Will the Obama Administration Do Something for the Libyans?
11:19 AM, Mar 9, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Washington Post reports today that "The United States and its European allies are considering the use of naval assets to deliver humanitarian aid to Libya and to block arms shipments to the government of Moammar Gaddafi..."
Of course, a good way to aid the Libyan people would be to work somehow toward ending Muammar Qaddafi's attacks on his own people. Perhaps the idea getting most traction for this would be for America and its allies to implement a no-fly zone over Libya. But the Obama administration does not seem at all interested.
Obama "doesn’t want to fall into a Libya trap," a report in Politico today explains. It goes on, citing an unnamed Obama administration official as saying, “History has shown that when you rush into these things, you get it wrong. We’re not going to rush no matter what anyone says.” The reporter, without attribution, continues: "For all his caution, Obama’s attitude could instantly change if clear evidence emerges that Qadhafi is massacring his own civilians."
But there is "clear evidence that Qadhafi is massacring his own civilians." Why else would British prime minister David Cameron have demanded "an immediate end to the violence and the killing of protesters" in Libya? And there are numerous press reports detailing this.
So while it's not clear what historical precedent the Obama administration might have been referring to, it is pretty clear that they are doing their best to buy time -- and not do anything.
Another excuse the Obama administration has been able to muster for not aiding the rebels in Libya? Well, according to State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley, "It would be illegal for the United States" to provide military assistance to the rebels. Citing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970, he said, "It's not a legal option."
Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have issued an important statement, refuting Crowley's comments:
The senators are being overly gracious to the president. After all, when even the New York Times editorial board expresses concern that America is "weakening...credibility," as they say today in an editorial urging the Obama administration to do something to prevent Qaddafi from reclaiming his full power, it's time to act. Watching people as they are indiscriminately murdered in the Libyan streets is not just an inappropriate response, it's the wrong thing to do.