Hitchens rips Obama on Libya: Is our president Swiss?

posted at 8:29 pm on February 25, 2011 by Allahpundit

A new lead for the Birthers?

The Obama administration also behaves as if the weight of the United States in world affairs is approximately the same as that of Switzerland. We await developments. We urge caution, even restraint. We hope for the formation of an international consensus. And, just as there is something despicable about the way in which Swiss bankers change horses, so there is something contemptible about the way in which Washington has been affecting—and perhaps helping to bring about—American impotence. Except that, whereas at least the Swiss have the excuse of cynicism, American policy manages to be both cynical and naive…

By the time of Obama’s empty speech, even the notoriously lenient Arab League had suspended Libya’s participation, and several of Qaddafi’s senior diplomatic envoys had bravely defected. One of them, based in New York, had warned of the use of warplanes against civilians and called for a “no-fly zone.” Others have pointed out the planes that are bringing fresh mercenaries to Qaddafi’s side.
In the Mediterranean, the United States maintains its Sixth Fleet, which could ground Qaddafi’s air force without breaking a sweat. But wait! We have not yet heard from the Swiss admiralty, without whose input it would surely be imprudent to proceed.

Evidently a little sensitive to the related charges of being a) taken yet again completely by surprise, b) apparently without a policy of its own, and c) morally neuter, the Obama administration contrived to come up with an argument that maximized every form of feebleness. Were we to have taken a more robust or discernible position, it was argued, our diplomatic staff in Libya might have been endangered. In other words, we decided to behave as if they were already hostages! The governments of much less powerful nations, many with large expatriate populations as well as embassies in Libya, had already condemned Qaddafi’s criminal behavior, and the European Union had considered sanctions, but the United States (which didn’t even charter a boat for the removal of staff until Tuesday) felt obliged to act as if it were the colonel’s unwilling prisoner. I can’t immediately think of any precedent for this pathetic “doctrine,” but I can easily see what a useful precedent it sets for any future rogue regime attempting to buy time. Leave us alone—don’t even raise your voice against us—or we cannot guarantee the security of your embassy. (It wouldn’t be too soon, even now, for the NATO alliance to make it plain to Qaddafi that if he even tried such a thing, he would lose his throne, and his ramshackle armed forces, and perhaps his worthless life, all in the course of one afternoon.)

More from Leon Wieseltier at TNR:

“This violence must stop.” So President Obama declared the other day about the depravity in Tripoli. This “must” is a strange mixture of stridency and passivity. It is the deontic locution familiar from the editorial pages of newspapers, where people who have no power to change the course of events demand that events change their course. This “must” denotes an order, or a permission, or an obligation, or a wish, or a will. It does not denote a plan. It includes no implication, no expectation, of action. It is the rhetoric of futility: this infection must stop, this blizzard must stop, this madness must stop. But this infection, this blizzard, this madness, like this violence, will not stop, because its logic is to grow. It will stop only if it is stopped. Must the murder of his own people by this madman stop, Mr. President? Then stop it…

Obama’s statement about Libya suggests another explanation for his slow pace. This was its climax: “So let me be clear. The change that is taking place across the region is being driven by the people of the region. This change doesn’t represent the work of the United States or any foreign power. It represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life.”

They are fighting authoritarianism, but he is fighting imperialism. Who in their right mind believes that this change does represent the work of the United States or any foreign power? To be sure, there are conspiracy theorists in the region who are not in their right mind, and will hold such an anti-American view; but this anti-Americanism is not an empirical matter. They will hate us whatever we do. I do not see a Middle East rising up in anger at the prospect of American intervention. I see an American president with a paralyzing fear that it will. In those Middle Eastern streets and squares that have endured the pangs of democratization, the complaint has been not that the United States has intervened, but that the United States has not intervened. The awful irony is that Obama is more haunted by the history of American foreign policy in the Middle East than are many people in the Middle East, who look to him for support in their genuinely epochal struggle against the social death in which their tyrannies have imprisoned them. He worries about the repetition of an old paradigm. They are in the midst of a new paradigm. He does not want to be Bush. They want him to be Obama; or what Obama was supposed to be.

