With Libya, is 'Obama doctrine' on war emerging?
Barack Obama entered the White House responsible for two wars he had inherited. Now, as Iraq winds down and Afghanistan drags on, he finds himself at the outset of possible US combat in Libya.
Barack Obama began his presidential term as commander-in-chief responsible for two wars he had inherited. Now, as Iraq winds down and Afghanistan drags on – both of which have uncertain futures – he finds himself at the outset of possible US combat in Libya.Skip to next paragraph
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As a result, while any “Obama doctrine” regarding the use of US military force has yet to be declared, one seems to be emerging.
Obama’s actions in this case have been deliberate, indicating a clear hesitance to be out front in yet another war in a Muslim country.
He seemed to be listening closely to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and uniformed military leaders warning of what they saw as great difficulties in implementing a no-fly zone in Libya. Only when some Arab nations, plus major European powers, were ready to take on Muammar Qaddafi militarily did Obama indicate the same.
The situation on the ground Saturday was moving rapidly.
Despite Qaddafi’s announced “ceasefire,” Libyan troops were still attacking opposition forces in the rebel capital of Benghazi. As the fighting continued, meanwhile, US, European and Arab officials were holding an emergency summit in Paris Saturday to define the terms of military engagement in Libya.
So far, at least, the US military role looks like it’ll be largely supportive as Britain and France take the lead following the United Nations declaration approving military efforts to prevent Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi from further attacking his government opponents among the civilian population.
British and French fighters seem likely to be the first to attack military targets in Libya, and as the Paris summit wrapped up Saturday afternoon, French aircraft already had begun flying over Libya.
The US is prepared to back them up by providing intelligence using drone aircraft, aerial refueling, and command-and-control of airspace using AWACS aircraft. American naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea also are equipped to launch cruise missiles.