President Obama has publicly mouthed words to the effect that “our exit strategy would begin this week” but that it’s not really exiting the theater at all, only attempting to change the public face of our involvement.
“The exit strategy will be executed this week,” President Obama said, “in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment. We will still be in a support role. We will be supplying jamming, intelligence and other assets unique to us.”
In some ways this actually sounds good; it’s past time for the other nations to step up and bear their fair share of the costs – political, financial, and human – of policing more the feral and savage areas of the world at large.
There are, however, some very serious issues with Obama’s statement and actions, both previous and planned.
Shucking, Jiving, and Nuance
No amount of nuanced statements, “Clintonian” triangulations, or spin doctoring is going to reconcile the inherent contradiction within Obama’s “exit strategy” statement. Moving out of a leadership position in Operation Odyssey Dawn isn’t an exit strategy. Obama’s trying to claim otherwise is and will continue to be nothing but shucking and jiving.
Shades Of Pontius Pilate
Washing his hands of responsibility didn’t work so well for Pontius Pilate’s portrayal by history and Obama’s transparent attempt to have Britain and France play the role of the Sadducees in regards to Libya most likely won’t work any better for Obama or America.
Neither the Muslim World nor the Liberals and Progressives in America are going to forget over 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from American ships during the first day of the conflict. Nor are either group likely to believe that UNSCR 1973 was approved without President Obama’s permission, especially since the US’ representative to the Security Council voting in favor it.
What will happen, if things go as badly as they might, is that our allies will be prone to believe that Obama left them holding the bag, much as the unlamented 5th Roman Prefect of Judea did to the Sadducees.
This boils down to a rookie mistake by the POTUS. A more experienced person would have known to not only start as they meant to finish, but that back-pedaling and waffling on any issue, especially one as incendiary as a war in the Muslim World, would be seen as worse in the long run than just doing whatever it is one meant to do in the first place.
If Obama didn’t approve of this adventure, he shouldn’t have voted by proxy in favor of it. If it was never his intention for US forces to lead Operation Odyssey Dawn, he should have made that and what our role would actually be clear to everyone from the very beginning.
Reflections From a Murky Pond