Libya: George W. Bush would had done a better job

I never thought I’d say this, but I really think the previous President would have done a much better job handling the Libyan situation.

For almost a month now, Obama has been sitting on his hands, “expressing concern” but not lifting a finger to help people being massacred by the horrid, delusional, tin-pot dictator Gadaffi. When not actively blocking action by NATO or the Security Council.

It’s like watching the History Channel, only Hitler wins. And, unfortunately, my remote seems to have given out.

I can’t help thinking the Republicans are partly right: Obama is weak on foreign policy - a mealy-mouthed, whining appeaser who lacks the balls and the conviction to do anything but trying feebly to maintain the status quo. There, I said it.

What do you think?

Ultimately, it’s up to the Libyan people to overthrow their government. The last thing we need to do is charge in there with guns blazing. Caution is not a sign of weakness.

I don’t want one American to die for Libya

I think we have no goddamn business invading Libya, just as we had no goddamn business invading Iraq. Besides which, we can’t really afford yet another military adventure at the moment.

Not that I think well of Obama, but what makes you think Bush would have cared enough to have done anything constructive? Or been able to do so if he’d have tried? I bet he either wouldn’t have cared, or would have done something like started bombing, killed a bunch of innocent Libyans and turned the public against the rebels, returning Gaddafi to a firm grip on power. It’s Bush who helped tie Obama’s hands, by helping ensure that everyone on the planet outside our borders would take the worst possible interpretation of anything we did.

Good for Obama, not spending money you don’t have to stick the US’s nose where it belongeth not. Who is he appeasing? What demands have been made of him?

Yeah, 'cause Bush did such a great job handling Darfur too.


What do you think Bush would or could have done about Libya that Obama isn’t doing?

What did Bush ever do about the Sudan?

I didn’t say we have to invade Libya, but I am in favor of setting up a no-fly-zone or supplying the Libyan opposition with weapons. Or indeed anything at all to try to stop a dictator who has been murding, torturing and even arranging terrorist attacks on one of our main allies - I’m referring to the Lockerbie bombing.

The Tooth: Well, Gadaffi told us to look the other way while he’s killing anybody who dares to ask for democracy or freedom after 42 years of ruling Libya with an iron fist. And Mr. Obama was happy to oblige, simply care, or was to weak or indecicive to do anything. To my mind, that’s appeasement or worse.

Well, yeah, but Gadaffi is certifiably insane.

Oh, you’re comparing him to Obama? Please. If you’ve somehow convinced yourself Bush would have sent the U.S. military into Libya to help the rebels because that’s just the kind of decisive guy he was, you’re kidding yourself. Please go ahead and list the number of times he did anything like that during his term. Bush was plenty concerned about the human rights of Afghans and Iraqis when it suited his agenda; otherwise, he was the same as pretty much anyone else: sympathetic perhaps, but not interested in doing anything about it. What did Bush do about Darfur? Nothing. Burma? Nothing. Tibet? Nothing. He would not have sent bombers or soldiers into Libya just because Gadhaffi was killing people.

For a while it looked like the rebels might overthrow Gadaffi without outside intervention. That would have been ideal. Obama and other leaders applied what pressure they could through diplomacy. Unfortunately they haven’t killed or overthrown him and his military is turning the tide, so they’re considering other options. I don’t know if anything will be done. It sucks. But let’s not delude ourselves here: this is not happening because Obama is indecisive, it’s because he and other Western leaders don’t get involved in other countries out of the goodness of their hearts and they are usually not that interested in what happens in Africa.

Obama has been in charge for about two years, not 42. Gadaffi has been essentially the same guy the entire time he’s been in power.

What is stopping others from stepping in? Europe can’t setup a no-fly zone? The United States is not the world police and quite frankly we still have not stopped taking shit for the last dictator we toppled. Let somebody else do it.

This is not the first thread full of anger that Obama hasn’t taken military action in Libya. But ain’t none of the OP’s seem to take into account the current commitment of US resources to other conflicts around the world. Cutting military spending dramatically is one way to make real gains in fixing a domestic budget problem. And yet, some people just want to run into a situation without thinking of the long term consequences.

