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Understanding politics – if you follow the words – is pretty straightforward.
Right now, we’re bombing Qaddafi’s army which is pretty clearly a war but President Obama’s press spokesman says it’s not – he says it’s something called a “time-limited, scope-limited military action.” (Last week he called it an even blander ‘kinetic military action.’)
Why the deception? Why not just call shooting down Qaddafi’s’s air force and blowing up his tanks a war?
Well, because the U.N. Resolution only called for a ‘no-fly zone’ to protect civilians – it wasn’t until after the bombing started that the President re-interpreted the resolution to say it meant bombing Qaddafi’s army – to help the ‘Rebels.’
That bit of slight of hand was compounded by another domestic political problem: Americans may be stubborn and mulish and we may love ‘the good life’ to a fault but we’ve figured out – after Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan – that ‘limited war’ means a ten-year ordeal. So the President’s doing his best (linguistically) to invent a new kind of military beast. So what is happening in Libya is not a war or even a limited war but a ‘kinetic action’ which avoids the harsh political realities here at home of the President saying the words, Today, I have declared a war on Libya.
And – to praise Obama – it’s working. He’s pulled it off and avoided the backlash.
But, that said, the history of ‘no fly zones’ is troubling. The last time we launched a kinetic military action like this was in Iraq back in the 1990’s, after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. That ‘no-fly zone’ lasted 12 years and ended in another war.
Which leaves me wondering: Where on earth is the ‘peace-wing’ of the Democratic Party now that we need it?


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