Magazine April 18, 2011, Issue

War Without Strategy

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty/Newscom)
What, precisely, does the president hope to achieve in Libya?

Pres. Barack Obama’s reluctant military intervention in Libya followed from a number of logical considerations. First, his administration had been widely criticized for much of 2011 for his contradictory and tardy admonitions to pro-Western Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak to step down in the face of mounting domestic political pressure. Too often, the degree of American official support for reformers in the streets of the Middle East seemed predicated only on their chances of success — as if the Nobel peace laureate Obama were some sort of Kissingerian realist rather than a principled

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To be fair, Obama is right: Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has to declare kinetic military action.

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