General Gaddafi’s death is yet another victory for the new war doctrine adopted by United States President Barack Obama: No ground forces in enemy countries, but rather, utilizing massive air power - including drones - in order to pulverize enemy strongholds. In Libya’s case at least, this doctrine also included cooperation with local rebel forces.
President Obama sustained harsh criticism for this approach. The Republicans wanted “boots on the ground”; they wanted the American superpower to march towards the forces of evil using armored forces and tanks. The critics disparaged the president for displaying “weakness and softness” and turned him into a joke for preferring to take a backseat in the Libya campaign and allowing NATO forces to take the lead.
On Thursday, after flashing a smile following the news of Gaddafi’s death, Obama enjoyed a moment of satisfaction when even his political rival, Republican Senator John McCain, congratulated him on the occasion of Gaddafi’s departure and openly said that the president deserves credit.
When Obama took up his post he promised the US and the world that he will work towards eliminating tyranny and bringing down dictatorships that trample liberty and human rights. When the masses in Tahrir Square called for Mubarak’s ouster, Obama did not stand by idly: He used simple language to declare that the time has come for the Egyptian president to go and gave him the last push on the way out.
More successful than BushIn the last six months, President Obama recorded several victories for his war doctrine: Osama Bin Laden was eliminated in Pakistan and Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in an American airstrike in Yemen. While Muammar Gaddafi was indeed killed by Libya’s rebels, it only happened after US and NATO forces pulverized his resistance and destroyed his forces.
Obama decided to eliminate global evil while espousing the perception that a US president must speak softly but carry a big stick. The assassinations undertaken on his orders in Pakistan and Afghanistan minimized al-Qaeda’s operational force. Based on intelligence reports, more terrorists were killed by remote control during Obama’s three years in office than during George W. Bush’s eight-year tenure.
Obama completed the war in Libya with a grand victory: Not even one American soldier was killed, wounded or captured. However, the president knows that the Mideastern mission had not been accomplished yet: Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to butcher innocent civilians while the Iranian president continues to imprison dissidents and execute them based on false pretenses.
Yet at this point already, with the regimes in Damascus and Tehran still in place, Obama can be satisfied that he acted in line with his worldview. The first phase was completed successfully. Now all that remains is to hope that the ousted tyrants’ successors will indeed be better.
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