More than a week after Operation Odyssey Dawn was commenced on March 19th, Obama gave his long-awaited presidential address to the nation. His half hour speech, delivered on Monday 28th March, at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, set out the objectives of the US mission in Libya, and immediately rekindled debate about “the Obama doctrine” on foreign policy.
Democrat congressman Dennis Kucinich, a steadfast and vocal opponent against the wars of the Bush regime, has also been highly critical of the escalating cost of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq since Obama took office (see video below of his recent address to the House of Representatives).
And following Obama’s address on Monday, Kucinich told Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, that he believes the current military intervention in Libya is unconstitutional. Responding to O’Donnell’s opening question about whether or not he’d heard anything in Obama’s speech to change his mind, Kucinich simply replied: “I heard an Obama Doctrine which is: war is an executive privilege.”
Michael D. Shear, chief writer for The Caucus, the political blog of the New York Times, also picks through Obama’s speech and finds “Echoes of Bush in Obama’s Libya Speech”:
BUSH: “Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it.”
OBAMA: “For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and as an advocate for human freedom. Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.”
BUSH: “America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.”
OBAMA: “The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change. Only the people of the region can do that. But we can make a difference.”
BUSH: “We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.”
OBAMA: “We must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: our opposition to violence directed at one’s own people; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.
BUSH: “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”
OBAMA: “Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.”
BUSH: “America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home – the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.”
OBAMA: “Our strength abroad is anchored in our strength here at home. That must always be our North Star — the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring for our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear.”
BUSH: “We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”
OBAMA: “For generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer, our own future is brighter, if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity.”