After the involvement of US forces in the coalition attack on Libyan military targets, starting the enforcement of the No-Fly zone in Libya, I had a number of people point me to various opinion articles.  One of the most interesting is this one on the American Thinker web site: Obama Attacks Libya, and Where’s Congress?

As I read the article, what I noticed was a pattern that people have seemed to develop lately: let’s compare Barack Obama to his predecessor, George W. Bush.  Whereas Obama ordered the military participation without consulting Congress, George W. Bush consulted Congress about invading Iraq.  And the comparisions go on and on…

But, let’s be fair: compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.  The Iraq invasion came after a history with Saddam Hussein, starting back in 1979 when he seized power and was exacerbated by the Kuwait invasion.  That in turn started a coalition military operation to enforce a nearly 10-year long no fly-zone enforcement over the Iraqi land mass. There was time to work with Congress and get all to agree on the invasion: a military operation on a far greater scale than what is now happening in Libya.  It was a strategic problem.

But the situation in Libya is different.  It is a tactical problem.  Muammar Gaddafi reacted very violently to a popular uprising, using his military to put down the rebel forces gathering strength.  He also publicly promised (not threatened) to murder those who oppose his regime.  He is following a pattern of behavior he has had since he took power in Libya.  Unlike popular risings in neighboring countries, he has made no offer to hold talks with the opposition.  He has a history of barbarism, both in his own country and overseas.

And unlike Iraq, Libya is a fast moving situation where anything which needs to be done as far as intervention is fighting extreme time pressure.  The opposition forces can only hold out so long, before the powerful military machine of Gaddafi would brutally wipe them out.  Iraq and Libya is an apples to oranges comparison.

So let’s make a fair comparision to Libya: Grenada.  In November, 1983, President Ronald Reagan ordered US Troops to this Carribean island after its leader Maurice Bishop was overthrown in a military coup, and arrested. Bishop later escaped, but was recaptured and murdered.  The situation in Grenada was volatile, and any number of forces (including Cuba) were trying to manipulate the situation. While Cuba was denying any attempt to manipulate the politics, their military strength of presence and fierce opposition to US forces on the ground says otherwise.

While Reagan kept Congress notified once the invasion began, he did not consult with them on the invasion itself.  There were also a number of Congressman and Senators who publicly complained of being “out of the loop”.  In fact, one of them drew up a declaration for impeaching Reagan.  Sound similar to talk-show fodder you are hearing lately about Obama (yes, it’s Dennis Kucinich this time)?

This action in Grenada had broad support in the US.  Of course, as a result of the US action, a UN vote was taken on the matter which resulted in a vote of 108-09 to confirm a resolution condemning the action against a sovereign state.  And what was Reagan’s reaction to this: very simple.  “So?”  One thing that Reagan and his advisors were very good at, was ignoring what the world thought and doing the right thing.  This is part of his legacy as President.  It’s leadership. It’s ultimately what makes the United States give hope to the world: the defender of democracy–like it or not.

So Barack Obama exceeded his Presidential powers and ought to be impeached?  Think again.  He’s taking a stand that is right.  There is a strong US interest in blocking a known sponsor of terrorism from crushing a rebellion of the people he claims support him.  After all, the State of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi planned and executed the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.. killing innocent civilians.  We understand EXACTLY what his own people involved in the uprising are up against.

One ironic point of the new no-fly zone: Russia condemned the coalition’s military action against Libya, and the official Russian reaction to the military intervention has been “regret”.  It’s worth pointing out that Libya along with other countries in the region use a lot of Russian-built and Soviet-built military equipment and material in their armies.  So anytime the United States launches (or even just participates in) an attack on the countries the Russians sold military equipment to, and wipes out most of it on the first pass, that can not be good for pending sales.

So “regret” may not imply what it first looks like.