Former nat’l security adviser: Of course regime change is the mission

posted at 5:30 pm on April 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

If you’re unsure about whether our involvement in Libya was a smart idea, former national security adviser Gen. James Jones isn’t going to make you feel much better. CNN’s Candy Crowley asks, “Who are we kidding here” with the notion that we’re not pursuing regime change through military means, which Barack Obama has repeatedly asserted since the start of the war — and Jones agrees. The coalition, including the US, can’t leave Libya while Moammar Gaddafi remains in power, which makes the timing of our sudden departure from leadership look rather curious, as Crowley points out:

CROWLEY: But who are we kidding here, because I get that the mission is a humanitarian one and to stop him from killing his own people, but that is not going to happen until he’s gone. So in the end, this mission really is about getting rid of Gadhafi.

I realize that there is the military mission and then there’s what we want. And I realize that the military mission isn’t to go bomb his headquarters, wherever he is. But we can’t leave there, the coalition can’t leave there, until Gadhafi is gone, correct?

JONES: That’s correct. I mean, there is a certain sense — there’s a linkage here between the fact that NATO is now involved and we know that the ultimate — the end state is to have regime change in Libya. And how you get there from where we are now, which started out as a humanitarian mission to protect the people, without the partitioning of Libya, without Gadhafi staying in power, for a long period of time, that is the problem. But unfortunately, most people want perfect clarity in a situation where clarity doesn’t really exist yet.

CROWLEY: Well, let me ask you what you thought — we did in the open, sort of a setup. And we had Monday, and the president is saying things going really well. And we stopped him. The next thing we know, Tuesday and Wednesday, Gadhafi is back in full force. And yet by the end of the week, we’re going OK, no more strike missions for the U.S., no more Tomahawk missiles from the ships.

And Congress said wait a minute, this timing seems terrible, because right when he’s back and moving — I mean, was that a mistake? I mean, we understand the politics of U.S. not wanting to be in the lead. But the question is whether the timing was right to say OK now we’re kind of backing off and letting others take the front seat.

JONES: Well, I would just say that what we’re doing here is making sure that our allies also take on their share of responsibilities, which they are. We have destroyed about a third of the tanks in Libya as I understand it. We do have a — an adequate set of rules of engagement to go after these — these heavy weapons that would inflict harm on civilians. We have some 40 ships, allied ships, of which about ten are U.S. The command and control system that NATO has is operating…

CROWLEY: But it didn’t seem weird to you Gadhafi on the move and then us saying, OK, well we’re done with the front seat stuff?

JONES: Well — I mean, air power, we have a big alliance. I mean, air power — the strike missions can be done by a lot of people. The U.S. is still flying as I understand it, about 50 percent of the missions, but they are mostly search and rescue, refueling, reconnaissance.

CROWLEY: The back up sort of stuff.

JONES: The supporting part.

Of course NATO and the West are stuck now in Libya. Don’t expect any political cover from the Arab League or any organization of African states, either. If Gaddafi survives, the West will suffer a huge blow to its prestige, while Gaddafi will be weakened and extremists emboldened. That serves the purposes of the Arab League, especially in regard to Israel and increasing pressure on Egypt to bend towards the will of the Islamists.

Jones has more clarity on the idea of arming the rebels than others still in the administration, but not by much:

CROWLEY: Let me ask you first about arming — the U.S. helping in arming or training — do you think that’s a good idea or bad idea?

JONES: Depends on who we are arming and training.

CROWLEY: So that mission depends on what we find out in the current mission?

JONES: Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

That’s certainly how it will play out, but that’s not how it should have happened. The US had plenty of opportunity to scope out the nature of the rebellion during the weeks before our military intervention; in fact, that process should have begun when rebellions broke out in Libya’s neighbors, Tunisia and Egypt. If we’re conducting a war for regime change without knowing what the actual alternatives will be, it’s entirely possible that we will have made the situation exponentially worse by handing oil fields to our global enemy, an outcome that seems at least reasonably likely now. Sometimes, it seems, you have to intervene in a rebellion to find out what’s in it.


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CROWLEY: But who are we kidding here

The media for one. They always seem to buy Obama’s lies without question.

forest on April 3, 2011 at 5:33 PM

The coalition, including the US, can’t leave Libya while Moammar Gaddafi remains in power

Says who? Smart Power changed all your old assumptions, buddy.

