Blogs » Politcs Plus » Mission creep?



The term" mission creep” is an expansion of emission beyond its original goals. The Washington Post first used this term in 1993 to describe the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Several pundits used this term to describe our bombing of Libya this weekend. Who can blame them? Aren't all long-lasting wars started with limited engagements?

It has been rumored that Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Powers persuaded the president to use military action against Libya for humanitarian reasons, over the objections of those leaning against such action such as, Secretary of Defense Gates, Tom Donilon, the national security adviser, and John Brennan, Obama’s counter terrorism chief. It seemed to me that Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a reluctant warrior in explaining the support for the U.N. resolutions for the no fly zone. Admiral Mullen did say that the mission went according to plan and said that we will continue bombing for two or three days and then take a secondary support position allowing France and the rest of the coalition to take the lead. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates echoed those sentiments.

The administration needs to continue saying that we are doing our part in enforcing the U.N. resolution because regime change or humanitarian reasons leave them open for the double- standard talk that will be used against them. We did not help the people of Sudan, Bahrain, and Yemen when their government used, force to quell a rebellion. Under the umbrella of the U.N. resolution, the administration can say that the Arab league approved the military action. Colonel Omar Qadhafi could very well step back for 90 days and then launch a ground attack against the inexperienced rebels. The United States has already frozen the Libyan assets, knocked out a lot of Qadhafi's Air Force, tanks, and armored personnel carriers, so he's pretty well inside a box with only the soldiers loyal to him. He is still able to retaliate with terrorist missions in Europe, but it's difficult to say what a madman will do, when backed up into a corner. There some saying that, unless Qadhafi is removed, this will be Obama's folly because the president made it very clear that Colonel Qaddafi cannot remain in power. On the other side, secretary Gates said this would be a very limited engagement and regime change is not part of the plan.

Over the weekend, I heard Senator Lindsey Graham hyperventilating because our action was too little and possibly too late. He emphasized that not taking out Qadhafi and bringing him to the United States to try him for the bombing of Pan Am 103, will be considered a defeat. I don't think we want to open that can of worms because we practically gave him immunity for that crime, when we restored relations with him and his country, in exchange for giving up his nuclear ambitions. I didn't really hear any opposition to the president over using his powers because Congress seems to be satisfied that he is justified for his action, under the War Powers Act. Who knows, if one of our jets get shot down, what action Congress will take?

I can only imagine as to what is going on in the War Room because Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Syria are probably taking notes on what is happening Libya, as protesters in their country are looking for change. We certainly aren't going to intervene in those country's problems, but it might make our negotiations with Saudi Arabia sticky because we have an important military base in Bahrain. Fox News Sunday guest Brit Hume, said that Iran probably thinks we're weak for taking a secondary role in Libya. They don't think that we can manage a war on three fronts? It wouldn't be in Iran's best interest to view the United States as a paper tiger.

I'm very uncomfortable with this mission,as are many, but if we do take a secondary role in a few days and the administration does a better job of explaining their reasons;this could be the start of a new foreign policy.