Last week, Muammar Gadhafi, the former Libyan president, died from a bullet wound after several months of bloody civil war. Back in March of this year, President Obama authorized Operation Odyssey Dawn, the code name for the U.S. involvement in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone. This was reported as an international operation, in which the U.S. would only take a small supporting role to prevent Gadhafi from attacking his own citizens. Flash forward seven months: Gadhafi is dead, and we now have what is being hailed a “foreign policy victory” for Obama.
The United States had the most forces in Libya during the operation aimed at helping the Libyan people, with nine Navy ships, various surveillance units, over 70 aircrafts ranging from bombers to command control and unmanned drones. What began as “enforcing a no-fly zone” turned into bombing Libyan airfields and compounds. After 13 days of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) took command and the situation was renamed Operation Unified Protector. But the United States remained involved. The U.S. and NATO declared that their mission was not to kill Gadhafi but to enforce the no-fly zone and protect the civilians.
Obama acted illegally by keeping U.S. forces in Libya for more than 90 days, which violated the War Powers Resolution act. It was adopted after the Vietnam War to check the power of the president to launch armed conflict without Congressional consent. According to this resolution, Obama was supposed to seek authorization from Congress by May 20. Obama claimed that this was not necessary because the U.S. involvement was “limited” and NATO was technically in charge.
Regardless of legality, Obama proudly addressed the nation last week and said “The United States and our friends and allies stopped Gadhafi’s forces in their tracks.” There is no question that Gadhafi was a cruel dictator whose 42 year dictatorship needed to come to an end. This past February, it was announced that Gadhafi had been behind the Lockerbie bombing in which Pan Am flight 103 was blown up back in 1988, killing 270 people. In his own country, Gadhafi was responsible for thousands of deaths during the uprisings and civil war that followed.
When it came to ousting Gadhafi, why did the U.S. need to get involved when our government is bankrupt and still engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq? Was it because Obama was so sincerely dedicated to saving the lives of the Libyan people? If saving lives was the mission, then why did we not intervene in the brutality in Egypt when the people were trying to overthrow Mubarak, or in Syria where several thousand people have been, and continue to be, murdered by President Assad? No, I do not believe Obama was acting in order to save the lives of Libyans. I think his motives were much more selfish.
You see, Gadhafi had introduced a new currency, the Gold Dinar, to break away from the dollar. Gadhafi not only proposed this currency for use in Libya, but all over Africa and had been working to implement it right up to the invasion. This currency would have been made of gold and governments using it would have only accepted gold as payment from other countries. This would have given Libya a strong upper hand in trade relations, especially being an oil-producing country. Also, since the dollar is no longer backed by gold, this would have been bad news for the U.S. According to Britain’s RT News, “The U.S. and its NATO allies literally couldn’t afford to let that happen.” Interestingly enough, in 2000, Suddam Hussein announced that Iraqi oil would no longer be traded for the dollar, but instead for Euros. The following year the U.S. invaded Iraq.
Regardless of Obama’s true reasons for U.S. involvement in Libya, it is now time that he address the true costs of his venture. Gadhafi’s death cost taxpayers an estimated $2 billion according to Vice President Joe Biden. Besides the tax burden, we have seen an average of an 80 cent rise at the gas pump. The $2 billion tab from Libya can now be added to the $500 billion from Afghanistan and the over $1 trillion from Iraq.
Gadhafi is dead and it is being hailed as a foreign policy victory for President Obama. Nevermind that it was against the law for Obama to put us in Libya in the first place because obviously he knew all along that he would get to say he acted in the right. But Obama’s foreign policy victory parade didn’t end there.
Recently, Obama announced he would be removing the rest of the U.S. troops from Iraq, a promise he campaigned on and three years later is finally fulfilling. Now that we are out of both Libya and Iraq, will we focus time, money and lives on our own borders and security? No. Obama isn’t wasting any time getting the U.S. involved in its next military venture. As of Oct. 14 we now have troops in Uganda.