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Friday, April 1, 2011

The Libyan War: A Reluctant Commander-in-chief

          " Purposes by counsel thou dost establish, And with plans make
           thou war". - Proverbs 20:18

Last Monday night, America awaited President Obama's speech on the Libyan war. For a nation called upon by an oppressed population (Libyans), we are once again putting the lives of out troops in yet another conflict, and opening up our (empty) treasury.

Proverbs 20:18 says it all: to secure success in a military engagement the mission must be clear and the strategies set in place. The President has, at his disposal, the best minds on international affairs, on war strategies and diplomatic outreach. But the final decision rests on that man behind the podium, our Commander-in-chief.

Speech delivered, message received: America has officially taken a back seat as the leader of the free world. The messages were mixed, the mission unclear, leaving more questions than answers. A week ago, the President  said "Gadhafi must go". Monday night, he said that "it is not the coalition's goal to remove him from power", but if Gadhafi happened to be taken out by accident that would be fine, too. (If you're Gadhafi, you must be thanking NATO and UN for the permission to stay in power. If you're an allied pilot, do you pull the trigger or not if Gadhafi happened to be in the target area? If Gadhafi is accidentally killed, would that upset the Arab League members that the bombings exceeded the intended limited scope of protecting civilians?). The President seems uncomfortable with his role as Commander-in-chief and could never seem to utter the word "war". A Commander-in-chief who couldn't quite decide whether it's a good thing to be the most dominant military superpower.

As noble as it is that we are in Libya to protect the civilians from a merciless and murderous tyrant, the fact is we are in it because of OIL. If this operation is purely of humanitarian purpose, then we should be in Sudan or Rwanda as well where a generation of armless or legless citizens go about their lives as refugees, their limbs cut off by kid-soldiers forcibly recruited by rivaling corrupt African leaders. Or we should be in Burma where even monks get no respect and get shot at by the government soldiers. Or in North Korea where its people are dying of famine. The Middle East is vital to us because of its oil. We do not know how this "Arab Spring", as it spreads in the region, will turn out, whether it will result to freer Arab countries or more dictatorial regimes hostile to the US. Arab Spring is an ear-splitting wake-up call to Washington to develop SMARTER energy policy, and develop it now. For the President to go to Brazil, give them our taxpayer-money to develop their oil reserves so we can be their best customer in the future, while holding up drilling in our own backyard, was a mind-boggling move that simply left Americans scratching their heads. For this administration to issue a moratorium on oil drilling after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is especially short-sighted and economically-irresponsible. If a 500-, or 5,000-car pile-up accident happened on I-90, would this administration shut down all of the interstate highways? Not at all likely. That would result to probably the biggest disruption to our economy. It just would not make sense the same way this moratorium does not make sense. God provided us with the richest resources and the best technology to develop them safely and responsibly. We should have acted years ago. It is just common sense to act now. The country is ready, willing and able. The man behind the podium just needs to give the order: DRILL, BABY, DRILL.

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