And Egypt before that.

True, but Obama hasn’t proposed cutting military spending dramatically and most politicians don’t seem interested in the idea. The military budget is not going to be a major factor in whatever happens in Libya. It would probably be a drop in the bucket as far as the defense budget is concerned. The most important issues would be the perception that the West is intervening in another Arab state, and the potential for another long-term commitment of resources.

So, let me get this straight: The OP’s position is that we were right to stand pat (like Bush did) for all of the previous decades when Ghadafi had an iron grip on the country, but that now that they’re rising up in favor of democracy, now we should bomb the Hell out of them?

I am NO fan of Obama-but he is right.
Anything we could do in Libya would make a bad situation worse.
What if the revolution gave birth to a monster (like Iran)?
If the USA were to intervene (militarily) in Libya, withing 3 hours we would be the “bad guy”.
If Sarkozy wants to commit HIS military, he is welcome to do so-but don’t hold your breath.

I actually think Bush WOULD have done something. Probably imposed a (unilateral most likely) no-fly-zone at the least…and at the most been sending in the jets to bomb the crap out of Libyan loyalist positions or whatever. He would have thought he was doing the right thing, too…he always thought he was.

And he’d have been absolutely wrong. Again. It would be a huge mistake for the US to be involved (ESPECIALLY unilaterally) in Libya at this time or earlier in the conflict. It’s not Americans job to go about righting wrongs or doing ‘good’ deeds or whatever.

I actually think Obama has done a good job of balancing the actual issues on this particular cluster fuck, striking the right tone and working with out allies to chart a good mutual course. There are times for the US to go it alone or do what we think is best…and this is definitely NOT one of those times.


One aspect of the Libyan struggle that the “kill 'em all and let Allah sort 'em out” crowd either enjoys ignoring or has utterly failed to bother learning is that Libya is unlike Tunisia and Egypt, or even Bahrain or Yemen. In Tunisia and Egypt, the overwhelming majority of people were actively chafing under the repressive rule. Once the military decided to favor the people, the governments could be toppled relatively peacefully. How those changes in regime will look in twelve months or five years is unclear, but the immediate change could be accomplished with a minimum of havoc.

Libya looks more like Afghanistan and Iraq with large tribal associations supporting each faction–government or rebels. If there is any parity between the sizes of the various tribes, the result is going to be a civil war unless one side or the other can persuade their opponents that they will be treated fairly once the shooting stops. It took seven years for Iraq to get to the point where the civil war settled down to a tense, if hopeful, effort to reliance upon the ballot box. Afghanistan’s civil war is currently more embers than flames, but it continues. Any outside government taking an active role in Libya risks getting caught up in a similar civil war that could extend years, with thousands of casualties and billions of dollars expended.

Unlike Bush, who ignored the specific statements from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Iraq was a bad idea, Obama has been actually including the military in his considerations of legitimate and practical ways to intervene. We really do not need one more ignorant cowboy in the White House.

And I’m not sure that the OP realizes what it takes to establish a no-fly zone. It’s not like the US/UN can just declare one and it’s over.

True - But thinking before committing resources is an Obama trait, and committing resources to yet another long term project is going to make it even harder politically to argue for cuts in defense spending.

Mostly, I am for staying out of Libya, Egypt and whoever else goes up next because at best it is a long process that we are unlikely to ever receive any gratitude for. Saddam was horrible piece of work, but the moment he was gone the rival groups fell upon each other and the only thing they seem to agree on is that the US is evil too. Democracy comes from within, others can help, but if the main push is not internal then it will never work.

As for the OP, I would note that is little to no public outcry in the US for this sort of action in Libya. Nobody, or almost nobody, likes the current dictator but there is no public support for US involvement.

The Bush administration would have soundly condemned Gadaffi and called on the world to join us in capturing him, then they would have invaded Columbia.

Or you could just supply them with weapons. That’s always worked well in the past.