March 23, 2011

About those Iraq comparisons...

Who can forget that famous line from Newt Gingrich, who told Fox News that “the more difficult it gets, the more the President golfs and the more the President hides.” Relax, Gingrich wasn't dissing former President George W. Bush -- notorious for playing golf and vacationing -- he was actually criticizing President Barack Obama, just two days ago.

It was genuinely entertaining to watch members of the Republican foreign policy elite warn of Libyan mission creep last Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press". Of course, NBC identified Richard Haass as President of the Council on Foreign Relations rather than as a former policy advisor for both Presidents Bush. To their credit, both Haass and the elder Bush understood the limitations of U.S. unilateral force. As for the younger President Bush, well…

The coordinated international military effort in Libya bears no resemblance to the junior Bush adventure in Iraq, especially since it was authorized under an expansive resolution by the United Nations Security Council. What's more, France -- which Bush 43 left behind -- is not only on board, it took the diplomatic lead. And even the Arab League found a rare moment of courage, just long enough to sign off on the Security Council resolution. (For all those complaining that Obama isn't taking the lead on Libya, see under: Bush 43.) 

There may be good reasons to not act or to do even more in Libya, or to do it differently, but this is not comparable to Iraq, for the reasons above and for so many more reasons that should be as obvious as they are tedious to list. Also, George W. Bush was the President of the United States who reopened diplomatic and trade relations with Muammar Qaddafi's Libya, with some fanfare. Yup, that would be another difference. 

1 comment:

  1. Whether creating a no-fly zone over Libya is a mistake, Republican leaders and legislators would complain about President Obama's decision whether we engaged or not. Their stated objective is to make Obama a one-term president so they can retake the White House.