I'm no fan of military intervention as you know, unless someone attacks us, and then it has to be deliberated intelligently. There are legitimate concerns surfacing from the left about this new action in Libya.
James Fallows asks the important question: 'What Happens Then?' Indeed.
Here's part of Obama's remarks on Libya during his Chile presser:
"Our military actions are in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Qadhafi on his people," he says. (2:46 p.m.)
Obama then says that the U.S. policy is that "Qadhafi needs to go." He says, "We've got a wide range of tools in addition to our military efforts to support that policy." He then says the United States was "very rapid" in acting. "When it comes to military action, we are doing so in support of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973," he says, "and we are going to make sure that we stick to that mandate." (2:47 p.m.)
Stressing that other countries are involved in the attack on Libya, Obama says "there's going to be a transition taking pace," in which European countries and Arab League members will establish a no-fly zone. "We are one of the partners, among many, who are going to ensure that a no-fly zone is enforced," he says.
Obama then takes on the second part of the question -- about being abroad while starting the attack. "Keep in mind that we are working on very short time frames," he says. "We had done all the work. And it was just a matter of seeing how Qadhafi would respond to the warning on Friday." "It was a matter of me directing Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen that the plan that had been developed in great detail prior to my departure was put in place," he says. (2:50 p.m.)
Answering the last part of the Libya question, President Obama says the Arab League's involvement in the no-fly zone in Libya is "absolutely" part of the mission. "There are different phases to that campaign," he says. "Keep in mind, we’ve only been in this process for two days now. ... We are continuing to ... evaluate the situation on the ground."
Obama repeats that Muammar Qadhafi "has lost his legitimacy."
President Obama is calling it a humanitarian effort. New polling is coming out, and surprisingly 70% of Americans support the "no-fly" zone, but there are other mixed signals being sent as well.
There are several different questions in the poll. For instance, when CNN asked people about the establishment of a “no-fly zone”, and provided a fairly lengthy description of it, support registered 70 percent, up significantly from last week. But support dropped to 54 percent when CNN asked a more targeted question about about airborne attacks on Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces. And there was strong opposition to any use of ground troops, which president Obama has pledged not to employ.
My only hope is that there is a fairly quick resolution to the Libyan struggle. Do I realistically see that happening? No. Do I want to protect other people from genocide like Bosnia and Rwanda? Yes, I do, but we have to weigh events very carefully. On a political front, the president also needs a quick resolution because although there is support at this point; America likes winners. They've seen way too much incompetence and malfeasance in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by the Bush administration to be sympathetic for very long.
Update: Howie writes a post in praise of Bernie Sanders latest efforts and also about the San Onofre nuclear plant and the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant which I live close by.
Digby caught Rep. Markey discussing the ludicrous idea of adding more nuclear plants in America built on fault lines just ripe for earthquakes and how this plays into the "no-fly' action taken against Libya:
Representative Markey was on Andrea Mitchell talking about the absurdity of building nuclear power plants on earthquake faults and says that we need to shutter the ones we have and not build any new ones. (Apparently one of the newer designs is said be likely to "shatter like a glass house" if it comes under stress!)
At the end of the conversation, she asked him if he had any reservations about Libya:
We're in Libya because of oil. And I think both Japan and nuclear technology and Libya and this dependence that we have upon imported oil have once again highlighted the need for the United States to have a renewable energy agenda going forward...
It is limited ... I think it is consistent with siding with the aspirations of young and educated people who are seeking a new direction for Libya in the 21st century, but it all goes back to the 5 million barrels that we import from OPEC on a daily basis.
And the Republicans in congress, and I'm just going to finish on this note, last week in the House of Representative in the energy and commerce committee stripped the environmental protection Agency of their ability to increase the fuel economy standards of the cars and tucks and planes and trains that we put the oil into and by the way on a bill that passed three weeks ago, zeroed out all of the loan guarantee money for wind and solar while leaving in the money for nuclear power.
So this is the time for a great debate. Japan and Libya. Oil and nuclear. What is our future? And if we are going to have one, shouldn't it be one where we tap into our own technologies, our own ability to provide the electricity we need with the indigenous natural resources that we have in our own country rather than dangerously playing games with OPEC countries or with nuclear technology which is inherently unsafe.
Then he said most people agreed that Libya was a good decision as long as no bloodshed was attributed to our troops. But his greater point is where the real debate should be --- but won't be.