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Obama's War

Herb Boyd | 5/25/2011, 12:54 p.m.
Despite five days of pounding from Tomahawk cruise missiles, bombs and attacks by coalition airplanes...
Obama's War

Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam shared similar sentiments about the status of Gaddafi, with whom he has immutable emotional and economic ties.

"Why don't you organize a group of respected Americans, and ask for a meeting with Gaddafi?" Farrakhan asked Obama rhetorically during an interview with Chicago broadcaster Cliff Kelley. "You can't order him to step down and get out--who do the hell you think you are, that you can talk to a man that built a country over 42 years, and ask him to step down and get out?

"Can anybody ask you?" Farrakhan continued. "Well...there's going to be a lot now [who are] going to ask you to step out of the White House because they don't want a Black face in the White House."

On the other hand, there are those who contend that if Gaddafi succeeds in beating back the rebels it will have a chilling effect on the democratic impulse that has swept across North Africa and the Middle East since the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

At one point during an interview on Al Jazeera television, noted Middle East authority and author Tariq Ali summarized the rebellion in Libya as a continuation of the general thrust for democracy and the overthrow of tyrants. But he later amended that position in an interview with New Zealand television commentator Paul Holmes.

"Well, I think it's a loss, and, tragically, the Libyan upsurge ran out of steam," Ali concluded. "They were hoping that the military would split and some of it would come over to their side. Some did. A few pilots fled the land, but it wasn't enough to sway the thing. My own feeling about the Western intervention is that it's a disastrous intervention that will strengthen Libya. And, of course, the Libyan propaganda outfits are saying, you know, 'Who are these people to attack us? They were doing deals with us. We are paying [French President] Sarkozy's election campaign money and the Brits money'--all these sort of questions."

If the so-called experts are not sure what to make of the situation in Libya, then what are we to do? And the uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, Morocco and Yemen adds complexity, particularly with the tribal differences in Libya, to the turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East, making it mighty difficult for the U.S. if it seeks to continue its role as world cop.

Obama inherited the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now he can claim Libya as his own.