Rubio to State Dep’t spokesman: Why did we wait for the UN to act against Qaddafi? Update: Congress briefed on war plans

posted at 8:54 pm on March 17, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via the Right Scoop, I’d be miiiighty curious to see some new polling on what tea partiers think of his defense of unilateral interventionism for chiefly humanitarian reasons. Not all TPers are Paulian isolationists, and I’ll bet most fully support unilateral action when it’s in America’s interests, but a movement devoted to cutting spending can’t be uniformly thrilled with another “world policeman” excursion. And yet here’s one of the base’s two or three most favorite senators passionately making the case in favor. I guess Politico was right that neoconservatism is still on top.

“The United States, quite frankly, looks weak in this endeavor,” said Rubio. “It looks unwilling, and maybe even unable, to act in this capacity….What are we going to do if there’s a bloodbath after this? The president of the United States has specifically said Qaddafi must go, but has done nothing since saying that, except have internal debates about it for a week-and-a half or two.”…

“So our message to the dissidents,” Rubio said, “the people with the bravery to stand up to Muammar Qaddafi, and then the people maybe thinking to stand up to the Iranian regime, and in other places, our message is: ‘You guys go ahead and do this stuff, and if we can ever get the Russians or the Chinese to ever come around, we may or may not join you’?

“Russia and China don’t care about this stuff,” Rubio continued. “They don’t care that Muammar Qaddafi is going to massacre people. So if Russia doesn’t care, and China doesn’t care, and we care but won’t do anything about it, who is it up to – the French?”

I can’t tell if he’s arguing that NATO should act on this and not bother with the Security Council or if he thinks we should act alone, even without help from NATO or a “coalition of the willing.” Presumably it’s the latter, per his crack about the French, which makes this an ultra-unilateralist argument. Is that what the public wants? Here’s some new polling just across from Fox News — and it even has tea party numbers:

The question’s imprecise. The public is surely more likely to back an air campaign than a “military” campaign, which implies all sorts of assets, including ground troops. But the result’s still interesting: The tea party is the single most supportive demographic of “military” action, yet even they’re at net -15. Can’t wait to see how this issue ends up playing in the primaries, especially if the war in Libya drags on and/or the new rebel government lurches towards ye olde reliable anti-American demagoguery.

Exit question: Is Obama planning to ask Congress for an Authorization to Use Military Force? If not, why not? There’ll be plenty of votes available from Republican hawks, and Democrats won’t undermine The One at a critical moment. Besides, they can always repudiate their votes later if things get messy. After all, they’ve had plenty of practice.

Update: I wondered in this afternoon’s post whether Tunisia or Egypt would help police the no-fly zone. Answer: No. But:

Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington’s knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said…

The Egyptian shipments are the strongest indication to date that some Arab countries are heeding Western calls to take a lead in efforts to intervene on behalf of pro-democracy rebels in their fight against Mr. Gadhafi in Libya. Washington and other Western countries have long voiced frustration with Arab states’ unwillingness to help resolve crises in their own region, even as they criticized Western powers for attempting to do so.

Update: Not just a no-fly zone, but a no-drive zone.

Several senators emerged from the briefing convinced that the administration was intent on beginning military action against the forces of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi within the next few days and that such action would include both a no-fly zone as well as a “no-drive zone” to prevent Qaddafi from crushing the rebel forces, especially those now concentrated in Benghazi.

“It looks like we have Arab countries ready to participate in a no-fly and no-drive endeavor,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters after the briefing…

Asked exactly what the first wave of attacks would look like, Graham said, “We ground his aircraft and some tanks start getting blown up that are headed toward the opposition forces.”

Update: Middle East analyst and former Army Ranger Andrew Exum wonders where we go from here:

What happens if Gadhafi pulls back? Do we continue to try and press the advantage of the rebels until his government falls? Do we have the authorization to do that? Do we expect a civil war in Libya to drag out, and if so, how will we take sides? If Gadhafi falls, what comes next? What will the new Libyan government look like? Will they be friendly to U.S. interests? Someone please tell me how this ends.

A lot of the things I have been reading have been along the lines of, “After the dictator falls, everything will be alright,” which sounds awfully familiar to Iraq ’03 veterans. I would hope that this time around, we are planning Phase IV and have a clear vision for how stabilization and reconstruction should go.