He goes on to ask why Qaddafi should enjoy the services of foreign fighters but not the rebels. As enjoyably indignant as both pieces are, the quiet X factor here, I think, is Saudi Arabia. Our “friends” in Riyadh may yet square off with the discontented in their midst, and when they do, Obama won’t want to feel bound to intervene militarily if things start to get hairy. We’ve seen what the Saudis (or rather, their clients) are willing to do in Bahrain; if that sort of confrontation comes to the Kingdom, then The One will either have to follow his Libyan precedent and act on the side of a population weaned on Wahhabism or else decline to act in the name of “stability” and earn the contempt of everyone in the region who isn’t already contemptuous of him/us. The White House and its mouthpieces haven’t mentioned the Saudis publicly once, I believe, since the very first protests broke out in Tunisia late last year, but they cast a shadow over every decision. The Kingdom is the ultimate prize for jihadis, for reasons both economic and religious. If Obama has to grit his teeth and sit back on Libya lest the Saudis’ position become even more precarious, he’s going to do it. Sad but, I think, true.

As I write this, stories are hitting the wires about Qaddafi’s mercenaries firing into crowds of people while they marched, and over 200 Arab groups from 18 countries are now calling for a no-fly zone. An early draft of the new British/French Security Council resolution on Libya mentioned an NFZ but the new draft no longer does, which should be all the proof you need of how reluctant the west is to even hint of getting involved here. If you missed it in Headlines earlier, I highly recommend this piece at Foreign Policy about how Obama’s dropping the ball — not on Libya but on Tunisia, the first country to oust its dictator and still the spiritual heart of the “Arab spring.” As noted in our very first post about this winter’s Middle East upheaval, Tunisia’s known for comparatively higher incomes, greater rights for women, and better education standards than other Muslim countries. Of all the nations across the Middle East, with the possible exception of Iran, it’s probably the best candidate to transition to liberal-ish democracy. Since the rest of the Arab world’s been looking to them for inspiration, our best option for heading off the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere is to cultivate liberalization in Tunisia and hope that protesters elsewhere demand that their governments follow suit. That was my point, in fact, in arguing that regime change in Iran would become the key to U.S. regional policy going forward: If you want to place Islamism in disfavor, you’d better offer an alternative model. (That was one of the points of democracy in Iraq, no?) Whether we could buy our way into Tunisia and help set up some sort of pilot program to put them on track, I don’t know, but the people there are still motivated and dissatisfied with the remnants of the Ben Ali dictatorship that remain in charge. Are we even trying?


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God Almighty…Hitchens is irrelevant.

True_King on February 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM

In the Mediterranean, the United States maintains its Sixth Fleet, which could ground Qaddafi’s air force without breaking a sweat.

There are no aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean so we would have to fly from Italian air bases.

And yeah it pretty much is too late.

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Are we even trying…. No

sandee on February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM

You have to love Hitchens.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Am I the only one slightly surprised Hitchens is still, you know, with us?

amerpundit on February 25, 2011 at 8:38 PM

There are no aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean so we would have to fly from Italian air bases.

And yeah it pretty much is too late. – sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM

For the first time in 30 years. President Present sent our Mediterranean carrier through the Suez canal, this past week. Just as the turmoil in Libya was getting started.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

“Our “friends” in Riyadh may yet square off with the discontented in their midst, and when they do, Obama won’t want to feel bound to intervene militarily if things start to get hairy.”

Meh…

A new study suggests that if the outer continental shelf of Alaska were to be opened up for oil and gas drilling, the state of Alaska would become the eighth largest producer of oil, exceeding Nigeria, Libya, Russia, and Norway.

Seven Percent Solution on February 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

In the Mediterranean, the United States maintains its Sixth Fleet, which could ground Qaddafi’s air force without breaking a sweat. But wait! We have not yet heard from the Swiss admiralty, without whose input it would surely be imprudent to proceed.

