White House writhing, the U.N. squirming, thescreaming hypocritical silence of the usual media suspects -- toppling Gadhafiis regime change.

Last month, President Barack Obama told the world Gadhafimust go. He could have kept his mouth shut, or his teleprompter shuttered, buthe didn't. President Obama said it, and I agreed with him. Then he dithered. Idamned that, for as he dithered Gadhafi's heavily armed loyalists andmercenaries retook rebel cities and left them littered with corpses.

Then on March 19, French fighter-bombers destroyed fourGadhafi loyalist tanks, as the armor prepared to overrun the rebel capital ofBenghazi. British strike aircraft and U.S. cruise missiles smashed Gadhafi'sair defense network. Attacking Gadhafi's tanks was an aerial interdiction ofground forces operation. That isn't merely enforcing a "no fly zone"-- it constitutes a direct attack on Gadhafi's ground forces. From that momentforward, the coalition, led by France and Britain, had chosen sides.

This week, President Obama said, once again, that Gadhafihad to leave, and good heavens, so did a rather sheepish Attorney General EricHolder.

Yes, gentlemen, Libya needs regime change -- desperately.The popular rebellion against Gadhafi's decades of terror, misrule and theft isan opportunity to do the right thing for the Libyan people and serve America'svital interest in forwarding democratic modernization throughout the world. Letme repeat that for emphasis: throughout the world. If you want to forge worldpeace instead of merely visualize it on your hippie bumper sticker, democraticmodernization is the strategic course of action.

But let's also acknowledge the source of White Housewrithing and hypocritical media silence: the rich, undeniable irony.Presidential candidate Obama wouldn't support President Obama because ...because -- forget the sotto voce, say it loud. Because to do so would haveratified the logic of the Bush administration's Global War on Terror (GWOT)foreign policy.

Candidate Obama may have pursued smart politics (for thetactical purpose of gaining power) by mainstreaming "Bush lied, peopledied" and other inflammatory nonsense. The intent was to impugn themotives of those of us who saw the GWOT enterprise as the best choice amongmany terrible choices. Libya, however, reveals Candidate Obama's foreign policyprescriptions, billed as smart diplomacy by liberal media operatives, as morebalderdash for the dustbin of history. It also calls into question just howsmart the politics of 2005 to 2009 will ultimately prove to be for Obama andthe Democratic Party.

MSNBC and The New York Times may not have figured it out,but pursuing regime change in Libya completely shatters Obama's "I'm notBush" theatrics. Sure, there are differences. Obama parties, vacations andhits the golf links far more often than George W. Bush ever did.

Libya follows hard on Obama's Gitmo prison fold. I've readthe twitchy screed of several apologists who, under the guise of legal opinion,try to provide propaganda cover for Obama's obvious failure to close GuantanamoBay. These law school scribblers seek to obscure the big picture by magnifyingscrawls on the margin. The big picture? The community organizer has put on acowboy hat.

Gitmo, like Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Libya, were thebest of bad choices.

Commanders have to make the best decision they can based onthe evidence at hand -- that is the hell of adult reality. The clock ticks, andthe bad guys act. To paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, war is the realm offriction, and friction means mistake after mistake after mistake. The"unknown unknowns" blindside you. Sometimes the "knownknowns" do, as well. This is why winning takes courage, resilience and thewill to endure. Those are cowboy traits. Obama has a hat. Does he have thecattle? 

To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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