Aquateen Hungerforce on April 3, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Sometimes, it seems, you have to intervene in a rebellion to find out what’s in it.

Nice turn of phrase, Ed.

ted c on April 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Isn’t this what the Left opposed us doing in Iraq?

Del Dolemonte on April 3, 2011 at 5:43 PM

The media for one. They always seem to buy Obama’s lies without question.

forest on April 3, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Well, to be fair, it IS their job.

Tim Zank on April 3, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Isn’t this what the Left opposed us doing in Iraq?

Del Dolemonte on April 3, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Silly Rabbit, don’t you know that Iraq Libya aren’t the same thing? obaka said so.

ladyingray on April 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM

to stop him from killing his own people

Whose people is Nato killing over there?

Buddahpundit on April 3, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Isn’t this what the Left opposed us doing in Iraq?

Del Dolemonte on April 3, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Silly Rabbit, don’t you know that Iraq Libya aren’t the same thing? obaka said so.

ladyingray on April 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM

“Why would the Left be outraged by this? It’s the complete opposite of the kind of military action we opposed in Iraq. Here there’s an imminent threat to both the stability of the region and the citizens of the Libyan nation, and we have broad international support.”

crr6 on March 19, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 3, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 3, 2011 at 5:56 PM

I love it when you do that. LOL!!!

ladyingray on April 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Of course, but if he stays, then that would be what they wanted all along, just keep changing the goal posts.

WoosterOh on April 3, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Heck yeah it’s time for regime change: Øbama is dangerously incompetent and should resign immediately. He is a threat to world stability and our national security.

FloatingRock on April 3, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Former national security adviser Gen. James Jones sure made the rounds today.

Of course, this leaves me wondering why has the actual White House ABANDONED the support of the mission in Libya? Are they off thinking that if they click their heels together three times it will all go away as a bad dream?

Is this EXACTLY as Obama has planned? We now have US troops involved and if any of them are killed, Obama simply blame NATO and not take ANY responsibility. Which is why no one with a brain would trust ANY commander of US troops besides the President of the USA!

Freddy on April 3, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Who are we kidding, Crowley? The willfully ignorant, like the 88% of black voters who still support Barry Soetoro.

SouthernGent on April 3, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Don’t forget that this isn’t just Øbama’s war, it’s McCain’s too, in a manner of speaking. They both proved themselves to be fools.

FloatingRock on April 3, 2011 at 6:16 PM

CROWLEY: And I realize that the military mission isn’t to go bomb his headquarters, wherever he is.

If bombing him is off the table, how about deploying our secret weapon: Air Force One could parachute Michelle-O into his compound and charge Daffy a few oil wells for his rescue and deliverance to a foreign asylum.

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Would that be a MOAD(rop)?

OldEnglish on April 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

OldEnglish on April 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Michelle Obama coming down on you from the sky? Can you imagine?

Shock and awe!

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Michelle Obama coming down on you from the sky? Can you imagine?

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

I think I’d rather have the H-bomb.

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Complete frackin’ mess.

southsideironworks on April 3, 2011 at 6:54 PM

This mess was entirely predictable, seeing that the Children of the Unicorn are in charge.

No worries for Barry, he’s already left. Got a campaign of his own to run.

Community Organizing in action.

Another example of liberals wanting to suck up to the Europeans, seeing as they are so sophisticated and intellectual. At least smart enough to get us to do most of their heavy lifting. I’m sure the French and English will be happy to share their Libyan oil with us. Right?

GarandFan on April 3, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Michelle Obama coming down on you from the sky? Can you imagine?

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Just before she landed, MSM would be gushing about her arms and how fashionably they both were dressed.

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:55 PM

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Crushing!

OldEnglish on April 3, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Michelle Obama coming down on you from the sky? Can you imagine?

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Just before she landed, Japan would be bracing for another Magnitude 8.9 earthquake.

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 6:58 PM

So when the ‘coalition came together so quickly’ was that an indication that most of the members also side stepped their normal procedures? We know Barry avoided the constitutional path in favor of the ‘Zero the Hero’ path…
-
Are we seeing the implementation of the New World Order? One that side steps individual countries’ governing laws concerning the use of force… and instead defaults to a shadow ring of thieves… Which Barry is gaining personal membership to by stealing our armed forces and having them do the NWO’s bidding?
-

RalphyBoy on April 3, 2011 at 7:01 PM

OldEnglish on April 3, 2011 at 6:57 PM

C’mon, OE ole buddy, let’s light this candle.