No carriers in the Mediterranean.

amerpundit on February 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

God Almighty…Hitchens is irrelevant.

True_King on February 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM

He must not be that irrelevant-since you took time to comment on a thread about him.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 25, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Am I the only one slightly surprised Hitchens is still, you know, with us? – amerpundit on February 25, 2011 at 8:38 PM

He is still fighting the good fight with the same disease that got my Father. The odds that he will make it, are less than one percent.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 8:42 PM

“Screw this crap- it’s too complicated.
Hey do you who I got for the latest party?
Gladys Knight”!
Boo-Ya!

jjshaka on February 25, 2011 at 8:42 PM

For the first time in 30 years. President Present sent our Mediterranean carrier through the Suez canal, this past week. Just as the turmoil in Libya was getting started.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Yeah ya gotta wonder about that. I mean we have unrest in Tunisia, there is already a carrier in the Arabian Sea, and we all know he isn’t going to strike Iran so what the heck was the point?

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:43 PM

or else decline to act in the name of “stability” and earn the contempt of everyone in the region who isn’t already contemptuous of him/us.

Unlike how they’re hating on us now for not saying something?

amerpundit on February 25, 2011 at 8:44 PM

He is still fighting the good fight with the same disease that got my Father. The odds that he will make it, are less than one percent.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 8:42 PM

My condolences.

amerpundit on February 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM

God Almighty…Hitchens is irrelevant.

True_King on February 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Hitchens wrote something worthwhile. The same can’t be said for you.

ElectricPhase on February 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM

I thought Hitchens was dead.

kevinkristy on February 25, 2011 at 8:46 PM

GOD BLESS HITCH!

400lb Gorilla on February 25, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Maybe Israel should announce some housing project in Tripoli. Maybe that will get the Obami moving.

Lance Murdock on February 25, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Bring back Jimmy Carter. The world would be a safer place.

meci on February 25, 2011 at 8:48 PM

How many times does it have to be said? He’s Keyesian, not Swiss!

ncborn on February 25, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I mean Keynesian!

ncborn on February 25, 2011 at 8:50 PM

A new study suggests that if the outer continental shelf of Alaska were to be opened up for oil and gas drilling, the state of Alaska would become the eighth largest producer of oil, exceeding Nigeria, Libya, Russia, and Norway.

Seven Percent Solution on February 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Øbama is a pox on all our houses, for many reasons but especially for his anti-energy policies.

I love ole Hitch, though we disagree on almost everything, because he’s an intellectually honest man. Before Reagan, I was a lib, so I have some small remaining empathy for the decent ones.

petefrt on February 25, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Or Kenyan, maybe? Boohoohahahahaha!

ncborn on February 25, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Is our president Swiss?

He is full of holes.

Kini on February 25, 2011 at 8:51 PM

The Obama administration also behaves as if the weight of the United States in world affairs is approximately the same as that of Switzerland
===============================

OUCH!

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 8:51 PM

There are no aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean so we would have to fly from Italian air bases.

And yeah it pretty much is too late.

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Cruise Missiles (Trident/Tomahawk)
UAVs
Helos (which being MARINE assets don’t necessary need a carrier)

SgtSVJones on February 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Is our president Swiss?
————
He is full of holes.

Kini on February 25, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Kini:Good point,he does have a big ‘O’!

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Am I the only one slightly surprised Hitchens is still, you know, with us?

amerpundit on February 25, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Does he have the same doctor that diagnosed that Libyan terrorist?

Kini on February 25, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Obama being a crappy leader, and America not needing to lift a finger over this Libya mess, are independent of each other.

Obama could be a great leader, and America would still not need to lift a finger over Libya.

The two simply aren’t related.

Short of sending in special forces to drag Qaddafi out, and doing an Inigo-Montoya thing with him (“What do we want? We want our Syracue students back, you son of a bitch”), anything the American president chooses to do or say is pointless and can only come across as weak.

