A third war in the Islamic world and involving Western forces is now underway, this time in Libya, “Operation Odyssey Dawn.” President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, however, are taking great pains to say that the U.S. is not leading; we are only helping. Remarkably, the French are taking the lead in this new war, under the direction of President Nicolas Sarkozy, Europe’s new “W.”
“As a part of this effort, the United States will contribute our unique capabilities at the front-end of the mission to protect Libyan civilians and enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners,” President Obama noted on Saturday from Brazil. “And as I said yesterday, we will not — I repeat — we will not deploy any U.S. troops on the ground….Make no mistake. Today we are part of a broad coalition.”
“We did not lead this,” Secretary Clinton stressed in Paris on Saturday at an emergency summit on the Libyan crisis. “We did not engage in unilateral actions in any way, but we strongly support the international community taking action against governments and leaders who believe as Gaddafi is unfortunately doing so now.”
Why is the world’s only superpower not taking the lead in such a critical foreign policy arena? Why are we letting the French (and the British) set the pace? Who would have thought we would have ever heard in our lifetimes the sentence, “The French are taking the lead in military action” anywhere, much less in an Arab Muslim country? There are many theories.
Stranger still is that “regime change” is no longer an American objective. That’s right, the White House is no longer saying that removing Libyan madman Moammar Gaddafi is one of our strategic goals, even though it has been for weeks. Consider the troubling series of recent statements:
- On February 28, Secretary of State Clinton said Gaddafi and his regime had no legitimacy to remain in power and must “go.” – “Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Gaddafi to go — now, without further violence or delay,” Clinton told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
- On March 3, President Obama said Gaddafi had no legitimacy to remain in power and ” must leave.” — “Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave. Those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable. And the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met.”
- On March 14, President Obama said on March 14 in a meeting with Denmark’s Prime Minister that Gaddafi had to step down from power in Libya. – “We both share the view that Mr. Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and he needs to leave, and that we as an international community have to speak firmly against any violence that’s directed at civilians,” the President told reporters in the Oval Office.
- On March 19, however, President Obama’s statement announcing the use of military force against Gaddafi’s forces made no mention of this ultimatum for Gaddafi to leave power. Regime change, apparently, is no longer the Obama administration’s objective.
Let us pray for U.S., French, British, Canadian and other forces that are now in harm’s way to protect the Libyan people from slaughter. Let us pray for Gaddafi and his entire regime to be brought down, even if that is no longer the administration’s stated goal. Let us pray for our leaders to have true wisdom, discernment and courage in this situation. Let us pray, too, for every Libyan man, woman and child to hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and for believers around the world to find effective ways to support and encourage the persecuted Church in Libya.
Finally, let us pray for the Lord’s will to be done. As the Hebrew Prophet Daniel once prayed (Daniel 2:20-23):
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21“It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
22“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
23“To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- NYT: France and Britain Lead Military Push on Libya
- Los Angeles Times: Sarkozy announces action against Kadafi; international force flies missions over Libya
- The Economist: Sarkozy’s Libyan surprise
- Washington Post: Clinton says U.S. supports, but will not lead, military operation against Libya
- U.S. Tomahawk Cruise Missiles Hit Targets in Libya; Pentagon: 112 Missiles Fired at More Than 20 Targets Inside Libya
- France supports quick Libya action after UN vote