Many readers will recall one of the most famous headlines in modern American newspaper history — the 1975 New York Daily News title “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
Substitute “Arab League” for “Ford” and “America” for “City” and you’ve got the perfect headline: “Arab League to America: Drop Dead.”
I always thought the best illustration of “chutzpah” was that of the boy who kills his parents and then pleads with the court for mercy on the grounds that he is an orphan.
But given that that is only a hypothetical example, we now have a better illustration of chutzpah because this one is true.
Witnessing the Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi’s large-scale killings of Libyan civilians, the Arab League begged us, the Europeans, and the Security Council to militarily intervene on behalf of the Libyan people.
So, despite the fact that America is rather weary of fighting Muslim mass murderers, is militarily overstretched, and has a devastating national debt, America said yes. We are the most decent country on earth and even a liberal-Left Democrat in the White House feels the moral pull of America’s legacy, values, and unparalleled strength.
But no sooner have America and the Europeans intervened than the Arab League officially protests our intervention on the grounds that Libyan civilians — 48 claimed, zero confirmed, at the time of the protest — have been killed by the intervention requested by the Arab League.
What exactly did the Arab League, most of whose dictators have murdered thousands of their own people for political reasons, think would happen once the U.S. and the Europeans intervened militarily? Did they assume not one Libyan civilian would get killed? Has there been a military action in history in which no civilians died?
Amr Moussa, the outgoing secretary-general of the Arab League, claimed in his statement that “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.”
Perhaps Mr. Moussa did not read the Security Council Resolution. It does not limit anti-Qaddafi military activity to “imposing a no-fly zone.” The resolution authorizes U.N. member states “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi” (italics added).
Perhaps President Obama should hold a press conference and make this announcement:
“Given the Arab League’s protest, we are immediately ending our military involvement in Libya. Apparently Mr. Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, assumed that military intervention is possible without the killing of a single civilian. He should have told us so. Under that condition, we would never have put our blood and treasure on the line. So now, we are out, and the blood of every Libyan killed and tortured by the Libyan dictator is now on the Arab League’s hands. On behalf of the American people I ask the Arab League, and especially Mr. Moussa, to never again appeal to us to save Arabs from their dictators. Shukran.”
(The president likes using Arabic words when he addresses Arab audiences, so his using the Arabic word for “thank you,” shukran, would add a nice flourish.)