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Making the UN look quick and decisive

Posted by Richard on March 18, 2011

You know the expression "a day late and a dollar short"? This is a month late and a couple of squadrons of F22s short:

The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution Thursday evening authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and other military action against Libya, as the Obama administration worked to ready plans to enforce a no-fly zone with help from Arab and European allies.

Nice to know that the US is now working to ready plans. Only 31 days after President Obama declared that Gaddafi must go.

The United States, France and Britain pushed for speedy approval because Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces are advancing toward opposition-held Benghazi. The Libyan leader vowed Thursday night to oust the rebels from their eastern stronghold.

France and Britain have been pushing for some time. The US has been distracted by the President's need to attend fund-raisers, plan vacations, and fill his brackets.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said if the resolution was approved, France would support military action against Qaddafi within hours. The U.S. said it was preparing for action.

France is ready to act within hours. The US is still, after more than a month, "preparing."

In the last four weeks, compared to France, the US has looked weak, indecisive, and unprepared. Boy, the world sure has changed in the last two years. 

Last week, I said "Reasonable people can disagree over whether we should intervene, but this dithering is the worst of all possible responses." Let me amend that a bit: Dithering even longer — until the allies who used to look to the US for leadership decide to take the lead themselves — and then belatedly agreeing to act, apparently without having a plan in place for doing so, is the worst of all possible responses. 

Gaddafi's fighter jets and helicopter gunships have been pounding rebel forces and civilian populations in rebel-supporting regions for more than a month. No one knows how many have died. Now that the rebels have been decimated, Gaddafi's mercenaries are ready to drive them out of their last stronghold, Benghazi, and the defeat of the rebellion seems almost certain, the US is almost ready to act.

This is simply disgusting and shameful. It would have been better if the President had declared 31 days ago that what happens in Libya is none of our concern and had unequivocally pledged not to intervene in its internal affairs. 

This, as I said, was the worst of all possible responses. For weeks, it gave brave freedom fighters false hope. Now, when it's almost certainly too late, it lets us pretend to be concerned and engaged. While leaving in charge the same UN that put Libya on its Human Rights Council.

The rebels were right to cry out for help from Bush.

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