If “Just before she landed” is the lead, what would you say happened. :)

(I’m laughing so much I need another drink!)

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 7:12 PM

I find myself caring less and less about Libya each day, and caring more and more about this (wonder if AP will make this QOTD fodder):

GOP 2012 budget to make $4 trillion-plus in cuts

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican plan for the 2012 budget would cut more than $4 trillion over the next decade, more than even the president’s debt commission proposed, with spending caps as well as changes in the Medicare and Medicaid health programs, its principal author said Sunday.

The spending blueprint from Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is to be released Tuesday. It deals with the budget year that begins Oct. 1, not the current one that is the subject of negotiations aimed at preventing a partial government shutdown on Friday.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Ryan said budget writers are working out the 2012 numbers with the Congressional Budget Office, but he said the overall spending reductions would come to “a lot more” than $4 trillion. The debt commission appointed by President Barack Obama recommended a plan that it said would achieve nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 7:16 PM

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Just before she landed, Tunguska would cry “uncle”.

OldEnglish on April 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM

duh.

Tim_CA on April 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM

“Who are we kidding here?”

I disagree with this sentiment, which suggests the President is lying. If Republicans engage in this kind of crazy talk it will ensure Obama is re-elected. Barack Obama would no more lie about something as important as this, than he would lie about where he was born.

Basilsbest on April 3, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Oh, they meant their regime not our regime. Never mind.

viking01 on April 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

OldEnglish on April 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Good one. Would look something like this: http://www.crystalinks.com/tunguska707.jpg

Our Secret Weapon.

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Excellent post!..I hope Allah will include this in QOTD!..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

He just said that the Mid East peace process could damage Iran if successful. So if your have to fight the Israelis to create a land fit for Pali heroes, that would mean success over Iran? Are you ready to step in and give the Palis a state? Samantha will become a Muslim saint and, by association, America might be safer and better loved and approved of. It’s simply a matter of throwing teh Joooos under the bus.

BL@KBIRD on April 3, 2011 at 7:28 PM

A serious question: wasn’t Jones a Obumba guy? Maybe I’m thinking of someone else.

Dingbat63 on April 3, 2011 at 7:35 PM

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 7:16 PM

As someone who agrees with you almost 99.7% of time (a little less than with Rush), is there no space for weekend and late night levity?

Yes, Ryan’s budget proposal will be awesome and it’ll dominate the threads here for months, I’m sure. But it’s not here yet, and it’s silly Sunday night. As they say, “Girls just wanna have fun.” :)

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Sometimes, to get rid of a dictator, you just have to kill everyone around him…

Sometimes, to get to everyone around a dictator, you have to kill the people fighting him…

Sometimes, to get a dictator, you just have to kill everyone in the country. Just to be sure.

Mind you that is ‘smart power’ at work there.

ajacksonian on April 3, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Girls just wanna have fun.” :)

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 7:38 PM

LOL

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 7:54 PM

THis is why Deneral Jones is a FORMER advisor to the Administration… WAY TOO SMART to stick with that bunch… And yes, I am still surprised that SecDef Gates hasn’t resigned yet…

Khun Joe on April 3, 2011 at 7:55 PM

I hope Allah will include this in QOTD!..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

If we can just slash the spending and start drilling here, now, what a glorious new beginning for us!

It must be the weekend — I’m all giddy about it.

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 7:56 PM

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Cyndi Lauper’s tune in its day was refreshing and fun. I love girls who wanna have fun (and responsibility, at least after age 30 years).

Now it’s become parody, a parody of today’s lefty generation, both male and female.

Cyndi Lauper
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Lyrics

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Cyndi Lauper

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 8:29 PM

I always liked her more than Madonna.

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 9:08 PM

John the Libertarian on April 3, 2011 at 9:08 PM

Yep, by a long shot.

petefrt on April 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

The goal of the Libyan project is CYA, any way, any how.

drfredc on April 4, 2011 at 1:39 AM

But why are we in Lybia? We’ve put up with Q’daffy for 4o years, why now?

steveracer on April 4, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Maybe we are trying to confuse the enemy? Or enemies?

PattyJ on April 4, 2011 at 11:22 AM

When the fog of war is on the battlefield, you know you are at war. But when the fog is in your head, you have no business going to war. And so it is with the current Administration.

njcommuter on April 4, 2011 at 11:39 AM