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Start by killing Qaddafi PERSONALLY and see where she leads. It would be nice to track down the Pan Am bomber and blow his head off too in the confusion.

echosyst on March 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM

I haven’t read any comments but I personally didn’t want The Won to project to the Libyans that Americans were interested in their freedom and then do nothing. If he didn’t want to get involved than he shouldn’t have thumped his chest and talked about nooses tightening.

Cindy Munford on March 17, 2011 at 11:41 PM

Obama could easily have said something like, “we support the aspirations of all toward peace and freedom” and walked away. Instead, he hemmed-and-hawed, and eventually (like he’d put thought into it) said, “Muammar Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.”

Only two branches lead from there — Khadafi leaves, or he doesn’t — and American prestige can only fall if he doesn’t. It is now a national interest that will consume national treasure and men to maintain that prestige…..and all because Obama flapped his yap.

Do I support military intervention now? You bet your *ss. Will I rally to the President during this action? No f’in’ way. We are fortunate that Present Odumbo’s words commit us only to Khadafi’s expulsion (or extermination) and not more — a lucky strike with a cruise missile can get us over that low bar and let our troops get on with more serious issues. But the issue of empty, boastful words from the White House threatening America’s interests is far from over.

cthulhu on March 17, 2011 at 11:44 PM

State Dep’t spokesman to Rubio: “Because our President was not finished with the back nine”

Rovin on March 17, 2011 at 9:05 PM

deserves repeating!

kscheuller on March 18, 2011 at 1:16 AM

I soooooo wish Rubio were running for president. He’d be running circles around Obama in a debate. Although he’s just a freshman senator, he is far more bold and composed than most of the other 99, Republican or Democrat.

kscheuller on March 18, 2011 at 1:18 AM

Rubio: Why did we wait for the UN to act against Qaddafi?

One man with courage makes a majority.

- Andrew Jackson

OBAMA: Can’t deal with that now. Road Trip!! (hides)

landlines on March 18, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Things aren’t going all that well in Iraq. Things aren’t going well at all in Afghanistan, so let’s try Libya! We will win those Muslim heats and minds yet if it kills us!

Anything for Muslims as they are the most wonderful people ever! We will just borrow more money from the nice Chinese. Rubio is so brilliant. I can’t help but wonder though why he didn’t stand up for Arizonians like he wants to do for Muslims.

Murphy9 on March 18, 2011 at 6:47 AM

What will the new Libyan government look like? Will they be friendly to U.S. interests? Someone please tell me how this ends.

See the Koran.

Murphy9 on March 18, 2011 at 6:49 AM

Drop Guns over Tripoli and the rest of the cities and let them get after it!!!

In fact if it works…….can we call it “THE PAPPY DOCTRINE”?

:-)

PappyD61 on March 17, 2011 at 10:40 PM

A man with common sense.

Murphy9 on March 18, 2011 at 6:59 AM

I can’t tell if he’s arguing that NATO should act on this and not bother with the Security Council or if he thinks we should act alone, even without help from NATO or a “coalition of the willing.”

Good question, that deserves an answer but you probably won’t get one. Among professional politicians; vague is vogue.

Done That on March 18, 2011 at 7:23 AM

My take.

kingsjester on March 18, 2011 at 8:25 AM

kingsjester on March 18, 2011 at 8:25 AM

a good one indeed KJ

cmsinaz on March 18, 2011 at 8:32 AM

cmsinaz on March 18, 2011 at 8:32 AM

Thanks. Spread the word when you get a chance. Maybe, we should send Anthony Weiner over there as an Ambassador. That would not punish Kadhafi enough, but it would get Weiner out of here.

kingsjester on March 18, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Does Libya have any weapons that can reach Europe?
Does Libya have any weapons that can sink a few ships in the Mediterranean Sea and start panic there?

albill on March 18, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Rubio wrong in this instance.

jeanie on March 18, 2011 at 8:43 AM

POLICY MATTERS IN LONG RUN AFFECTS ON AMERICA.

Never start something you can’t or won’t finish.

There is no “feel good” reason to start a WAR, to fight a war. Only to avert, win and END a war.

