Paul A. Ibbetson
Unclear strategy in Libya presents dangers to U.S.
By Paul A. Ibbetson
March 25, 2011

The Barack Obama administration has remained motionless while the people of Libya have struggled and even died to replace Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi. Gaddafi, who came to power in 1969, has been a sponsor of terrorism around the world and a ruthless dictator to his people for over 40 years. Ronald Reagan called Gaddafi the "mad dog of the Middle East." His removal from power, if done in the right way, could have been a positive situation for both the people of Libya and the U.S. Unfortunately, that window of opportunity has passed and now the Obama administration, after allowing hostilities to escalate, will attempt more passive U.N. strategies to quell this radical Islamic dictator. This strategy by the White House will inevitably fail in helping freedom seekers in Libya and it will also cause complications for America down the road.

The White House has already set a precedent for inaction in this region, and the sudden change we see coming from the Obama administration gives the appearance to the world that the President is being motivated to action by other forces. To radicals such as Gaddafi and his allies this is a sign of weakness. Barack Obama has done nothing but reinforce the point that the United States will take the backseat in reducing violence among the Libyan people. In fact, the president has gone to considerable efforts to make sure that friends and foes alike in the world understand just how many military options the U.S. won't use to deal with Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Settling back into America's more familiar emasculated role within the United Nations, the United States will be limited predominantly to air strikes in Libya. Now Americans can settle in and watch the UN Security Council perform its primary function, creating resolutions that we must follow but that the radicals disregard when it is in their best interest. A little certainty of the old George Bush "shock and awe" would have rectified this situation rapidly, but alas, Gaddafi, as opposed to Saddam Hussein, has made a better dice roll when it comes to picking administrations to provoke. In fact, just what is the objective with the U.S. becoming involved in a Libyan civil war?

The White House states that the U.S. will work to safeguard the people of Libya. Are we to consider this vague mission statement a plan for regime change, nation building, or something as simple as a minor public show of assistance? Detractors of the president say that situations such as the handling of the Libyan dictator show another example of the President's inexperience and inability to clearly step forward as leader of America. To others, Obama's actions when it comes to Islamic nations reflect the strange bond that the president has with Muslim countries of the world. Even now with America's new ambiguous stance against violence in Libya, the president appears to be more concerned about assuaging concerns in the Muslim world than protecting American interests and the ideals that America is known to stand for. Obama's half motions and half-hearted policy stances are painful to watch and also come with a price. Obama will fail to find the allies in the Muslim world that he is so adamantly seeking. In fact, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and especially future dictators like these that we will face, will most likely have more success than Obama in garnering support from Muslim organizations such as the Arab league.

The problem with the president's failure to lead is not centered on Libya; it is a much bigger and farther-reaching problem. Within the Middle East, countries that debate aggression against America must see that our nation's leadership is clear and concise about what actions we will take to secure our own interests. That includes America's belief in the value of freedom around the world and what we will do to support those that seek liberty against tyranny. If we are weak as a nation on our core values, we invite aggressors to attempt to force their values and their control over us. This is not acceptable to the long-term security of a free nation and the people of this country should not accept the precarious position in the world where the Barack Obama administration currently places us.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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