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Pres. Obama and Libya

March 21, 2011 1:05:49 PM PDT
The goal is noble and worthy: Protecting a people from slaughter. That, ostensibly, is why we are now bombing Libya. Oh, wait, I meant to say "enforcing a no-fly zone."

You can get mental whiplash trying to keep track of the seeming contradictions of what the goal in all this is. On Friday it appeared that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stepped in it when she talked about Moammar Gadhafi relinquishing power as the goal of the U.N. Security Council resolution.

Then there was backpedaling from everyone else.

Then there was ramping up of support for Clinton's position, including the strongest statement and show of force yet: bombing Gadhafi's compound.

Now, last this afternoon, Pres. Obama says he wants to see Gadhafi step down from power, but insisted in the same breath that military action in Libya is limited to protecting civilians and preventing a humanitarian crisis.

Quite a position for Mr. Obama an anti-war Presidential candidate who, as President and Commander-in-Chief finds himself engaged in three big military conflicts: One that he inherited from George W. Bush (Iraq), another that he inherited and then escalated with the promise which his minions are now hedging on that troops would be withdrawn this summer (Afghanistan), and now a bombing raid that could last up to two weeks and, according to Pentagon officials, could result in a stalemate bombs away and Gadhafi would emerge still in power (Libya).

How did this anti-war President end up in this warlike situation?

It's the puzzling question many of his supporters are asking tonight. It's also a question many others are asking, since there seems to be a paucity of stated goals and end dates and exit strategies. It's also unclear who we're fighting for. If we're just protecting innocent civilians, we all get that. But this is indeed a civil war, and so who are the Libyan rebels? What do they stand for? And what deals, if any, have we made with them? We have no answers to those questions.

One other note about Mr. Obama's change-of-position about military action. He did not consult Congress about this Libya action; in fact, only today did he sent a letter to the House Speaker explaining his actions FROM 48 HOURS AGO! Turns out, as a candidate for President, Mr. Obama offered this in response to a question from the Boston Globe about the circumstances, if any, that a President would have to authority to bomb, in this case, Iran.

Said candidate Obama: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

I'm just sayin'.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on the military action in Libya.

Also at 11, we'll have the latest on the nuclear crisis in Japan. Officials say that, at least for today, things are stable. A federal nuclear officials told Congress today that "all three units appear to be in stable condition with sea-water injection being used to keep the reactors cool. Containment integrity for all three units is also believed that it is currently maintained."

Certainly great news. At least for today.

And our Nina Pineda tonight at 11 takes a look at a disturbing trend among some young people they're trying to get high by smoking an incense you can buy at the corner store. Charming.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for the ailing Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.


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