Moammar Ghadafi

Rand Paul Takes a Dig at John McCain During Speech at Reagan Library

Rand Paul at Ronald Reagan Library

On Friday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) delivered a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library where he called for a more inclusive Republican Party, praised the Gipper, and slammed the policies of President Barack Obama and the recent scandals that have plagued his administration. The speech has also been labeled as a potential presidential platform for Paul in 2016.

After his speech, Paul took some questions from audience members. One question in particular sticks out due to the current events in Syria. He was asked his thoughts on what the top priority should be foreign affairs. He explained that the “top priority for the country — constitutionally, historically, and appropriately — is defense of the country.”

“That being said, Reagan’s motto was ‘peace through strength’; it wasn’t ‘war through strength.’ There are some, sometimes in our party, who mistake war for defense,” Paul continued. “And if you don’t believe in eternal and perpetual war doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in a strong national defense — and this is an important distinction.”

Paul went onto explain that American foreign policy has been inconsistent in this region of the world, using Moammar Ghadafi, the Libyan dictator who was deposed in 2011, as an example. “There’s some in our party who wanted to give arms to Ghadafi, and then a year later wanted to give money to rebels to overturn Ghadafi,” he said. “There’s a certain inconsistency.”

United States conducts airstrikes in Somalia

The Washington Post reported late last night that the United States had launched airstrikes targeting militants in Mogadishu, Somalia:

A U.S. drone aircraft fired on two leaders of a militant Somali organization tied to al-Qaeda, apparently wounding them, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation said Wednesday.

The strike last week against senior members of al-Shabab comes amid growing concern within the U.S. government that some leaders of the Islamist group are collaborating more closely with al-Qaeda to strike targets beyond Somalia, the military official said.

The airstrike makes Somalia at least the sixth country where the United States is using drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. And it comes as the CIA is expected to begin flying armed drones over Yemen in its hunt for al-Qaeda operatives.

The uneven application of force

The United States of America is supposed to be a beacon of freedom.  As such, foreign policy debate often serves as a platform regarding the use of force, supposedly to make another nation free.  Such was the thought processes many used to justify going into Iraq.  The same is true of activity in Libya.  However, why are we so generally uneven with our use of force?

Prior to going into Iraq, I heard a number of people say that we must remove Saddam from power, that he was a threat and therefore the loss of American lives was justified.  So, understanding that this nation must defend itself, I asked why are we not looking at North Korea?  After all, Kim Jung Il has nuclear weapons and isn’t exactly what one would call “mentally stable”.  That’s far worse than the chemical weapons Saddam allegedly had (and, for the record, I believed they were there too).  I was told that fighting North Korea would be to costly in terms of causalities.  Really?  So causalities is justified for one instance but not another?  Interesting.

Fast forward to today.  Syria and Libya are both in the midst of revolution.  Libya’s started as a peaceful movement, like so many throughout the Middle East this year…including Syria.  It turned violent, and the United States began flying missions in support of the new revolutionaries.  Meanwhile, in Syria, the violence from the government has escalated with no mention of military intervention.  It’s not like we don’t already have assets in the region.

Troops headed to Libya and Biden’s call for impeachment

Remember that time President Barack Obama promised Americans, weary from costly, long wars in Iraq and Aghanistan, that there would be “no boots on the ground” in Libya. Reports indicate that 2,200 Marines are headed there:

About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or 26th MEU will take part. Their mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people.

“In Libya right now they are doing exactly what we need them to do. They are doing what they are told and right now that’s protecting Libyan people against Qadhafi forces,” said Captain Timothy Patrick, a Marine with the 26th MEU.

This comes as The Hill reports that Libyan dictator Moammar Ghadafi’s troops are showing no signs of letting up despite the enforcement of the UN-sanctioned “no-fly zone.” Of course, those that seek to serve as apologists for the Obama Administration would have us labeled as puppy-kicking anti-interventionists, or a Glenn Greenwald notes while taking John Judis to task, we’re “guilty of indifference to the plight of the rebels and to Gadaffi’s tyranny.”

When is enough actually enough

So.  We find ourselves smack dab in the middle of yet another war.  Damn, we’re good at that, aren’t we?  This time, we’re doing it at the behest of the United Nations, which is operating under a new principle called “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) that the UN is using to justify involvement in Libya.  It sounds great and very humanitarian and all that, but at what point does it get to be to much?

Bruce McQuain at Hot Air, asks:

Do we intervene in Sudan or the Congo?  Ivory Coast?  And if not, why not?  None of them, like Libya, put our core national interests at stake.  But all certainly fit the new R2P principle.  How about Bahrain and Yemen?  Nepal?

Instead, what we see here is precisely what the left has decried for years – the US along with others who can afford it and are willing to do it –agreeing to police the world.  However, in this case, it would be at the behest of the UN.  We are agreeing that the UN can determine when and where we commit our military forces simply by invoking this principle.  Invoke R2P and, by our precedent in Libya, we agree to respond.

This is far and away different than case by case agreements among member nations to intervene with peace keeping troops in troubled areas around the world.  This is a “principle” that Moon says is a “new international security and human rights norm” apparently is interpreted as a “right” to intervene with military force.

Funny – I don’t remember us agreeing to this “new norm”, do you?  Did we negotiate and sign a treaty saying all of this?  Or did we just hand over our power to make sovereign decisions concerning the use of our military to a world body?

The case against intervention in Libya

While the anti-war movement is largely missing in action - comparatively speaking to protest against the Iraq War, as David Boaz notes - when it comes to President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya, there are voices on the right that are making their opposition well-known.

Over at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney presents the case that many conservatives and libertarians are making against intervention:

Setting aside the wisdom of the intervention, Obama’s entry into Libya’s civil war is troubling on at least five counts. First is the legal and constitutional question. Second is the manner of Obama’s announcement. Third is the complete disregard for public opinion and lack of debate. Fourth is the unclear role the United States will play in this coalition. Fifth is the lack of a clear endgame. Compounding all these problems is the lack of trust created by Obama’s record of deception.
There is no claim that Moammar Gadhafi poses a threat to the United States. But asking President Obama to explain his change of heart would be a fruitless exercise. This is a president who has repeatedly shredded the clear meaning of words in order to deny breaking promises he has clearly broken — consider his continued blatant falsehoods on tax increases and his hiring of lobbyists.

George Will: No intervention in Libya

While many neoconservatives are pratically begging for us to intervene in Libya, George Will once again presents himself as the voice of reason:

[S]ome Washington voices are calling for U.S. force to be applied, somehow, on behalf of the people trying to overthrow Moammar Gaddafi. Some interventionists are Republicans, whose skepticism about government’s abilities to achieve intended effects ends at the water’s edge. All interventionists should answer some questions:

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Tuesday, February 22nd

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.