Where’s the Timetable?
By John D. Turner
22 Mar 2011

Way back in the dawn of time, 2005 to be exact, we learned the latest in war fighting strategy from Democrats in Congress. Yes, those paragons of military strategy informed us, in order to win a war, you have to have a timetable.

In fact, the Democrats intoned, you need more than that. You need a plan, so you know what you are doing, you need an exit strategy so you know when you are done and ready to leave, and you need a timetable to base everything on, or else how will you (and presumably the enemy) know how far along you are in your plan and if it is time to go?

These things, we were instructed by no less than John Kerry (three Purple Hearts, remember?), were vital to a warfighting strategy; items that then President Bush had neglected with regard to his war in Iraq. Just goes to show you what a boob he was. No wonder we were still stuck there!

Of course now that we have an enlightened Democrat in the White House, and two years of a Democrat controlled House and Senate – we are still in Iraq. And Afghanistan. And Gitmo, and everywhere else for that matter, but don’t mind that now because now we are somewhere else too! Now we are in Libya, protecting unnamed rebels and civilians from the deprecations of that madman Moammar Gaddafi.

This time it’s not about oil, or WMD, or someone trying to kill your dad, no, this time we are the good guys. And we have the moral high ground this time; as MSNBC Analyst Jonathan Alter said, “This is the hand he’s been dealt by history, he’s a reluctant warrior, it’s not as if he’s converted to being a cowboy so people recognize the difference between him and former president Bush.”

Wow. Take that Bush! Guess he done told you, huh? Note to Texans: MSNBC Analyst Jonathan Alter has a low opinion of you. All you are all pretty much Cowboys as far as he is concerned (except perhaps for some “enlightened” people in Austin). But don’t worry about it; hardly anyone watches him anyhow.

I’m not exactly sure why we are there, once again without a declaration of war, which our current president and current vice-president have said in the past, is unconstitutional, but nevertheless, there we are.

So, now that we are involved in a shooting war (or police action, or “no-fly zone” or whatever you want to call it) in Libya, one has to ask, “Where’s the timetable?”

While we are at it, where’s the exit strategy? I haven’t heard one articulated as of yet. In fact, where’s the plan? Haven’t heard one of those either.

Perhaps, when the President returns home from his vacation in Rio…

You know, this is the first time I can recall where a President of the United States has sent combat forces into harm’s way while on vacation. And not only that, but stayed on vacation while the shooting was going on. The President says that this is all much ado about nothing; he did all the heavy lifting on this before he left.

“With respect to initiating this action while I was abroad,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question in Santiago, “Keep in mind that we were working on very short timeframes, and we had done all the work, and it was just a matter of seeing how Gaddafi would react to the warning that I issued on Friday.”

“He, despite words to the contrary, was continuing to act aggressively towards his civilians. After a consultation with our allies, we decided to move forward,” Obama continued. “And, it was a matter of me directing Secretary of Defense [Robert] Gates and [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman] Admiral [Mike] Mullen that the plan — that had been developed in great detail, extensively, prior to my departure — was put into place.”

So he put the wheels into motion to kick off a military action then left for a vacation? “Hey dudes, it’s cool. No really, just make sure that you clean things up a bit, oh yes, and don’t forget to pick up my laundry, walk the dog, and shoot a few score Tomahawk missiles at Gaddafi before I get back.” Really?

That’s just what you want from your commander in chief when you are laying your life on the line; a sense of commitment. One gets the idea that he was more interested in his March Madness basketball brackets than he was the Sailors and Airmen he was sending into harm’s way.

So how are those picks coming along anyway? We the people have a right to know, since he was doing it on our dime and all.

I guess in this case, it really doesn’t matter if we have a plan, timetable, or exit strategy; it’s only Libya after all. And what would the President have to say or do on the subject anyway? He hasn’t said much since the Middle East and North Africa started turning into a free-fire zone in the first place. And he certainly isn’t qualified to run a military campaign, commander in chief or not.

You know, maybe we don’t really need a plan, or a timetable or an exit strategy. It’s not like we are sending in ground troops; it’s just a no-fly zone. The last time we did this, in Iraq as I recall back in 1991, we only did it for 12 years or thereabouts, so how bad can it be anyway? Besides, the Secretary of Defense is assuring us that the intensity of the military campaign will ease soon.

So why are we hearing this from the Secretary of Defense, in a press conference, instead of from the President? Oh yes, that’s right, the President is still on vacation. In fact, he has been practicing his dance moves. And he's been approving an oil drilling lease in the Gulf of Mexico – first one since the big oil spill last year. Not for an American company, mind you. No, this lease is for Petrobras to drill for oil off our coast. Petrobras is a Brazilian company. I guess that was his gift to Brazil for hosting his vacation. Much nicer than that collection of DVDs he gave the British Prime Minister, don’t you think?

In general, I think the idea of fighting a war (or battle, or “police action” or what-have-you) using a timetable is a silly idea. In fact, I have said so in the past. So why am I so exercised about it? I would just like to see some consistency. If you were going to criticize George Bush for not having a timetable, should Barack Obama be exempt? And if so, why?

Looking for consistency from the left is a little like looking for an outbreak of love and compassion for Israel from the Muslim Brotherhood, or sanity from Moammar Gaddafi. About the only thing consistent that I ever see from the Democrats (and the MSM for that matter) is a consistent state of inconsistency.

The insistence on a timetable for President Bush and the absolute lack of a call for one for President Obama is just the latest example.