ThinkProgress filed this report from Jerusalem.
Now that Muammar Qaddafi’s regime is near its end, Republicans are still looking for some hook to attack President Obama. GOP presidential candidates have said the president doesn’t deserve any credit for what looks like the Libyan leader’s fall. However, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) admitted that Obama actually “deserves some credit.” Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who is always looking to criticize the President, is firmly in the former camp.
ThinkProgress caught up with West in Jerusalem yesterday and asked him if he thinks President Obama should be credited for his strategy on Libya. “No, I don’t this so,” West said, adding that he’s been against the intervention “because once again it was a violation of the War Powers Act of 1973.” But West later said that he thinks Qaddafi no longer leading Libya is a good thing:
WEST: No I don’t because once again it was a violation of the War Powers Act of 1973 and who knows what’s going to happen you know — who will fulfill that void?
TP: So you think the intervention was wrong to begin with?
WEST: Well yeah, the intervention was wrong to begin with. You read the war powers act it says in case of national emergency and attacks on our territories, lands, possessions or our armed forces so I think that that was a stretch to commit us there. [...]
TP: Do you think it would be good for Qaddafi to leave, that he’s gone?
WEST: Oh there’s no doubt about Qaddafi being gone is good but who’s going to replace him?
Watch the interview:
West’s main case is that he’s upset that Obama apparently didn’t follow proper protocol when asking Congress to approve support for the NATO mission in Libya. But beyond that, West thought the whole enterprise would fail anyway. “I don’t care what anyone says, you can’t win a war from 30,000 feet,” he said last March. And here’s what Obama really should have done:
“I don’t know why we’re shooting $567,000-a-piece Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libya. You know, back two and three weeks ago we could have taken care of this situation. If we had done the exact same thing that Ronald Reagan did back in the early ’80s to Muammar Qaddafi, when he dropped a bomb in his back yard, Moammar Gadhafi didn’t say a word for the next 30 years. That’s the only way! That’s the only way to get Muammar Qaddafi’s attention.”
So apparently dropping a bomb on Qaddafi’s back yard would’ve done the trick, never mind getting congressional approval for that one.
As far as giving Obama and his administration credit if and when Qaddafi eventually falls, it’s worth noting that it was the U.S. diplomatic team led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice that got the Russians and Chinese to tacitly allow a U.N. resolution authorizing force against Qaddafi’s regime in the first place. And despite the wise cracks and mockery from the right on Obama’s leadership strategy on Libya, it appears to have produced a solid result.