Since next best thing – air-dropping a couple of million AK-47′s, letting them all fight to the death, and asking the last survivor to put a bullet in his own head – isn’t going to happen, that leaves on rational thing for the president to do: Nothing.

greggriffith on February 25, 2011 at 8:54 PM

I can only shake my head in disbelief. Obama is now getting hit hard in the center-left press. This is a good thing. But how – please, tell me how, because I cannot even come close to understanding – could any sane person not see perfectly well ahead of time that this was the kind of sack of trash that we were placing in our highest office?

God help us, we may be totally lost.

paul1149 on February 25, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Cruise Missiles (Trident/Tomahawk)
UAVs
Helos (which being MARINE assets don’t necessary need a carrier)

SgtSVJones on February 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Enforcing a no fly zone is hard to do without aircraft. You can carry strikes with cruise missiles but that isn’t what was being proposed.

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:55 PM

It is the deontic locution familiar from the editorial pages of newspapers, where people who have no power to change the course of events demand that events change their course.

THIS.

ProudPalinFan on February 25, 2011 at 8:55 PM

SgtSVJones on February 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Wait, if Obama did that, the people of Berkley and Vermont might put out a warrant for Obama’s arrest.

Kini on February 25, 2011 at 8:57 PM

There are no aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean so we would have to fly from Italian air bases.

And yeah it pretty much is too late.

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM

sharrukin:Should of been sent at the Egyptian unrest,as a
insurance policy!:)

U.S. aircraft carrier crossed Suez Canal on its way to Bahrain
***********

U.S. Navy announced yesterday evening, Wednesday, that the U.S. aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE crossed on, Tuesday, the Suez Canal, currently sailing in the Red Sea toward the Gulf.

Israeli media Was quoted by the Radio “Sawa” the commander of the U.S. aircraft carrier, Admiral, Terry Kraft, saying that “after the carrier has passed unimpeded channel show that the region on this important waterway is still stable.”

The newspaper Yediot Ahronot, said that the aircraft carrier accompanied by PitcherPitcher-missile cruiser LIGHT GOLF ARCETIC and supply ship, entered the region of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, based in the year in Manama, Bahrain.

the U.S. Navy explained in a statement that the carrier “Enterprise” will conduct maritime security operations and will provide support to the processes of Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For its part, the firm Stratfor specialized in intelligence and presence confirmed that two U.S. aircraft carriers with two other “Carl Vinson” and “Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln,” have entered the region during the past few days, and each carrier can be transferred 80 aircraft and a helicopter
———-

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8219390-us-aircraft-carrier-crossed-suez-canal-on-its-way-to-bahrain

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Good point,he does have a big ‘O’!

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

I’d say Limburger, but that would attract flies…. wait.

Kini on February 25, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Obama doesn’t care about any of this, he’s tooooooo busy throwing concerts and being entertained like he’s a king or something. Mo-town last night and Gladys Knight this weekend. It’s party time, then speech time, then vacation time, and there’s golf time… Nothing else matters to this man as his agenda was completed during his first 18 months.

Keemo on February 25, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Great post, AP.

Thanks for the FP link, too.

Saltysam on February 25, 2011 at 9:02 PM

the U.S. Navy explained in a statement that the carrier “Enterprise” will conduct maritime security operations and will provide support to the processes of Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq.

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Well one carrier can do that as proven by the fact that it was doing it. The events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya are somewhat important so a carrier should have been in the area.

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Yeah ya gotta wonder about that. I mean we have unrest in Tunisia, there is already a carrier in the Arabian Sea, and we all know he isn’t going to strike Iran so what the heck was the point?

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Libya is small potatoes compared to Iran. Once the Libyan opposition opens a bank account for the oil companies to start depositing checks into, they will be armed to the teeth and can finish off QDaffy’s minions.

If the uprising spreads to Iran, it becomes a lot more complicated and it makes sense to have very strong presence. If Saudi Arabia goes into play, the stakes are even higher.

pedestrian on February 25, 2011 at 9:07 PM

So when do we get a Presenditial speech on Charlie Sheen?

