An Editorial in Pioneer, Delhi
June 07, 2011
The fact that only days after NATO member countries unanimously extended their mission in Libya by 90 days, US President Barack Obama who spearheaded the initial operation was rebuked by the House of Representatives for his failure to provide a “compelling rationale” for the same speaks volumes about the complexities that continue to shadow the mission. Three whole months after the UN-mandated military intervention in Libya began, questions regarding its legitimacy, scope and consequences still remain unanswered. This, in combination with the fact that Mr Obama did not bother to get congressional authorisation for the mission, set the stage for House Speaker John A Boehner and Representative Dennis J Kucinich to sponsor two separate resolutions that called on the Obama Administration to provide a detailed explanation of the cost and objectives of the mission and demanded that the US military be withdrawn from Libya, respectively. While the former resolution by Mr Boehner was passed 268 to 145, the latter was defeated. In other words, the House believes that there is not ample justification for the Libyan mission (and that Mr Obama has quite a bit of explaining to do) but remains reluctant to call for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from what is now a NATO-led, multilateral effort — again, a clear indication of the fuzzy logic that governs the Libyan mission. The resolution passed by the House carries little legislative weight and has almost no practical consequences (as such resolutions which the President has no chance to veto cannot be enforced) but its political implications simply cannot be ignored. The resolution is an uncommonly direct affront to the President who also serves as Commander-in-Chief of the US Army at a time when the country is involved in multiple military conflicts. But more importantly, it points to a growing opposition against the Libyan mission that cuts across party lines.
Given this background, the decision by NATO members to extend the deadline which expired on May 20 is beyond comprehension. From the very outset foreign intervention in Libya, be it under American or NATO leadership, was a matter of international contention. And for good reason too. Today, the operation is little more than a blanket bombing campaign that has done little to resolve the political situation in Libya; instead, it has only pushed the country towards a military stalemate that has claimed the lives of several hundred innocent civilians. And yet, there is no clear consensus on why such this mindless operation is still being carried out. Perhaps, Mr Obama has some answers. His fellow lawmakers in Washington, DC have given him 14 days to share them. The world would like to hear them too.
Source: The Daily Pioneer, New Delhi