Update: Middle East analyst and former Army Ranger Andrew Exum wonders where we go from here:

And with Exum’s concerns, two more points requiring resolution prior to action.

1. US must declare war on an enemy before actions in order to achieve any victory, identify the enemy so as to design the plan to take out the enemy. Yet CinC Obama refuses to identify anyone of Muslim heritage an enemy of the US.

2. No one has made public the plans for the possibility that Qadhafi’s forces will respond with fire when fired upon by Western UN, NATO, or US Military forces instituting the “no fly zone”.

There is always the possibility that a military fighter will respond with fire when fired upon. That is their job to do, after all. So all of this “no fly zone” amounts to preparing the place upon which UN, NATO or US Military forces will be “attacked” by Qadhafi forces that are maintaining their own obligations to protect the Libyan sovereign nation, warted monster and all.

Beware what waits to replace Qadhafi. To date, the US has been able to manipulate Qadhafi whenever he misbehaves. But with no new strongman to focus a singular attack to depose, or perhaps much worse, with a new strongman who has an absolute alliance with Sharian Islamist globalist powers, then removing Qadhafi becomes the fool’s errand.

Why would any sane person listen to Hillary Clinton’s reasons to attack anything at all? Does the “vast right wing conspiracy” no longer ring any bells? ATF annihilated the population of men, women and children living outside of Waco at Mt. Carmel, burned alive. Typical of the modern American population, so forgetful and indifferent, jumping from one hot bed to another in order to “prove” otherwise, that we care.

Having Republican neoconservatives egging this absently/present horrible CinC Obama to take on MORE than he “inherited” is worrisome, not to mention irresponsible. It isn’t as if the Joint Chiefs have the best interest of our military personnel at heart, either. More no end in sight?! No.

maverick muse on March 18, 2011 at 8:56 AM

POLICY MATTERS IN LONG RUN AFFECTS ON AMERICA.

Never start something you can’t or won’t finish.

There is no “feel good” reason to start a WAR, to fight a war. Only to avert, win and END a war.

maverick muse on March 18, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Update: Middle East analyst and former Army Ranger Andrew Exum wonders where we go from here:

And with Exum’s concerns, two more points requiring resolution prior to action.

1. US must declare war on an enemy before actions in order to achieve any victory, identify the enemy so as to design the plan to take out the enemy. Yet CinC Obama refuses to identify anyone of Muslim heritage an enemy of the US.

2. No one has made public the plans for the possibility that Qadhafi’s forces will respond with fire when fired upon by Western UN, NATO, or US Military forces instituting the “no fly zone”.

There is always the possibility that a military fighter will respond with fire when fired upon. That is their job to do, after all. So all of this “no fly zone” amounts to preparing the place upon which UN, NATO or US Military forces will be “attacked” by Qadhafi forces that are maintaining their own obligations to protect the Libyan sovereign nation, warted monster and all.

maverick muse on March 18, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Beware what waits to replace Qadhafi. To date, the US has been able to manipulate Qadhafi whenever he misbehaves. But with no new strongman to focus a singular attack to depose, or perhaps much worse, with a new strongman who has an absolute alliance with Sharian Islamist globalist powers, then removing Qadhafi becomes the fool’s errand.

Why would any sane person listen to Hillary Clinton’s reasons to attack anything at all? Does the “vast right wing conspiracy” no longer ring any bells? ATF annihilated the population of men, women and children living outside of Waco at Mt. Carmel, burned alive. Typical of the modern American population, so forgetful and indifferent, jumping from one hot bed to another in order to “prove” otherwise, that we care.

Having Republican neoconservatives egging this absently/present horrible CinC Obama to take on MORE than he “inherited” is worrisome, not to mention irresponsible.

It isn’t as if the Joint Chiefs have the best interest of our military personnel at heart, either. COIN. More no end in sight? No.

maverick muse on March 18, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Why does HotAir refuse to post links from Breitbart’s site?

maverick muse on March 18, 2011 at 9:02 AM

I haven’t read any comments but I personally didn’t want The Won to project to the Libyans that Americans were interested in their freedom and then do nothing. If he didn’t want to get involved than he shouldn’t have thumped his chest and talked about nooses tightening.

