It’s been 71 days since President Obama declared that Muammar Gaddafi must leave Libya.  It’s been 64 days since Obama proclaimed that Gaddafi’s days are numbered;  64 is in fact a number.  444 is also a number; it’s the number of days President Carter sat back while our embassy staff in Iran was held hostage in 1979 and world-wide respect for American power was devastated.

Apparently President Obama hasn’t learned the hard-earned lessons of warfare according to one of his supporters, Colin Powell.  Powell’s well-respected rules for employing U.S. military assets are known as the Powell Doctrine:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

If you can answer yes to all the above questions, Colin Powell said, the Commander-in-Chief must then choose whether to involve the U.S. military.  If the President does deploy U.S. military power it must do so with a strategy of overwhelming force.  The full weight of American strength must be exercised to avoid a prolonged engagement with a likelihood of significant loss of life to our troops and civilians.

At least 6 of the 8 items necessary to warrant American involvement, according to the Powell Doctrine, were not and have not been met in the Libyan debacle.

1. There is no vital national security interest in Libya.  It’s not even debatable.  Obama’s Secretary of Defense said very early the Libyan Civil War was not of vital national interest to the U.S.

2. Apparently President Obama’s objective was to wag a finger at Gaddafi, send a few hundred cruise missiles his way, and turn it over to NATO; no clear objective.

3. Whether the risks and costs were appropriately assessed is impossible to say.  If I had to guess I’d say no based on performance, however just because they’re doing a miserable job doesn’t mean they didn’t consider the cost or potential outcomes.  We saw this in Iraq, which is one reason why we chased our tails for nearly a decade.

4. We acted rather fast in Libya because of the belief that Gaddafi would slaughter people in the city of Benghazi.  Clearly all other non-violent means weren’t exhausted.  I’m not saying they would work, only that this is one of the key 8 items in the Powell Doctrine we didn’t follow.

5. There isn’t an exit strategy for either us or NATO.  Even though we’re not “in the lead,” it’s important to realize that we are both the number one funding source and retain the top leadership positions within NATO regardless of who you name as the Commander of Libyan Operations.  The Libyan semi-engagement isn’t doing anything to bolster respect for our military.

6. Clearly the consequences of the action was not fully considered now that we’re more than 2 months into this fiasco with no end in sight.  Gaddafi thumbs his nose at all of NATO, but most importantly he’s demonstrating the impotence of American words when we either won’t or can’t back them with action.

7. The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the Libyan action according to every poll taken on the matter.

8. Even all of NATO wasn’t and isn’t in agreement with the actions in Libya.  Outside of NATO only a few of the Arab League nations have supported the action and several of them have since said that they no longer support the Libyan endeavor because it’s gone beyond the “No Fly Zone” they were requesting.

So, if one of Obama’s supporters, Colin Powell, would not support the Libyan mission by his own measuring stick, why are we there?  If we’re to believe the President’s words that no other solution other than the removal of Gaddafi is acceptable, why haven’t we made that our primary objective?  Where is the overwhelming force that is the bulwark of the Powell Doctrine?  The Libyan Air Force was quickly eliminated as a threat.  The Libyan Army is only a threat to the rebels, most of which are shopkeepers, accountants, students and teachers.  Remember how the Iraqi Army folded like a cheap table when overwhelming force was directed at them by Dick Cheney and Colin Powell in the first Gulf War?  This seems like the standard Obama dithering while more than 600 billion dollars have been expended dancing with the dictator of a inconsequential oil producer in Northern Africa and we don’t even buy any oil from them.  What are we doing?

It’s time to fish or cut bait.  NATO isn’t going to end this foolishness without us in the lead.  Get us, our money (read NATO) the hell out of a country that represents no threat to us, or step up to the plate and put this penny-ante excuse for OPEC to inflate oil prices to an end.  How many times must the words of Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” be revisited?  When we put American military resources to use we must point them to their objective and remove all roadblocks to them obtaining it.  Those in the White House that restrain the military only assure the military is placed in a more dangerous situation at some later date and for a longer period of time.  Either release the dogs or bring them home and that includes NATO.

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