President Obama is a dispassionate guy, a man who likes to analyze problems without emotion. He also likes to take his time while making important decisions. To some, this is an effective way to govern. To others, it is dithering. But one thing is certainly true: Being indecisive while people die is no virtue.
A couple of weeks ago, Libyan tyrant and terrorist Moammar Gadhafi seemed to be on the ropes. Rebels were advancing on the capital city of Tripoli, and it looked like Gadhafi would join Hosni Mubarak in the house-arrest zone. Those of us who believe Gadhafi is responsible for killing the 189 Americans who were aboard a Pan Am flight when it was blown out of the sky by a bomb on December 21,1988, were clamoring for a terrorism trial.
Realizing there was nowhere to hide, Gadhafi stood and fought. His largely African mercenary corps and hardened Arab military fanatics, all well paid by the dictator, have now regained momentum in the battle. Air power has made it difficult for the rebels to advance. There are few trees in Libya, and the vast open spaces make bombing easy.
Thus, there was an early call for a no-fly zone like the one imposed on Saddam Hussein in Iraq. NATO forces could easily destroy Gadhafi's air power, allowing the rebels a fighting chance to defeat the dictator. The Arab League even endorsed a no-fly strategy, giving Obama cover should he lead the effort. But no such leadership has emerged.
On March 15, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney faced CBS News correspondent Chip Reid:
Reid: On the no-fly zone, what is the administration's position before the (UN) Security Council?
Carney: Our position remains that we are evaluating a number of options, military options...
Reid: But a decision has to be made now.
Carney: We feel that it is important that any action like that that might be taken should be done in concert with our international partners.
In other words, we are going to fiddle while the greatest procrastinating organization in history, the United Nations, screws around. Meantime, the anti-Gadhafi forces are losing.
The central question is about leadership. What kind of leader does Obama want to be? At this point, it seems he wants to be the "talk not action" guy. When anti-government riots broke out in Iran, the president issued a statement saying the U.S. would not interfere in Iranian affairs. When American generals requested more troops in Afghanistan, the president took months to decide. And now he continues to "deliberate" about Libya while Gadhafi destroys his opposition.
Again, some believe this kind of cautious calculation serves America well. But if we are indeed a nation that values freedom and fights against worldwide terror, why are we not making life hard for Gadhafi?
I hope the president deliberates on that question forthwith.
Contact O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor," at www.billoreilly.com.