Libya and Bahrain: Neutering the Constitution, heading for disaster

Next to the right to bear arms, I do not think there is a clearer statement in the U.S. Constitution than the one that says only Congress can declare war. Reasonable people can argue about other, less clear passages, but these two neither need nor will abide “explanation and interpretation” from our Ivy League betters. (NB: I once thought the same about Freedom of Speech, until the elite folks who feel duty-bound to perfect the rest of us riff-raff came up with the debate-stopping tool of laws against “hate speech.”)

With Libya, I believe, we see the end of congressional control over the question of when America goes to war. There has been a good deal of criticism of President Obama’s slowness in unleashing the U.S. military on Colonel Gaddafi’s no-threat-to-the-U.S. forces, but I think, to the contrary, Obama got exactly what he wanted.

From the first, Obama said that “Gaddafi had to go” and so committed the United States to a policy of regime change in Libya. But he had to disguise his intent and goal to satisfy the remaining interest-group shreds and Pacifistic tatters of the Democratic Party that he was not copying George W. Bush.

So what to do?

Well, Obama laid back and let the British and French leaders advance the newest glorious cause of secular progressivism — neo-colonial military intervention. With London and Paris in the lead, the Western interventionist bloc managed to produce a UN resolution authorizing military action against Gaddafi in the name of humanitarian concerns and the hoax known as international law. (How many former USSR officials have been tried for murdering 60 million people between 1917 and 1991?) Up to the last moment, Obama disingenuously played the part of a shy and unwilling bride, determined to protect her virtue to the last. The credibility of his demeanor was, of course, made mock of by Secretary Clinton’s relentless call for “bombings of Libyan military assets,” and the wild-eyed and not-far-short-of-crazed U.S. UN ambassador, Susan Rice. Ms. Rice’s war lust ought to be sated by the gift of an AK-47, a box of granola bars, and one-way ticket to Benghazi. (NB: Beware also of the lie told by Obama, Clinton, and Rice; Senators McCain and Graham; and much of the media that because Qatar and the UAE are involved in the military mission, and because the UK and France led at the UN, the Libyan intervention will not be seen as a U.S.-led invasion by the Muslim world. Horse hockey! Muslims are not as naive as the bulk of Americans and far better able to see reality through the fog of their leaders’ lies. The Islamic world will see the Libyan action for what it will be: A U.S.-led intervention in yet another Muslim land.)

With the UN Security Council’s authorization for this regime-destroying, neo-colonial military adventure, Mr. Obama threw off his chaste white garments, immediately repeated his “Gaddafi must go” statement, and quickly donned the traditional garb of the U.S. bipartisan elite — the chain mail of military intervention. And so all Americans now go off to another war in which not a single genuine U.S. interest is at stake, and one that cannot be won — if our elite can find a way to define the term — without boots on the ground.

For all of its proven and admirable lethality, ferocity, and tenacity the U.S. Air Force and NATO’s air forces have definitively shown that air power alone never wins anything. Even with large ground-force contingents, for example, the combined U.S. and NATO air forces have not been able to stave off defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hands of insurgents armed mostly with Korean War-era weapons.

So the die is cast regarding Libya, and the West will fail in its arrogant military endeavor. With Gaddafi’s forces already in Benghazi’s outskirts, the war will quickly become a street-by-street, infantry fight in which the Libyan army’s artillery, armor, and troops can only be destroyed from the air at the cost of destroying much of the city and its civilian population. At this, of course, our effeminate progressive warriors will blanche, realizing that war is not a clean business (a fact not taught at Harvard) and that Gaddafi has lured them into a situation that cannot be “won” from the air. What then? What else? U.S. Marines, British commandos, French legionnaires, and Canadian infantry will be deployed to do what Western leaders will describe as a short operation to “mop up the remnants” of Gaddafi’s forces that air power did not kill. Many months later those troops officially will still be “mopping up,” but actually will be in the midst of a life-and-death fight with Gaddafi’s forces; the veteran Libyan Islamist mujahideen who were at core of the anti-Gaddafi resistance until the West intervened; and other veteran mujahideen who will come — with aid from wealthy Gulf Arab donors — from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Sudan to fight the infidel invaders and occupiers. (NB: This very possible potential outcome is, of course, why China and Russia abstained at the UN. After all, when your enemies are about to make a blunder of epic and immensely costly proportions, why get in the way?)

And as bad as another military defeat will be for the United States, the demise of the Constitution’s war-making provision is even worse. Obama made no pretense of wanting, let alone getting congressional authorization for his war, and the Senators and Congressmen behaved as spineless ciphers, ready to abdicate their clear constitutional prerogatives to Obama; to has-been European imperialists; and to the fundamentally corrupt, anti-American United Nations. These cowering men and women also showed themselves unwilling to manfully oppose the very essence of tyranny: A U.S. president taking America to a war that only he, his bipartisan cronies, and the media want; without a congressional declaration of war; and with last week’s polls showing that 65-percent of Americans opposed U.S. military intervention in Libya.

And people thought George W. Bush had too much power and used it too arrogantly.

An article of my was published on the National Interest’s blog this week. As you will note, I think events in Bahrain may yet present the United States with a great strategic disaster.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.