I read Columnist Peter Lucas' piece, "Obama's Libya misstep: Leading from the rear", in Friday's [Lowell] Sun. For a while it will be here, and then it will be on its way to Pluto.
I have two quibbles about the column.
First, President Bill Clinton's conduct of the operations in Kosovo didn't actually go that smoothly. The decision to intervene militarily took a very long time and then the bombing effort went on for months, while the US Army tried to deploy ground forces to back up the bombing. In the end, it worked, but it wasn't pretty. However, this fracas was not an example of the value of leading from the front. There was a whole lot of diplomacy involved. My friend Juan suggested that the measure of effectiveness for the bombing campaign wasn't targets destroyed or tons of bombs dropped, but the number of different air forces with aircraft in the air on a given day. He was correct.
Second, the true "misstep" might be getting involved at all. This problem is in Europe's back yard. We are not the World's Policeman. Should Europe not be running this show? Are we not usually being told that the Europeans are big boys now and that Rumsfeld putdown of "Old Europe" is a canard. I will grant you that due to certain procurement decisions on the part of the Europeans there are certain capabilities that the US posses that they do not, including certain air capabilities and command and control capabilities. But, that is not a reason for us to be in front.
I think that Mr Lucas fails to make his case.
On top of that, Mr Lucas is negligent in not mentioning that President Clinton conformed to the outline of the War Powers Resolution and President Obama has not. Mark that down as a misstep for President Obama and a misstep for Mr Lucas.
Regards — Cliff