Caststeel on February 25, 2011 at 9:10 PM

If the uprising spreads to Iran, it becomes a lot more complicated and it makes sense to have very strong presence. If Saudi Arabia goes into play, the stakes are even higher.

pedestrian on February 25, 2011 at 9:07 PM

And you actually believe Obama would order action against Iran?

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 9:11 PM

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM
=================================
Cruise Missiles (Trident/Tomahawk)
UAVs
Helos (which being MARINE assets don’t necessary need a carrier)

SgtSVJones on February 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

SgtSVJones:

I’m not sure if the program is operational,where converted
ICMB’s and SLBM’s wraheads are switched to conventional,so
that the enemy,can be hit within a half hour!!
===============================================
Pentagon’s Mach 20 Glider Disappears, Whacking ‘Global Strike’ Plans
April 27 2011
****************

But it’s bad news for the Pentagon “prompt global strike” program — a burgeoning and hotly-debated effort to almost-instantly attack targets thousands of miles away. The Defense Department is pursuing three different families of technologies to accomplish the task. One is to re-arm nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles with conventional warheads. But that runs the risk of accidentally triggering a response from another atomic power, who might mistake it for a nuke. A second effort is to build shorter-range cruise missiles than can fly at five or six times the speed of sound; that effort hit some recent turbulence when flight tests for the X-51 Waverider, scheduled for December 2009, were pushed until May 2010. Something like an armed version of the HTV-2 is the third choice.

“There’s always a concern that a conventional warhead on an ICBM might be confused with a nuclear device – what can you do to prove otherwise?” Dr. Mark Lewis, the former chief scientist of the Air Force, tells Danger Room. ”With a high lift vehicle, your trajectory would be so different that no one would likely confuse it with something more sinister.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/04/pentagons-mach-20-glider-disappears-whacking-global-strike-plans/

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 9:12 PM

For the first time in 30 years. President Present sent our Mediterranean carrier through the Suez canal, this past week. Just as the turmoil in Libya was getting started.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Remember this: as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya went down, a CVN group was taken out of the Med.

This is not voting ‘Present’, it is voting: Run Away.

And the House of Saud made their bed over a century ago… now they are seeing just what it looks like and getting a queasy feeling.

ajacksonian on February 25, 2011 at 9:14 PM

And you actually believe Obama would order action against Iran?

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 9:11 PM

His motivation is that if AdinnerJacket went down on his watch, the comparisons to to Carter would finally stop.

pedestrian on February 25, 2011 at 9:15 PM

My condolences. – amerpundit on February 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Mr Father was a Radiologist. He took his own X-ray and came home, knowing he had cancer of the esophagus. He knew his fate. He was the greatest person that I have ever known.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 9:16 PM

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM
============
I’d say Limburger, but that would attract flies…. wait.

Kini on February 25, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Kini:That might explain why the White House has an
infestation of flies…haha!!:)

canopfor on February 25, 2011 at 9:18 PM

His motivation is that if AdinnerJacket went down on his watch, the comparisons to to Carter would finally stop.

pedestrian on February 25, 2011 at 9:15 PM

That would be asuming that the Stool on Chief had the stones to do anything.

darwin-t on February 25, 2011 at 9:18 PM

The big question is: what would Soros want? Beyond that, Obama is clueless.

If folk want Obama to act against Muammar, someone should send a bust of Churchill to the WH, with a note signed, ‘from your BBF, Muammar’

Too bad about Tunisia. Once Egypt took the stage Obama was ready. He had done a speech in Cairo where he said ‘Mr President, tear down that wall’.

Now Obama is clean out of Egypt speeches too. He can’t use drones in Cairo so the best thing is to lay low and have a Motown celebration

Tunisia didn’t have a chance. It was too late to re write the scenario. Obama may not like tuna fish either

I will fault Obama for the cheesy little boat he sent to evacuate Americans from Libya. Deep inside I believe if Michelle FLOTUS was being evacuated they would have used a bigger boat

entagor on February 25, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Hell, I’d even settle for a Hitchens article on Charlie Sheen.

Word: nothing teh Won does matters from here on. Can you spell laaaammme duck?

