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President Obama Should Have Thanked President Bush for His Middle East Vision In His Libya Speech

Monday night President Obama took to the airwaves to rebut the criticism and confusion surrounding his decision to send U.S. troops to Libya.

It was an interesting speech, but a lame attempt to make the Libyan circumstances seem unique to his presidency.

Let me be clear: I supported the president's action in participating with the international coalition to stop the genocide of the Libyan people.

Just as I did with President Bush in the effort to stop another ruthless mad man Saddam Hussein.

President Obama's biggest challenge was to attempt to step up to the podium and somehow convince the American people of an idea that even his own Defense Secretary refused to go along with when given the chance to do so on Sunday. (On every network except Fox.)

Ironically it could historically be pointed out that the hunger for change that is stretching throughout the Middle East has been largely inspired by the former President Bush's action to liberate fifty-million people. Bush saw this day coming long before much of the rest of world leadership did. 

On Monday night, every time President Obama referred to the hope that is luring the Middle East and North Africa into these new eras, he could have (and perhaps should have) thanked President Bush for casting the vision that these people now sense: self determination, overthrow of dictators, and eventually free societies.

The president again repeated how American troops did not put "boots on the ground" somehow seeming to forget that 2,200 Marines have been, and the many CIA and intelligence forces that are scouting out the Quaddafi forces and strategies. Additionally after speaking with members of Marine servicemen another 2,000 Marines will be departing Norfolk, Virginia before the end of this week--deploying to--Libya.

President Obama also gave little comfort to his anti-war base, for he did not define the mission's objectives, nor give a timeline for the U.S. military's departure from the Libya action. His own defense secretary said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that "no one can know" how soon the U.S. Military would be returning home.

Refreshingly on Monday night President Obama discovered American "exceptionalism" and repeatedly spoke boldly of America's unique moral responsibility to stop aggression, particularly when the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims was the potential outcome.

Not surprisingly President Obama's attempt to distance Libyan intervention from similar activity taken in Iraq appeared petty, political, and completely disingenuous. He could have easily made Libyan action an extension of the vision of America to bring freedom to those who suffer, which the president obviously believed was important in Libya.

But were the hundreds of thousands found in mass graves in Iraq any less worthy?

Libyans in trouble didn't chant for NATO to come rescue them this last week. They pleaded for America to come. We did, and tonight hundreds of thousands live because we did.

This was noble, virtuous and good.

Oh that our president also truly understood just how good it is when America uses her greatness to liberate those who are oppressed.

Sadly, judging from Monday night's performance...

He still doesn't.

Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of "The Kevin McCullough Show" weekdays (7-9am EST) & "Baldwin/McCullough Radio" Saturdays (9-11pm EST) on 265 stations. His newest hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers, "No He Can't: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change" hits streets March 2011.