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A war Obama did not want

world Updated: Mar 22, 2011 23:39 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Barack Obama didn't want the Libyan war, but got pushed to it by enthusiasts in his administration, in his party and in the Republican Party. The same war, which the US is now leading, has put him in a spot of another kind.

Fellow democrat representative Dennis Kucinich has publicly said Obama has committed an "impeachable" offense by not seeking the Congress's permission to launch the war against Libya.

Republican senator Dick Lugar has criticized the administration for not clearly starting the objective of the war - regime change or enforcement of the UN Security Council resolution. And then, he is being criticized for being away from the country while his military launches a war - he is on a tour of South America. He announced the commencement of action against Libya in Brazil.

The administration is fighting back. It said the Congress was indeed informed in a letter written by Obama to speaker John Boehner and the Senate leader on March 21 of the commencement of operations against Libya.

Obama himself explained the objective of the operation at a news conference in Santiago, the capital of Chile, on Monday saying the US objectives were two fold - militarily enforce UN Security Council sanctions, and second, regime change.

Gaddafi has been a difficult issue from the start for Obama. He was seen to have got off late, though he did make up for it - and never misses an opportunity to say so - by imposing sanctions against the Gaddafi regime before the UN.

But he had reasons: Obama didn't want another war against a Muslim country; Afghanistan and Iraq being the other two. From the beginning he pressed for a shared response from the international community.

The military action is being led by the US now, with its commanders stating at every opportunity that the leadership would transfer to the coalition command structure in a few days or whenever it takes shape.

But "Mission creep" is a phrase heard frequently in the US now - especially in its defence headquarters, the Pentagon. It means the war creeping up on the country to suck it in, despite it best intentions.