Friday, March 18, 2011

Obama’s Libya address

Obama gave a speech about Libya today.

“Last month, protesters took to the streets across the country to demand their universal rights, and a government that is accountable to them and responsive to their aspirations. But they were met with an iron fist.” Well, if that isn’t responsive, I don’t know is. Some people just complain about anything, don’t they?

HAS HE CHECKED BEHIND THE SOFA? THAT’S WHERE I ALWAYS LOOK FIRST WHEN I LOSE STUFF. “Moammar Qaddafi clearly lost the confidence of his own people and the legitimacy to lead.” It’s interesting how many times Obama has talked about Qaddafi having lost his legitimacy. I have to wonder how he thought Q-Ball gained legitimacy in the first place, and how he maintained it, and whether he has had it for all the forty-some years of his reign – including when Reagan was trying to kill him? – because it seems Obama recognizes some other method of conferring legitimacy upon a regime than representative democracy. And evidently it takes some very concrete form because he says that Q-Boy “clearly” lost it.

(When I got to the end, I noticed there’d been no name-calling. Bush would have called Qaddafi a dictator about twenty times, Obama never did. Then I noticed he hadn’t called him anything, not even colonel. Just his name, sometimes with his first name, no title, twelve times.)

Then he details the violence in Libya for a bit, then says, “In the face of this injustice, the United States and the international community moved swiftly.” Define swiftly.

WHAT HE HAS DEMONSTRATED: “For decades, he has demonstrated a willingness to use brute force through his sponsorship of terrorism against the American people as well as others, and through the killings that he has carried out within his own borders.” But that was back in the days when he was legitimate, so it was all good.

“Now, here is why this matters to us.” There are layers of obnoxiousness in that sentence I just don’t feel like unpacking.

JEEZ, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CLUE? “Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Qaddafi would commit atrocities against his people.”

Atrocities, the region destabilized, blah blah, “Moreover, the words of the international community would be rendered hollow.” Anyone else hear an echo of Bush here? – “our words gotta mean somethin’.”

“The resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately.” And the opinion of France is important because why now?

LET ME BE CLEAR IS THE NEW “IN OTHER WORDS”: “Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable. These terms are not subject to negotiation.”

UNIQUE CAPABILITIES, IS THAT WHAT WE’RE CALLING BOMBING WEDDING PARTIES AND CHILDREN GATHERING FIREWOOD NOW? “We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians”.

HE WANTS TO BE CLEAR: “I also want to be clear about what we will not be doing. The United States is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya. And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal -- specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya.” Keep in mind that “well-defined goal” in the days ahead.

WHAT THE US DID NOT SEEK: “Now, the United States did not seek this outcome.” And yet somehow it’s where we always wind up. Funny, that.

“It is not an action that we will pursue alone. Indeed, our British and French allies, and members of the Arab League, have already committed to take a leadership role in the enforcement of this resolution, just as they were instrumental in pursuing it.” Because when you think leadership role in a fight, you think France. (Oh, and Oman, just so no one claims I keep picking on France.) (But.... Sarkozy... just saying.)

HE HAS A NOBEL PRIZE IN PEACE, YOU KNOW: “From the beginning of these protests, we have made it clear that we are opposed to violence.”

HE WANTS TO BE CLEAR: “But I want to be clear: the change in the region will not and cannot be imposed by the United States or any foreign power; ultimately, it will be driven by the people of the Arab World. It is their right and their responsibility to determine their own destiny.” But we still get to blow shit up, right?

ALTHOUGH HE DID TAKE LIKE SIX MONTHS TO PICK A STUPID DOG: “there is no decision I face as your Commander in Chief that I consider as carefully as the decision to ask our men and women to use military force.” Oh, and he is not “your Commander in Chief” unless you’re in the military. This is a democracy, we do not have a commander in chief.

BIG FINISH: “Our goal is focused, our cause is just, and our coalition is strong.”

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