Caststeel on February 25, 2011 at 9:20 PM

His motivation is that if AdinnerJacket went down on his watch, the comparisons to to Carter would finally stop.

pedestrian on February 25, 2011 at 9:15 PM

And his motivation for his conduct regarding Libya is what? Or his motivation for staying silent when the previous Iranian unrest took place? His motivation for giving deadlines to Pakistan and then having them laugh in his face is what?

There is something very odd about his motivations it seems to me.

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Remember this: as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya went down, a CVN group was taken out of the Med.

This is not voting ‘Present’, it is voting: Run Away.

And the House of Saud made their bed over a century ago… now they are seeing just what it looks like and getting a queasy feeling. – ajacksonian on February 25, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Winston Churchill said that giving the crazy Wahhabi Saudis the holy sites of Islam was a horrible mistake at the end of WWI. Churchill was absolutely correct, again. But God gave the Arabs an excess amount of oil that fuels the world economy…………. go figure.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 9:21 PM

They don’t need a CVN; an amphib (with it’s Harriers and Cobras) would probably be enough, especially if supported by aircraft flying from Italy.

exhelodrvr on February 25, 2011 at 9:22 PM

You bought him, Hitchy buddy, you own him.

Lick, stock, and spittle.

profitsbeard on February 25, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Explain how declaring a ‘no fly’ zone will stop roof top snipers from firing into crowd, or how it will stop troops in the street? Are there any Libyan aircraft in the air now? Since the first reports?

Sending in military air craft to enforce a ‘no fly’ zone is an act of war. Are you actually trying to pressure the president into going to war with Libya?

Y’all keep pressuring the president to ‘do something’ and he will do something, and it will be something stupid. You want that to happen?

Skandia Recluse on February 25, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Sending in military air craft to enforce a ‘no fly’ zone is an act of war. Are you actually trying to pressure the president into going to war with Libya?

Y’all keep pressuring the president to ‘do something’ and he will do something, and it will be something stupid. You want that to happen?

Skandia Recluse on February 25, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Qaddafi is a goner, and we have known that for days. We have no idea who is going to replace him, but someone will and we can get cheap brownie points by taking action that costs us almost nothing and could be a significant benefit.

Why not? No one is suggesting ground troops or an occupation.

sharrukin on February 25, 2011 at 9:31 PM

HEY! What do you people want? Barry has already voted PRESENT! What more could you ask of a “leader”?

Heck, the guy has enough trouble at home, now you want him to make a diplomatic decision? I’m sure Valarie Jarrett will mention that, being ‘the most intelligent man in the world’, Barry is just bored with the whole issue.

GarandFan on February 25, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Are we even trying?

Are you kidding? That’s a joke, right?

AUINSC on February 25, 2011 at 9:39 PM

I’m torn.

Explain how declaring a ‘no fly’ zone will stop roof top snipers from firing into crowd, or how it will stop troops in the street? Are there any Libyan aircraft in the air now? Since the first reports?

Sending in military air craft to enforce a ‘no fly’ zone is an act of war. Are you actually trying to pressure the president into going to war with Libya?

This strikes me as pretty clueless. Qaddafi doesn’t have a prayer of remaining in power. I can’t see a downside to easing the transition.

Y’all keep pressuring the president to ‘do something’ and he will do something, and it will be something stupid. You want that to happen?

Skandia Recluse on February 25, 2011 at 9:27 PM

But then you say this, and I can’t help thinking you’re onto something.

ElectricPhase on February 25, 2011 at 9:41 PM

American impotence. Except that, whereas at least the Swiss have the excuse of cynicism, American policy manages to be both cynical and naive…

“Naive” for Hitchens is a mild term. How about dumb? They don’t have a policy. They also don’t believe in freedom and democracy. They stand for nothing, except Utopian kumbaya.

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2011 at 10:09 PM

He does not want to be Bush. They want him to be Obama; or what Obama was supposed to be.

The latter was always an illusion, the fabrication of charlatans, him the biggest of them all.

An entire world fell for this Eunuch named Zero.

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Tell the muslum bums to enforce their own no-fly zone.

