Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Obama Doctrine of Force or Harm

Obama delivered a speech about his incursion into Libya, about 2 weeks too little too late.   Let me first say that I am not a dove by nature, but have grown more so as a result of our lingering campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.   I do believe in the use of force to protect and secure the vital national interests of the United States.  The operative word is "force".   George H. W. Bush used force to end Hussein's occupation of Kuwait, but this is the last instance of the use of force to accomplish our goals.  Now, Bush was second guessed for having left Hussein in power, but we can now see why the Bush team left him in place.  When force is used, there is decisiveness in the outcome, which is the key to being able to complete missions and keep our men out of harm's way.
Force is decisive.  However, force has been redefined as harmful.  Harmful can be like a treatable cancer or illness.  You have the cure, but choose not use it.  It is like taking just enough antibiotics for you to not die, but never taking enough to be healed.  This has been the existing doctrine of force in the United States ever since the first Gulf War.   Here are a few examples of how the new doctrine of force, or harm, have been applied:

  1. Sanctions.  I don't need to list any specific examples here, but history has shown sanctions have done nothing but harm the regular citizens and have never been effective in bringing about decisive change.
  2. Iraqi No-Fly Zone.  This thing lasted from the end of the first Gulf War until the beginning of the second Gulf War.  It had no effect what so ever.
  3. Somalia Relief.  No relief mission is ever decisive when the fundamentals that caused the disaster are left in place.
  4. Somalia Regime Change. As gallant and awesome as our elite troops are, and as much as leftist Presidents like to use them, you can't have decisive victory alone by sniping at the enemy.  Eventually, numbers matter.
  5. Bosnia No-Fly Zone.  So we saw "genocide" in Bosnia and decided to drops bombs from 15,000 feet.  Air alone cannot cause a decisive change.  It took boots on the ground to bring about the "desired" effect.
  6. Haiti Regime Change.  Remove the president and 18 years later you have the most impoverished nation in the world despite receiving the largest per capita distribution of aide.
  7. Afghanistan and Iraq.  Underestimate the threat and declare victory early.  Then, when the threat is realize, allow your men to die as they are overwhelmed and overstretched.  Throw in rules of engagement that are so limiting, you men's greatest fear is not the enemy, but being brought up on charges.
In Libya, Obama's doctrine is one of Harm.  We hope to harm the enemy, which we don't know who the real enemy is, which is one of the first rules of war.  We hope to harm the enemy so that whomever that may be will comply with whatever our actual goal is.  The group we have chosen to support, oddly enough, is the same ideological group that we have been fighting against in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has ties to the group that killed 2900 US civilians on 9/11.  Additionally, we have chosen to give up our leadership role over to NATO.  This is supposed to minimize our role in the conflict.  The only thing it does is put our forces under international control.  We aren't going to stop flying missions as you are supposed to believe.  We will continue to spend our resources and our money, just under international direction.  Isn't that what this is all about.  As I stated in a previous post, when you look at Obama's decisions through the point of view that everything he does is to diminish our sovereign power and increase our allegiance internationally, his position in Libya continues to make more and more sense.
As a final thought, I would like to add that Obama has done more for the oil business of foreign countries, through drilling, exploration, and now military intervention, than any other President has done for our own oil interests in the last half century.

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