Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
says the only rational action President Barack Obama can take in Libya –“because of his own words” – is to get rid of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and the administration should stop talking about preserving the Libyan nation, because none exists – only a collection of tribes.
Gingrich said Tuesday on Fox News he wants Congress to study whether 10 years after 9/11, America is in worse strategic shape and has more enemies bent on its destruction.
Gingrich, who is considering a potential 2012 presidential run, also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity there is no “Obama Doctrine” in dealing with Libya, but a “series of Obama excuses.”
“First of all there is no international community that has any authority. So the idea that the president of the United States isn’t responsible to Congress and the American people, but is responsible to some vague organization – called the ‘international community’ – is profoundly wrong,” Gingrich said.
“Second: Gadhafi never had legitimacy, Gadhafi is a dictator – he’s been a dictator since 1969. This idea that dictators lose legitimacy … we ought to understand that dictators don’t have legitimacy – they may have power, but they don’t have legitimacy,” he continued. “Third: if humanitarian is the standard … then Sudan’s destruction in Darfur has to rank as one of the great disasters; there are several places in West Africa that are disasters.”
Gingrich told Hannity that Obama is going to have to answer for his actions, because “his current policy is so incoherent, and so confused, that it is literally indefensible.”
“Prior to March 3rd, the United States should have taken a quiet, careful, indirect route that would have gotten rid of Gadhafi, but without using American force and without using overt American action,” Gingrich said. “After March 3rd, when President Obama himself said – and this is his own words – ‘Gadhafi must go’ … the only rational purpose the United States could engage right now – because of the president’s own words – is to get rid of Gadhafi and replace his government.”
Gingrich said there is no logic to talking about protecting the Libyan nation, because “there is no Libyan nation, there’s a collection of tribes.”
“It is a society that is pre-national in its organizational structure, and we ought to be much more realistic about what we are dealing with,” he said.
Gingrich questioned who was running the Libyan intervention, and said if the United States is going to be in a coalition battling Gadhafi, that alliance should have one leadership.
“The very fact that from day one, the French have been doing one set of things, and we’ve been doing something fundamentally different, should trouble every American – it violates everything that we learned after World War I about how to have an effective coalition,” Gingrich said. “And we spent a long time building a great capability in coalition warfare, and we’re now throwing it away and allowing that whole capability to collapse, by letting each country run off and do whatever it wants to.
“This is as badly executed as any policy, I think, we’ve seen since World War II, and we’ve become a case study about how not to engage in this kind of activity,” he said.
Hannity quoted from several media outlets, including a Time Magazine article, which stressed the administration must be aware the Libyan no-fly zone might have opened the door to al-Qaida, and jihadists might take advantage of a resulting power vacuum. He asked Gingrich whether there is the chance the Obama administration didn’t realize the Libyan action might help Islamists seeking American obliteration.
“I think it is very likely that they didn’t know – and they didn’t think through – who they were helping,” Gingrich said, noting the White House has not been very professional, nor sophisticated, in not just dealing with Libya, but in the broader security spectrum.
“I think you really need a much larger strategic view, than we have right now,” he said. “Whether you are talking about Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran – we need a much deeper and much more serious view than we’ve had.
“I’m in the process of asking Congress – both the House and the Senate – to really organize a unique working group to look at, 10 years after 9/11, whether we are in worse shape, in deeper trouble, with more enemies, than we had 10 years ago.”
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