The politics of saying yes when you should say no

Ph.D. | 3/23/2011, 5 p.m.

I was, am and will continue to be a great supporter of President Barack Obama. That support comes from his stature as the first African American president and what that means to African descendants, and other people of color, all over the world.

It also comes from his style, grace, eloquence and record of accomplishment during 2008-2011. He has definitely made some major steps forward for both the United States of America in general and the Black American population in particular (please see Our Weekly, January 2011). He has promoted, advocated and signed significant legislation that will continue to benefit this country for years into the future.

But on the issue of the invasion of Libya, I have to stand and say, with all due respect, Mr. President, you are wrong. Not only did you make a very bad decision in this case, but to this point, it is the worse of your presidency. You were very ill-served by your principal advisors on this one, and this may be your Waterloo.

On what do I base this strong position? First, there is very little that the U.S. can gain by its involvement in this military exercise. Not only do we expend more money on another armed adventure, when money spent by this government is clearly a loud public issue, but we gain neither oil nor political leverage (a little more than 2 percent of America's oil comes from Libya) from the involvement.

In fact, we lose many more friends in the region, and you will be compared with Bush's recklessness and military gun-slinging.

Our president, as the Nobel Peace Prize winner, should now be expecting any day now a call from the Nobel Committee (remember Reggie Bush?) to return its award, and the insulting-our-intelligence reasons given for the invasion sound exactly like the lame prevarications used by others in getting America to invade Iraq.

From "We must take out his (Saddam's) weapons of mass destruction" to "We must protect civilians from harm by Gaddafi's forces," is but one short step sideways.

To save civilians, the U.S.-led invasion must kill a few hundred more civilians, right? And that's already started. This American involvement has nothing to do with saving civilians, and for a president to lie to both his supporters and enemies is not a good sign.

Many, if not most, of those civilians are armed. Even the television pictures of them have shown pistols, RPGs and AK-47s that they wave to the cameras. If we remember correctly, they brought down a Libyan jet fighter by themselves before the U.N. and NATO forces arrived, and one can't do that with bows and arrows or rocks.

This is not about Libya's high literacy rate, its free public education, its cosmopolitan-looking cities, its low infant-mortality rate, its high life expectancy (77.8 years), its allowance of Muslim women to be educated and have full-time employment, or its high standard of living (one of the top three on the continent) brought on during Gaddafi's tenure. That's actually irrelevant, as is the fact that the uprising in Libya was not over lack of food, housing, fuel or free healthcare.