Cindy Munford on March 17, 2011 at 11:41 PM

He also said that Daffy must go. It is a rock and a hard place to be in, but that’s what you sign up for to be President of the free world. Making the right call–in this case giving an assist to the Libyan rebel force is the one he should make. This isn’t like Egypt where the worse they had to deal with was getting whipped by camel jockeys. This is the big one. Obama just can’t speak pretty words and retreat behind the curtain to check on his NCAA picks and go pack for his trip to Rio.

I’m 100% with Rubio on this one. He’s got the mojo.

RepubChica on March 18, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Have you noticed that without Rahm there to take advantage of crises our boy president ponders: To tee it up, or not to tee it up?

rgeaste on March 18, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Obama is clueless.

Enjoy South America, Barack.

Sometimes it feels that Obama is merely a voluntary figurehead who just tells his minions to “handle it, handle it”

Carl on March 18, 2011 at 9:25 AM

but a movement devoted to cutting spending can’t be uniformly thrilled with another “world policeman” excursion.

They’re just a bunch of Jews Arabs. Who cares?

davidk on March 18, 2011 at 9:26 AM

KJ

Heh :)

cmsinaz on March 18, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington’s knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said…

Is this really a good thing? Do we want to set a precedent of sanctioning Middle Eastern nations who arm rebels in neighboring countries? When Iran starts shipping weapons into Saudi Arabia, will we still be in favor of this tactic?

hawksruleva on March 18, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Some are so aggressively promoting anything that weakens BO that they’re betraying their values.

It’s insane to borrow more money from our grandchildren in order to pick sides between an Islamic tyrant and militant Islamic socialists and then justify it by of all things: calls from the UN and Arab League. If we lose our minds and credibility like this, we lose our liberty.

elfman on March 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

A good question. It should have been done sooner, but do you think there should be a statute of limitations on murdering Americans?

sharrukin on March 17, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Reagan bombed Qaddafi for murdering Americans almost 30 years ago. Bush made Qaddafi surrender his pathetic nuclear program 8 years ago. Qaddafi is now a joke. Do you think that there should be a statute of limitations for doing what’s in our rational self interests? What replaces Qaddaffi if we destroy his government?

elfman on March 18, 2011 at 10:35 AM

it’s gonna be a cakewalk.

sesquipedalian on March 17, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I’ll remember you said that……

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The president of the United States has specifically said Qaddafi must go, but has done nothing since saying that, except have internal debates about it for a week-and-a half or two.”…

Let me add my voice to those who argue that the real point is not whether we should intercede in Libya, but the need to remain vocally aloof when we have no intention to intercede. Bush made this mistake with the Kurds and they rose up in the expectation that we would back them after having kicked Saddam out of Kuwait. Now, proving that Harvard profs never let their opinions be sullied by the lessons of history, Obama went and did the same damn thing.

Result: if we don’t intercede, we are whiner baby weaklings. If we intercede and fail, we are loser weaklings. If we intercede and have any kind of success, we are dumb-a$$ weaklings who had to be pushed into by FRANCE. (I think this last would be the worst of all possible outcomes.)

Obama shoots his mouth off using a gun loaded with blanks. Problem is, at that range, blanks can kill.

Cricket624 on March 18, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Is this really a good thing? Do we want to set a precedent of sanctioning Middle Eastern nations who arm rebels in neighboring countries? When Iran starts shipping weapons into Saudi Arabia, will we still be in favor of this tactic?

hawksruleva on March 18, 2011 at 10:04 AM

It worked in bringing down the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, inhibiting the Nicaraguan support for Leftists in El Salvador through support for the Contras (and Nicaragua is leftist, but democratic today), brought down several friendly regimes thru Chinese, Soviet Cuban intervention thru arms supply and training to rebels, and almost worked in Colombia, Peru.

If our enemies are going to do that anyway, war by proxy, then why should we eliminate that tool from our arsenal. It is cheaper and better than using US personnel to do any of the fighting.

Just because some of our own weapons eventually get used against us is irrelevant. Because our enemies will get the latest Russian and Chinese, and even Israeli equipment to use against us anyway.

America has never lacked for adversaries with sophisticated weapons. We just have to be smarter about what we give away. Especially since giving the rebels AK-47s is more likely what we would do. We have lots of older Russian stuff, or even new Russian stuff that we simply pay for, and then allow Russians to deliver to the rebels through our allies. That way none of our stuff is deliverately available to use against us. They can get it from the lowest bidder anyway. Why not make friends with our Russian “allies” in exchange for taking the problem off our hands.

