A War Gone Missing

I'm hoping someone can help me.  I left on vacation last week, and when I got back, an entire war was missing.  I've looked for it on all the major networks and cable outlets (excepting Fox News), as well as all the major newspapers.  Although I've found hints that it still exists somewhere, President Obama's Libyan War is officially missing in action.

The President actually set the stage for this vanishing act in his speech defending our involvement in Libya.  Trying desperately to find a way to distinguish his overseas military operation from the ones he had vociferously condemned as a candidate, the President explained that our role in Libya was pretty much done already: 

Our most effective alliance, NATO [...] has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and the no-fly zone [...] This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday.  Going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners.

So transparent was his attempted charade that even liberal comedian Jon Stewart couldn't pass up the opportunity to chide Obama's silliness, exclaiming on The Daily Show in trademark fashion that in essence we are NATO.  His frustration was echoed by other leftists like Brian Becker of the anti-war coalition ANSWER who explained, "That's a fraud.  When the U.S. hands the mission to NATO, it's handing the mission over to itself."  They're both right in the sense that from its inception, NATO has been a U.S.-led organization.

And even if parading underneath the NATO banner rather than the Stars and Stripes, it still largely remains American might, American forces, American bombs, American firepower, American resources, American tax dollars, and American resolve that is fueling action there.

So why the deception?  Because for Obama, far more delicate than even the decision to commit to military action in Libya in the first place is the potential for a drawn out affair.  His powers of persuasion will be useless in motivating his liberal base during the 2012 presidential election should the conflict linger.  The president was apparently so panicked about such a reality that he uncharacteristically telegraphed this unmistakable message to his allies in the American media: "I'm declaring that there's nothing to be seen in Libya, you make sure to ignore it and talk about other things."

And proving the sorry state of the once independent press, the media have willfully submitted to the president's template.  For the last couple weeks, as Americans have been bombarded with news stories about the budget debate, statues, museums, zoos, and even Bob Dylan concerts in China, the war rolls on.  And to be blunt, it isn't going well.

According to the boots on the ground (who aren't really on the ground, of course, because the president promised they wouldn't be), the Libyan conflict is headed for a deadlock.  Carter Ham, the American General who led the coalition air campaign has said not to expect the NATO supported rebels to be able to defeat Khadafy.  As the New York Daily News reported, "Asked at a Senate hearing about the chances that the rebels could reach Tripoli and oust Khadafy, Ham said, ‘I would assess that as a low likelihood.'  He said the situation was becoming a stalemate."

A stalemate?  If that doesn't convince you of the chronic incompetence currently plaguing the Oval Office, nothing will.  As Mark Steyn recently observed,

The Tunisians got rid of Ben Ali in nothing flat, Mubarak took a couple of weeks longer to hit the road, and an exciting new 'Islamic Emirate' has just been proclaimed in South Yemen. But, with his usual unerring instinct, Barack Obama has chosen to back the one Arab liberation movement who can't get rid of the local strongman even when you lend them every functioning NATO air force.

What is unfolding in Libya is simply this: perpetual American military engagement, excessive spending of taxpayer dollars, abject refusal to articulate a clear and pronounced objective, and the unnerving absence of any apparent exit strategy.  It seems like not that long ago we were hearing such a scenario described by the American media as a quagmire, weren't we?

In Iraq they trumpeted every death, every setback, every struggle as part of their ongoing effort to defeat President Bush.  But now, confronted with the perfect example of American presidential ineptitude, a flailing Commander-in-Chief leading a confused, bizarre military operation with no real purpose, they wag the dog.

And though flagrant media bias comes as no surprise, this sin of omission is particularly galling given the indignant drumbeat of negativity that defined their coverage of previous military conflicts.  It is the clearest example yet of how desperate the leftist media is to get President Obama re-elected.

Already committed to white-washing his glaring flip-flops on closing Guantanamo, military tribunals and renditions, spinning his miserable economic record, candy-coating his abysmal performance on job creation, they have now devoted themselves to wiping an entire war (or, as the administration prefers to call it, "kinetic military action") from the American conscience.  If he can't win with the unprecedented advantage of having the mainstream press ransoming their credibility for four more years, it will put an exclamation point on how out of his league Barack Obama truly is.

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana.  E-mail peter@peterheck.com, visit www.peterheck.com, or like him on Facebook.