Lazy sacks-0-sheet the leaders of the muslum world are

All we need to do is protect the canal

Sonosam on February 25, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Obama has been nurtured in the womb of academic nuance so long that it is the only thing he knows. It is a world of passive-aggressive behavior, of snark, of saying two things — two opposite things — at once, of thinking words are more important than deeds. It is an insular world of cyclical logic which always — always — points to a conclusion that is at once both clear and unclear. And always one that points to its user as brilliant.

Obama is not brilliant and those in the academic realm are not either. I am one of them, I know them well. They mistake ways of saying things for intelligence. They misread bluster — their own — in the faculty lounge as courage. They are people who cover their great and many insecurities with arcane language and murky thoughts.

As such, what more can we expect from this man, this “president”? Jimmy Carter at least waited until they took our people hostage before he revealed his true character of cowardice.

MaxMBJ on February 25, 2011 at 10:31 PM

All we need to send into Libya is a couple Military Snipers. Rememeber how good those snipers were on those pirates. Three for three.

Our Milquetoast (spineless) president is hiding under his desk so don’t expect anything good coming from him. I sure hope people are smarter in 2012 and get rid of this guy.

KCinLV on February 25, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Lets try the Chicago way. Zero’s admin should be negotiating with the opposition in Labia for a share of the oil in return for guaranteeing that Moremad is gone, and for another share to protect the fields from the competing tribes. I would be surprised if we weren’t doing this in private.

AZCON on February 25, 2011 at 11:04 PM

Since next best thing – air-dropping a couple of million AK-47′s, letting them all fight to the death, and asking the last survivor to put a bullet in his own head – isn’t going to happen, that leaves on rational thing for the president to do: Nothing.

greggriffith on February 25, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Allah Be Praised!!!

Heckle on February 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM

Obama is dangerous for one reason.

All that Evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing.

America is the greatest force for good the world has ever known. If we stand by and do nothing then Evil will surely prevail. Having the master appeaser in charge to give evil room to grow is the biggest threat to the world and freedom.

Grunt on February 25, 2011 at 11:16 PM

For the first time in 31 years, there is no U.S. carrier group in the Med.

Dhuka on February 25, 2011 at 11:28 PM

The part about not acting in Libya because the precedent would apply to Saudi Arabia strikes me as weak.

For one, lawyers make careers out of distinguishing cases from each other. I’m pretty sure even the Obama crew can distinguish the Saudis and the Libyans. For another, since when did foreign policy precedents become binding?

Also, Arabs “calling for a no-fly zone.” Psst, hey Arabs! How about put up your own no-fly zone instead of just calling for one.

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 11:32 PM

Maybe Hitchens is about to change his mind about Palin.

Jasper61 on February 25, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Hitchslap!

Good Lt on February 26, 2011 at 12:13 AM

As enjoyably indignant as both pieces are, the quiet X factor here, I think, is Saudi Arabia. Our “friends” in Riyadh may yet square off with the discontented in their midst, and when they do, Obama won’t want to feel bound to intervene militarily if things start to get hairy.

There’s quite a mouthful in this short excerpt. I thought that Hitchens and Wiseltier were masterful! What a joy to hear one’s own thoughts expressed with the clarity and style I can only envy.

Now about the Saudis. Indeed they are vital to us. They have picked up the slack on oil production that has cushioned the loss of Egypt and Libya. There is no backstop for them. However, they have much more income and a much smaller population than Egypt. They have also been much cagier at pacifying their people by “spreading the wealth.” IMHO at the first sign of trouble there the king and the princes will buy out the revolutionaries.

MJBrutus on February 26, 2011 at 6:53 AM

Carter is known as the president who lost Iran. Obama will be known as the president who lost the entire Middle East.

zoyclem on February 26, 2011 at 8:27 AM

Obama is too busy polishing his Nobel Peace Prize.

albill on February 26, 2011 at 8:41 AM

God Almighty…Hitchens is irrelevant.

