I wonder if President Obama ever consulted with “Candidate Obama” before he made the decision to attack Libya. From the final 2008 debate between Senators McCain and Obama:
MR. OBAMA Well, this is an area where Senator McCain and I have a fundamental difference because, I think, the first question is whether we should have gone into the war in the first place.
Now, six years ago, I stood up and opposed this war, at a time when it was politically risky to do so, because I said that not only did we not know how much it was going to cost, what our exit strategy might be, how it would affect our relationships around the world and whether our intelligence was sound but also because we hadn’t finished the job in Afghanistan. We hadn’t caught bin Laden. We hadn’t put Al Qaeda to rest. And as a consequence, I thought that it was going to be a distraction.
Now, Senator McCain and President Bush had a very different judgment. And I wish I had been wrong, for the sake of the country, and they had been right. But that’s not the case.
We’ve spent over $600 billion so far, soon to be a trillion. We have lost over 4,000 lives. We have seen 30,000 wounded. And most importantly from a strategic, national security perspective, Al Qaeda is resurgent, stronger now than at any time since 2001.
We took our eye off the ball and not to mention that we are still spending $10 billion a month, when they have a $79 billion surplus, at a time when we are in great distress here at home and we just talked about the fact that our budget is way overstretched, and we are borrowing money from overseas to try to finance just some of the basic functions of our government.
So I think the lesson to be drawn is that we should never hesitate to use military force, and I will not as president in order to keep the American people safe. But we have to use our military wisely, and we did not use our military wisely in Iraq.
So, Mr. President: How much will Libya cost? What’s our exit strategy? If Qaddafi goes, what will the U.S. role be in the following civil war? And is this a distraction from more pressing issues at home?