Monday, March 28, 2011
Under mounting criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, President Obama took to the airways tonight to tell a war-weary American people why he ordered the military to attack Libya.
The speech was a rhetorical mishmash borrowed from former President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech but failed to answer a fundamental question on the mind of many Americans: ‘Why is ending Qaddafi’s murderous reign more important than ending the far more lethal civil war in Somalia?’
President Obama purposely avoided calling the mission a “war,” and took great care to stress the humanitarian nature of the mission, at one point saying:
“Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. As president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”
Perhaps, someone in the president’s inner circle needs to show him “images” of the civil war underway in the Darfur region of Sudan which began in 2003. The Darfur civil war has resulted in the deaths of several hundred thousand Sundanese and forced more than 2.5 millions into refugee camps.
President Obama can opine about the humanitarian nature of the mission until he’s blue in the face but what makes Libya appear on his radar screen and not Sudan is simple: oil.
Libya — an OPEC member, produces 1.6 million barrels of oil per day making it the the third-largest oil producer in Africa and sits atop the continent’s largest reserves of crude oil. Sudan produces only a half a million barrels per day, making it the sixth biggest producer in Africa.
The president attempted to make the argument if he not acted, “the writ of the U.N. Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security,” but he managed to leapfrog over why he unilaterally took our nation to war without condescending to make his case to the U.S. Congress — as required by Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution.
President Obama delivered the speech before a live audience at the National Defense University in Washington, DC and not from the Oval Office in the White House. The room read to the television camera like a relaxed, college lecture hall. All the more peculiar since the American people are anything but relaxed about a new war added to Iraq and Afghanistan.