True_King on February 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM

But he has never been so right about a topic.

mizflame98 on February 26, 2011 at 9:20 AM

I told my husband we have a more orderly evacuation during the fall of Saigon than the evacuation of Libya. This guy is a total embarrassment. It’s hard to make Carter look sympathetic when he sent our military to rescue the hostages in Iran but Barry succeeded in doing just that.

mizflame98 on February 26, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Obama wants a second Nobel Peace Prize.

He got the first one for doing nothing, and thinks if he repeats that formula he’ll get a second.

Wander on February 26, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Hmmmm.

1. You must be kidding me.

2. Somalia, Gulf War I, Gulf War II, Afghanistan and Iraq.

After all that with absolutely no real benefit or even credit from the Arab or muslim world. Why on earth are you folks so eager to send American forces into that meat grinder?

Saddam Hussein spent 30+ years torturing, murdering, raping and God only knows what else in the Hell that was Iraq and the Arab/Muslim world did not a damn thing about it. They were content to let it happen. But as soon as American soldiers entered into Iraq to depose that crazy SOB we get tens of thousands of would be “liberators” traveling to Iraq to kill Americans.

WTF!? And you want American soldiers to be in the middle of that crazy nonsense in Libya? Why?

Arab/Muslims have shown their willingness to fight and die against Americans. Now it’s time they show that same willingness to fight and die for freedom, liberty and democracy. And if they’re unwilling to suffer the casualties, then that’s their problem.

No American troops in Libya!
No American troops in Egypt!
No American troops liberating anybody anywhere at any time and for any reason!

We did our part and got excoriated, attacked and bled for it. Now it’s time for the rest of the planet to get off their keisters and get involved. And if the Madman of Tripoli starts using WMDs on his own people, then that is exactly and precisely what they deserve for not having risen up before this and deposed him themselves.

memomachine on February 26, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Lord, I love me some MR !
http://www.investors.com/EditorialCartoons/Cartoon.aspx?id=564356

pambi on February 26, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Thank you, Mr. Hitchens. In one short week our president has been called wimpy, impotent, weak, and indecisive…but your comparison of his “futile squawkings” to those of a cuckoo clock is just priceless. Today he’s meeting with Gladys Knight…I guess that makes him about as relevant as a pip.

scalleywag on February 26, 2011 at 10:43 AM

pambi on February 26, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Yep, camel-mounted teleprompters.

slickwillie2001 on February 26, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Hey, Allah, you forgot your usual exit question
“What would President Palin do?”

callingallcomets on February 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Deontic? Ok, now he’s just making words up.

;)

Kevin M on February 26, 2011 at 12:02 PM

There are no aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean so we would have to fly from Italian air bases.

…and you think that Italy, a long time Gaddafi – how does he spell his name when he’s at home -ally and investment partner is going to allow that?

Quick history lesson on our erstwhile “allies” in Europe…they’re not.

During the 1973 “Yom Kippur” war except for a reluctant Portugal, none of our “allies” in Europe would permit over flight rights. The only air bridge that we could form was based completely on Lajes Field in the Azores (you never want to land there in a fog!!!!)

The same European “cooperation” happen again in 1986 when our 111s from England had to fly around and through the Straits of Gibraltar in order to avoid the no “overfly” bans of our “allies” France, Spain and (oops) Italy.

We lost a 111 on that raid and fatigue from a multi-hours flight was one of the reason debated.

Our allies in Europe are craven cowards, bowing before any dictator on the Africa continent and will never take any “bold” positions, regardless of the cause.

THAT’S why we need carriers and will probably need more in the future. We can pay for them by pulling our politically paralyzed troops out of Europe and stop feed their economies on U.S. dollars.

E9RET on February 26, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Someday Liberals might stop being surprised at the inept novice they elected in Obama.

In the mean time…

scotash on February 26, 2011 at 2:34 PM

His motivation is that if AdinnerJacket went down on his watch, the comparisons to to Carter would finally stop.

pedestrian on February 25, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Are you certain he doesn’t take the comparisons as a compliment? I’m not.

runawayyyy on February 27, 2011 at 2:13 PM