Just because Martin Sheen didn’t like the School of the Americas doesn’t mean the training was incorrect or ineffective.

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM

it’s gonna be a cakewalk.

sesquipedalian on March 17, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I’ll remember you said that……

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic.

RINO in Name Only on March 18, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Is this really a good thing? Do we want to set a precedent of sanctioning Middle Eastern nations who arm rebels in neighboring countries?

It’s a fine thing. And we aren’t setting that precedent. We are setting the precedent of sanctioning Middle-eastern countries arming rebels when we support said rebels.

When Iran starts shipping weapons into Saudi Arabia, will we still be in favor of this tactic?

hawksruleva on March 18, 2011 at 10:04 AM

No, but what does that have to do with anything?

I support our soldiers using guns and bombs to kill our enemies. Yet, somehow, I do not support our enemies using guns and bombs to kill our soldiers. I have no difficulty reconciling those two principles, so why should this be any different?

RINO in Name Only on March 18, 2011 at 11:24 AM

“neoconservatism” is a term used by those attempting to strip Conservatism of it’s “strong defense” pillar. Paulhriods are nothing close to being Conservative. Ron Paul and his Paulhriods are closet anarchists.

Bleed_thelizard on March 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM

I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic.

RINO in Name Only on March 18, 2011 at 11:17 AM

That’s not his normal modus operandi when commenting on conservative principles and lauding liberal principles, now is it? Besides what does it matter what he says, when Barack Obambi can say the US military can’t win its wars, but by all means, let the people of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain rise up and slay their oppressors…., and Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Hillary Clinton can say our Generals are liars and our wars are not worth fighting??? It doesn’t say much when that happens. My troops REMEMBER those lines every day of their lives.

When sesqui speaks it usually parrots a liberal line. It wouldn’t know a war or a cakewalk if it sat on one….

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

We are not the world’s police, nor should we be. Foreign affairs are not worth the blood of a single one of our soldiers.

I would be fine with assassinating Qaddafi and his entire family for Lockerbie. In fact I DEMAND revenge!

woodNfish on March 18, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Result: if we don’t intercede, we are whiner baby weaklings. If we intercede and fail, we are loser weaklings. If we intercede and have any kind of success, we are dumb-a$$ weaklings who had to be pushed into by FRANCE. (I think this last would be the worst of all possible outcomes.)

Obama shoots his mouth off using a gun loaded with blanks. Problem is, at that range, blanks can kill.

Cricket624 on March 18, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Sen. Rubio has this exactly right–why did we wait for the UN before intervening?

About 10 days ago, Kadhafi (or however he spells it) was holed up in Tripoli, and the rebels controlled most of the rest of the country, and were demanding a no-fly zone, which would have kept Kadhafi’s forces at bay, giving the rebels the time to consolidate their forward positions, obtain more weaponry (possibly from the Arab League) and mount an assault on Tripoli. This would have also given the West the time to find out WHO the rebels are, what kind of government they would set up if they ousted Kadhafi, and whether we should be supporting them. If they turned out to be Muslim Brotherhood, we could always pull the rug out from them later and let Kadhafi stay in power, as the lesser of two evils.

But by waiting, we have let Kadhafi’s forces overrun all but one major city (Baghazi) in Libya, where the rebels are still holed up awaiting the siege from Kadhafi’s forces, and Kadhafi now controls the oil refineries. Air-power alone (without boots on the ground) can’t TAKE BACK lost cities, and do the rebels have enough guns and boots on the ground? This could be a long war, as the rebels need to resort to urban warfare while NATO tries to keep Kadhafi’s tanks and planes out of cities in central and eastern Libya. Had we acted 10 days ago, it could have been a short war, a battle for one city on the shores of Tripoli.

Steve Z on March 18, 2011 at 3:25 PM

It’s time to let the UN run these crazy, ill-conceived wars and scrounge up the coalitions. We should be providing food aid, medicine and tents when its all over – - to whoever wins and pray that whoever wins doesn’t come after us with suicide bombers at Macy’s

kens on March 21, 2011 at 8:47 AM

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