The Campaign Spot

Obama on Libya: Look, Just Trust Me On This

I’ll have more in tomorrow’s Morning Jolt, but I feel tonight a lot like the night of Obama’s speech announcing the Afghanistan surge to West Point. On paper, I agree with a lot of what Obama is saying. But he’s stringing together a lot of pretty-sounding phrases without really getting at the questions most skeptical Americans have: why intervene here and not in other places? Obama’s caught himself between his comments that clearly suggested regime change (Qaddafi must step down) and a strict adherence to a U.N. mandate that doesn’t include regime change. What is our goal? What do we do when America’s national interest and a United Nations rule conflict? And why are we worrying about what the U.N. says, anyway? Obama seems to be indicating we say publicly that we’re not pursuing regime change militarily but pursue it through non-military means, which seems like a fine (and perhaps odd) line. (If you’re trying to knock a brutal terror-sponsoring dictator out of power, knock him out of power! Don’t do it halfway!) Finally, what have we signed ourselves on to? Can we trust the Libyan rebels? What are we trying to replace Qaddafi with?

In the end, Obama’s speech amounted to, “Look, I realize none of you understand my decision making, but at the end of the day, you can rest easy knowing I’m right.”

He thinks he’s reassuring us.

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