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April 1, 2011

Genug! Basta! Kefiyyah! Arredy

Roy Meachum

President Barack Obama’s taking heat from all sides, progressive Democrats and retrogressive Republicans.


Those on the left are so afraid of a new war, and on the right they simply don’t trust the man; never did. Me? As I wrote before, the French and British were ready to go without U.S. firepower. They were much concerned about the slaughter Muammar Gadhafi vowed to take against anyone opposing him. In places the dictator controls, he’s already done it.


Both political sides wanted an explanation before the first Tomahawk cruise missile was launched, but French and British jets were over Libya; the leading three were properly worried over the loss of life. They were quickly joined by a slew of nations including the Arab League’s Qatar and United Arab Emirates. It was a genuine emergency!


Furthermore, critics who lambasted the president for his slowness to act decisively against the Mideast’s mad dog turned themselves inside out, crying “foul!” when he did exactly as they wanted. In this republic, politicians can shout both ways while seemingly caring nothing about public opinion that can be fickle. In the 1964 national election, Lyndon Johnson won by the biggest majority of all presidential races; 80 percent of those polled that November approved the war in Vietnam. Yet the man from Texas threw his hat in rather to run again and face a shellacking from voters who wanted our troops out of Southeast Asia just four years later.


What his opponents know for sure, handled the right way, Libya could save Mr. Obama’s Oval Office seat already written off by conservatives and progressives. The most the country can hope is that the White House stays the course and not let down its closest allies and the Libyan people. If he blinks or displays any hesitation, the political buzzards will haul him back to Chicago where his public career started.


The president’s position can be summed up: damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. With more Washington experience than anyone on the Hill or down on Pennsylvania Avenue, I make bold to predict the storm of words will pass and then officials, elected and appointed, can return to the task of fixing this bent economy – not busted yet. Not quite.


And let me remind those still fixated on his predecessor’s pledges to pay for his invasion of Baghdad with Iraqi oil, the current administration holds over $40 billion seized from M. Gadhafi’s personal and family accounts. By the way, the Defense Department’s estimate of the actions on Libya totaled $550 million over the weekend. That’s about a tenth of the amount that U.S. banks yielded to federal action.


Besides the president, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates vowed there will be no American boots “on the ground.” Unless they’re all liars – and Mr. Gates is a holdover from the Republican administration – we will never be faced with the decision of pulling out, which generals hate to do – citing Vietnam.


In any event, this week the North Atlantic Treaty Organization took over the whole Libya shebang, as non-NATO Bulgaria sent a frigate to join the fleet blockading North Africa. As another member of the North Atlantic organization we are committed to go along with what the majority decides.


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By the way, this column’s headline was “enough” in German, Italian and Arabic. “Arredy” is “already” as spoken in the Philadelphia of my youth.


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