The Libyan war intensified and one equipment malfunction could have provided the U.S. with its first casualty. Here’s what else’s new:
1. My first thought talked about unpredictability
2. Radio Show today
3. The fight in congress is not just about presidential authority
4. Passing Libya off to NATO could be tougher than originally anticipated
President Obama and the coalition forces are finding it rather difficult to redirect authority in Libya. NATO was, from the outset, assumed to become the next organization to take over. It would replace the hodgepodge coalition put together from the U.N. Security Council vote. What looked simple could be more complicated. Not everyone who belongs to NATO is on board with the war in Libya.
For instance, Turkey has some discontent with continuing the battle in Libya. Germany even abstained from the resolution in the U.N. Furthermore, Russia, China, Germany, India, and Brazil all signed an agreement asking for a ceasefire in Libya. Even though not all these countries belong to NATO, if a broad based international coalition is going to be sustainable for the U.S. some of these countries must be involved.
Inside the coalition, France wants to run it bilaterally with Britain. Britain is not okay with that. If that does not work, France supports setting up a “military steering committee” to run the fighting separately from NATO. So, not everyone is on board and the U.S. refuses to act alone. International politic is never easy to manage. Unless something is done quickly it could be the end of the campaign or the beginning of U.S. or European only led campaign.
Congress is now engaged in a debate presidential authority to provide military assistance to the U.N.’s “No Fly Zone.” In obedience, with the War Powers Act, which was passed during the Vietnam War, the president notified congress in a letter yesterday about military action taken. He must do it 48 hours after an altercation starts. The fighting has 60 days before it will need congressional approval.
Senator Richard Lugar (R, Indiana) is the biggest critic of the operation. He is for action, but he thinks the president should have authorized action with congress first. Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D Ohio) and Representative Ron Paul (R, Texas) also saw this conflict as an infringement on the president’s constitutional right during a time of war. Democrats and Republicans alike are going after the president with their newfound love for the constitution.
Originally, I thought this was just action by the Tea Party. Lugar will be facing a tough primary challenge in Indiana where he must show the Tea Party he is down with everything constitution. To some extent, that is probably true. But, the real answer probably lies with interests. Republicans see a chance to attack the president for dithering and not taking action sooner. Anti-war Democrats see visions of Vietnam and Iraq all over again. It also give more liberal Democrats a chance to attack Obama for being too centrist. The Tea Party sees an opening to discuss constitutional powers of the president. All these political interests are converging onto this one issue.
Otherwise, President Obama appears to be following the rules, better than some of his predecessors I might add. Its just ammunition for the president to be attacked by the right and the left. I have a feeling this is just the beginning. Wars tend to bring out the true political colors of a party. Each side has divisions. The Republicans have the Tea Party, who I see as neo-isolationist, and the Bush era interventionist Republicans and the Tea Party has the Clintonite aggressive multilateralists versus its anti-war faction. The longer this conflict goes one, the more likely these splits will get deeper. That is not the best for either party that wants to present a united front for the 2012 presidential election.
Photo Credit: Politico
An American F-15 crashed over Libyan territory, although the pilot was not killed, last night. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
The military dispatched two Marine Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, which is currently about 100 miles off the coast of Libya, to pick up one of the downed pilots. The other ejected and “was recovered by the people of Libya,” said Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of US Naval Forces in Europe and Africa. “He was treated with dignity and respect, and is now in the care of the United States.” Both sustained only minor injuries, according to Admiral Locklear. The jet, based out of Lakenheath, England, went down over eastern Libya Monday at 10:30 p.m. “while conducting a strike mission against Qaddafi regime air defense systems,” according to a statement released by the US military’s Africa Command.
The dangers for a pilot being captured are real in Libya. If it happens again and he ends in in Gadhafi’s hands, more force would probably be used by the coalition forces.
Here is my radio show for this week. It starts about 2 minutes into the audio.