Fallows examines the arrogant, high-handed and undemocratic nature of a war no-one but a handful of people decided on - with no Congressional vote, no public debate, and in violation of core campaign promises by Obama. My anger is not simply at what I regard as the folly of starting a long war with someone as insane as Qaddafi, but at the way this war was foisted on the public with absolutely no warning.
It shows contempt for the American people, and their views, and contempt for the Congress and its role in deliberating before going to war. As Fallows notes, this entire debate was entirely about changing one man's mind, not the country or the Congress or the people. Only the emperor counts, and if he happens to be wrong, tough luck. Who would have thought we'd elect Barack Obama to replicate the worst aspects of an unaccountable executive?
After this spectacular first stage of air war, what happens then? If the airstrikes persuade Qaddafi and his forces just to quit, great! But what if they don't? What happens when a bomb lands in the "wrong" place? As one inevitably will. When Arab League supporters of the effort see emerging "flaws" and "abuses" in its execution? As they will. When the fighting goes on and the casualties mount up and a commitment meant to be "days, not weeks" cannot "decently" be abandoned, after mere days, with so many lives newly at stake? When the French, the Brits, and other allies reach the end of their military resources -- or their domestic support -- and more of the work naturally shifts to the country with more weapons than the rest of the world combined?
(Photo: President Obama on a trip in Brazil immediately after declaring war on the Libyan regime. By Jim Watson/Getty.)
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