Americans Need Guidance Over Libya

There appears to be confusion in America with regard to Libya. Some US citizens are blaming President Obama for dragging the nation into another Middle East war. Then, there are those who criticize President Obama for passing the leadership of said war over to NATO. After all, if we’re going to have another war it’s only right that America should take charge, isn’t it?

There are also members of Congress who criticize President Obama for not seeking their approval for said war. A loud wailing has been heard from ‘The Hill’: “The Constitution demands it!”

Finally, of course, there is the media, with its plethora of self-opinionated, self-styled, ‘experts’ ready and willing (for a fat fee) to stir up the viewers with veiled suggestions of President Obama selling out the country, having no ‘end game’, or some other vague critique dependent on which cable channel is footing the bill.

They’ve all conveniently forgotten one minor item in the lead up to the military action in Libya; a certain agreement entitled, “UN Resolution 1973 (2011)”.[1]

It was not America that took the decision to interfere in Libya, it was the United Nations. America is no more, or less, than one member country of that organization, which, of course, comprises among its members the League of Arab States. It was these members, including the League of Arab States, the African Union (Libya is part of Africa), and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, that were in favor of, and voted for, military intervention.

US President Obama is keen that America should be seen as part of the United Nations, but neither running it, nor bossing it – unlike the previous US Administration, who thought they owned it.

UN Resolution 1973 (2011) also calls for the perpetrators of war crimes against civilians in Libya to be referred to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The previous US Administration, under George W Bush, refused to recognize the ICC. That’s hardly surprising, when one considers how many of his political compatriots could have ended up there, but US President Obama has taken an opposite stance.

“Our government has now made the decision that Americans will return to engagement at the ICC.” ~ Stephen Rapp, US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, November 16, 2009.

America is not at war with Libya, therefore the US Constitution has no relevance, and Congress no reason to complain. Besides, if it all goes badly, they can hypocritically wash their hands of responsibility.

What US President Obama has done with regard to Libya i.e. assist in upholding UN Resolution 1973 (2011), is absolutely right and proper. No one nation should take a lead in enforcing UN resolutions. It must be done by an organization acceptable to all member countries.

In this instance, that organization is NATO.

[1] “UN Resolution 1973 (2011)” UN Security Council, Department of Public Information, March 17th 2011

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2 Replies to “Americans Need Guidance Over Libya”

  1. There appears to be confusion not only in America but all over the world. Don’t forget the sudden change of attitude of the Arab League toward the military operation. And there is also the dispute between the Russian president and his prime minister over its legitimacy. I think all such reactions contribute to the impression that the world leaders don’t really know what the next steps should be.

  2. David – your point is well made. I was writing as a US resident observing the many facets of this nation’s political media and its effects on the populace as a whole, but the hesitancy and bickering you highlight is certainly indicative of a lack of political cohesion generally. It’s hardly surprising when you consider each government has its own political agenda with regard to Libya; each looks at the situation and how it can best benefit from it.

    The reactions you describe don’t simply give an impression; world leaders truly don’t know what the next steps should be. Most want rid of Gaddafi, but to just take him out with a Tomahawk missile (even one with an Arabic name on its side) is politically unacceptable, at least at this stage of the game.

    In my post, you will note I considered President Obama right to work within the UN framework. I was careful not to display approval, or otherwise, for the actual UN resolution. To do so would be to argue far deeper, moral, and sociological, issues.

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