(The following is a confidential, annotated first draft of the speech President Obama plans on giving to the nation Monday night about US involvement in Libya. It has reached The Huffington Post through an unauthorized disclosure, so this is in fact a Huffilik. Any similarity between this draft and the President's address is purely coincidental, lol, but one never knows).
My fellow Americans (Not sure this is the best way to start, sounds too much like LBJ and Vietnam, perhaps not the subliminal message I want),
Now that I am back from my very important visit to Brazil that just happened to coincide with Spring Break in the US, (too defensive, maybe?) I want to speak to you on a subject many of you have asked about over the last 10 days-namely, if the US is supporting the underdogs in their quest for democracy in the Middle East, why did I pick all four number 1 seeds to get to the NCAA Final Four? No, only kidding (not sure humor up front is the way to go here, though at least Kansas is still in it, even if my brackets are now shot to hell). Seriously, what I have been asked is -- what are our objectives in Libya, and why are we there? Or, as a Lebanese friend of mine said often happens to him when he travels abroad, he is often asked not "how long will you be staying", but rather, "when will you be leaving?"
Let me make one thing perfectly clear (sounds too much like Nixon and Watergate, need to channel Lincoln instead, try to work "Fourscore" into this somewhere). The US has two objectives in joining a broad international consensus, including the Arab League and the UN Security Council, and as requested by a desperate people (good, wrap it in the coalition of the willing, Part Deux, Part One was a success, and if there's one thing Americans like, it's going with a winner, though maybe not number 1 NCAA seeds. But I digress). Two objectives--first, to provide humanitarian assistance to prevent the continued slaughter of innocent Libyan civilians, and second, though this is not part of the UN mandate, to force Moammar Gaddafi, that madman, that tyrant, that bloodthirsty, ruthless tyrant (a tyrant we in the West had started doing business with again, letting bygones be bygones, but as Emily Litella used to say on SNL, "never mind") to relinquish power.
What is it you idiots in the Republican Party do not understand about these two very clear objectives (does this comment jeopardize bipartanship on the budget? Better modulate.) You keep saying you don't know what my objectives are. READ MY LIPS (hmmm, not sure I want George Bush pere to be used as my benchmark, since he didn't get rid of Saddam, it took Junior to do it, 13 years later). OK, here goes: READ MY LIPS: (1) prevent the Slaughter of the Innocents (a good Biblical reference, that ought to give the evangelicals pause), and (2) to rid the world of a ruthless tyrant (be specific, say Gaddafi, or else there could be confusion as to which one).
I am determined to help the oppressed people of Libya throw off the yoke of dictatorship (even though we don't actually know who it is we are helping and whether what they really want is to install an Islamic Republic modeled on Iran or just to take up khat smoking, like the Yemenis, who are rising up, through the smoke and haze, to throw off the yoke of an American ally and friend, incompetent though he seems to be. We're not so keen about that one, to be perfectly honest, which I always am, because I aspire to be remembered as a Lincolnesque President, except for his ending, of course, plus I don't wear hats. Better to keep the focus on Libya and not on Yemen.)
And let us not forget, US intervention in Libya comes second nature to us. Who among us can forget the immortal lyrics of the US Marines: "from the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country's battles, on air, on land and sea"? (Good military reference, except for the "on land" part, which is not on message. Also, the Thomas Jefferson-led US invasion of Libya of 1802 didn't end so well, so maybe deep six this reference.)
I am pleased to see that my position on Libya is the same as Newt Gingrich's. Of course, you might be inclined to ask, "which of his positions, the one favoring, or the one opposed to, intervention"? To which I say, he is a man after my own heart, since I was rather ambivalent myself a few weeks ago. What is important is not to rush to judgment, or a decision, but rather to build a coalition, which we've done a rather good job of, if I do say so myself (and since no one else seems to be saying it). Sure, it's true that had we waited another 24 hours, Gaddafi would have overrun Benghazi and the rest of eastern Libya, but our firepower arrived just in the nick of time, just like the cavalry in those great US westerns starring John Wayne and Ronald Reagan (have to get Reagan in this somewhere, even though cavalry is troops again).
So, my fellow Americans (on second thought, worth the risk to say this, or else half of America will still think I'm Kenyan), let me say that as I stand here tonight, the tide has been turned, we have already handed over the lion's share of enforcing the no-fly zone to the French and NATO (de Gaulle must be turning over in his grave on that one), we have not lost a single US service person to date (but don't, don't under ANY circumstances say "Mission Accomplished" if it works out, don't even think about it). The rebels have retaken Ajdabiya and Brega and are on their way to Ras Lanuf (places which you've never heard of, can't spell and couldn't find on a map if your lives depended on it, but still, a win's a win). For those of you worrying about the costs, in the hundreds of millions of Dollars, I can assure you we will continue our ongoing discussions with the Republicans to find mutually acceptable cuts elsewhere in the budget to pay for this (fat chance, in reality it should get lost in the rounding of a $1.6 trillion deficit this year, and besides, the Chinese are financing it by buying our bonds--how ironic!). And for those of you who would like to know what our exit strategy is, let me remind you, that depends upon what the definition of "exit" is (would prefer a more uplifting Clinton reference). Or rather, I would say, there is nothing to exit, since we haven't "entered" this conflict, we have remained 10,000 feet above it and have turned over the lion's share to NATO lickety-split. (Wish health care were so easy.)
In closing, let me just emphasize--jobs, jobs, jobs. That has nothing to do with Libya, of course, but I have vowed to keep a laser-light focus on the economy, given our disastrous showing in the last election. And for my detractors on the Right as well as on the Left, I simply have this to say about your criticisms of my deliberative approach to the Libyan crisis: (up your nose with a rubber hose, that's what I want to say!! Get a life!) while you are criticizing, we are opening the way for an unprecedented promotion of democracy and the virtues of freedom and liberty in the Mideast. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "the world may little note nor long remember what I say here (Amen). But it will long remember what we did there." (OK, end on Lincoln, better than Bush Jr--now, where is my REAL speech? Guys? GUYS?)
Good night, and God Bless America.