While the international coaltion hesitates to take decisive action to remove Qaddafi from power, the human cost rises.
Qaddafi’s forces unleased artillery attacks on Misrata’s civilian population Tuesday, with devastating effect. The following dispatch gives you a sense of what these words mean, in human terms. See
Charles Livingston (Misrata) and Richard Boudreaux (Tripoli), “Rebel Gains Fail to End Siege of Libyan City–Opposition Triumph Is Followed by Shelling of Civilians in Misrata; NATO Strikes Gadhafi Compound, Escalating Campaign,” Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2011.
For a critique of Obama’s foreign-policy decision making style, which has led to the current debacle in Libya, see
Michael Gerson, “Obama’s serial indecision on the Middle East,”
Washington Post, April 26, 2011.
In an op-ed in the New York Times this morning, James M. Dubik draws attention to the very obvious need for U.S. leadership in the Libyan campaign, as follows:
In war, leadership is not exercised from the rear by those who seek to risk as little as possible. Washington must stop pretending that we’ve passed the leadership for the Libyan operation on to NATO. We did so in Bosnia, claiming Europe would take the lead, only to have the 1995 Srebrenica genocide jolt us back to reality. Like it or not, America’s leadership has been crucial to most of NATO’s successes. The same will be true in Libya (emphasis added).
–James M. Dubik, “Finish the Job,” New York Times, April 25, 2011 (op-ed).
You almost have to pinch yourself in the arm to realize that the coalition acting against Qaddafi is comprised of the strongest military alliance in the world, plus other countries from the region.
Could U.S. leadership make a difference in the results, and the time and lost lives required to achieve them?
We may never know.
What is certain, however, is that the Republicans will use Obama’s “leadership…from the rear by (one) who seek(s) to risk as little as possible” against him in the 2012 presidential campaign.
The Trenchant Observer