Obama’s speech won’t please those who are against all wars and any form of intervention. But I thought he struck a fine-tuned balance. The peace movement can take credit for building a wall of opposition to costly quagmires. Now the peace movement needs to focus public pressure against any escalation into another trillion-dollar quagmire.
On the one hand, Obama defended the notion of humanitarian intervention when there is a “responsibility to protect” civilian populations. That has been the passion of Samantha Power, now one of Obama’s closest advisers. But on the other hand, Obama seemed to draw a line against using an escalation of the war to directly overthrow Qaddafi, which would involve unknown human and fiscal costs and perhaps the sending of Marines to Tripoli. He offered to assist the opposition with intelligence, search and rescue, logistical support, and jamming of regime communications. And he embraced the doctrine of multilateralism we have seen demonstrated this week.
The critical force of public opinion has limited the president’s options.
Thousands of American have signed the following peace petition:
The United States cannot afford a deepening quagmire in Libya. We call on President Obama to seek authorization from the U.S. Congress for his Libyan bombing campaign, including a mission statement limited to protecting Libyan civilians, a viable diplomatic strategy, an exact cost projection, and a timeline for the rapid withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops before the war becomes another quagmire.
We believe that Col. Quaddafi is an autocratic ruler who has controlled Libyan lives for far too long. But we also believe a military escalation to remove him would be seen as a violation of Libyan sovereignty and a subversion of United Nations authorization 1973. Col. Quaddafi can be contained, forced into exile, or removed by the force of his own people.
We call for a responsible White House plan to end the unaffordable trillion dollar wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya. The pro-democracy movements sweeping the Middle East and North Africa deserve American diplomatic, economic and political support, but cannot become the platform for another decade of military intervention.
We support the Democratic National Committee’s recent resolution calling for a significant and substantial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan beginning this July, and the transfer of funds for war to rebuilding our economy at home.
We further call for the most serious effort of our generation to speed the transition to energy conservation and renewable resources with the same urgency with which our government takes us to war.
It is time for a great re-thinking of American foreign policy, and a stronger movement for peace, jobs and environmental sanity.