If Obama was just going to be Bush, anyway…

While I can’t find the links, I do seem to recall that a few times during the Bush years, Glenn Reynolds waxed philosophical over at Instapundit, wondering if it would take the Democrats winning elections — and thus taking control of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — in order for them to finally get behind them.

I’m remembering that now, because it seems that the Obama Administration’s stated mission for Libya is one of regime change and the establishment of system of governance.

Which sounds so very much like the stated mission of the Bush regime — the mission that the Democrats and the press pushed, and pushed and pushed against, non-stop, for six long years.

It seems, after all, that helping to establish democratic governments in the Middle East might be in America’s best interests, and in the bests interests of human liberty for the rest of the world.

Helping people to claim liberty for themselves, it seems, is a good thing. Who knew?

I guess what I’m wondering is, how much further along would the Iraq government’s stabilization be — how much further along would the quest for democratic governance be, in the Middle East (and how much less reluctant would tyrants be to try to stop it by killing their own people), if only the Democrats hadn’t wasted 6 years politicizing our efforts and another two years bowing and scraping and restarting and gasbagging and doing everything they could to say, “we’re not Bush,” only to become all they said they hated?

In the end, all the politics, all the fury and drama and rhetoric delayed an inevitable desire and movement toward liberty, and perhaps costs lives.

In an era of record-breaking government spending and clear wastefulness, perhaps the past 8 years of politically-expedient dissent has been costliest waste of all.

I won’t even get into the profound media and pundit silence on issues formerly fraught with headline-grabbing fierce moral urgency. It’s just a given, at this point.

UPDATE:
James Taranto has more

A study in contrasts – I think we’ll be seeing a lot of these. I’m struck how Bush took months and months to “rush to war” while Obama seems have decided to take on Libya between writing his brackets and packing his travel bags, and yet Bush was the impulsive “cowboy” and Obama … sigh, oh, what’s the point…passive aggressive?

Instalanch!: Thanks, Glenn!

Related:
World Leaders fight not to take the lead.
It’s not the Onion.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Lisa

    The silence from the Catholic left is deafening… crickets chirping…

  • Mandy P.

    Thank you!!!

  • pianogirl88

    Two years ago, I had lunch with a Marine friend who has been in Iraq and is heading to Afghanistan very soon. I asked how much better things might have gone in those two countries had not the media and members of congress taken every opportunity to bash Bush and pronounce the war lost, or going very poorly. He told me that every time something like that happened, it emboldened the insurgents and those who did not want to see democracy spread to the Middle East, and it cost American lives and lengthened the time we were there.

  • Bender

    **in order for them to finally get behind them.
    I’m remembering that now, because it seems that the Obama Administration’s stated mission for Libya is . . . **
    ____________

    I don’t know that we can go so far as to say that they are “behind them.” All appearances from Obama are that his is a half-hearted, half-assed approach. His stated mission for Libya is we’re going to do some things BUT DON’T WORRY YOU BAD GUYS, we’re going to limit ourselves, we’ll go only this far, and not any farther. As a result, whereas Khaddafi’s response to Reagan and George W. was to pee his pants, he is laughing at Obama.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Obama has become Bush lite. Actually Bush without the conviction. Do you think the left will initiate impeechment proceedings? Ha, I bet not.

  • sigh

    Their carping was never really about Iraq or anywhere else, and honestly – they don’t care. It was a tool to gain votes and bash their opposition. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I’ve been saying this for nearly 10 years, and I’m not surprised one bit by what they’re doing now.

    Next time they start spouting the same nonsense their opponents will waste no time rubbing their noses in it.

  • jeanie

    I agree with Bender. Sure, Bush started a war in Iraq and Obama started something in Libya but that’s where the comparison ends. Bush spent a year talking about going to war with Iraq, Obama made the decision between golf and his serious work with the brackets. I don’t like to hear all this talk about how Obama is doing the same thing that Bush did because I can guarantee that he is NOT. Obama is not a principled man, nor a compassionate man. He cares nothing for Libya. Bush wanted freedom for the Iraqis and he wanted the entire Middle East to see that it is possible to have a democratic government in an Islamic country. And look at the Middle East today–rebellions all over the place. W ould that have happened without Iraq?

    Bush had important ideas. Obama has whims.

  • Llarry

    This is why anyone who supports our troops can never vote for a Democrat for national office. After Ted Kennedy died, the Spanish ambassador to the U.S. revealed that Kennedy had asked him to thank President Aznar for Spanish support in the Iraq war.

    http://tinyurl.com/msnyna

    Publicy Kennedy trashed Bush and accused him of lying us into war, while behind the scenes Kennedy was encouraging countries to support the war. You can’t more despicable than that.

  • Llarry

    This is why anyone who supports our troops can never vote for a Democrat for national office. After Ted Kennedy died, the Spanish ambassador to the U.S. revealed that Kennedy had asked him to thank President Aznar for Spanish support in the Iraq war.

    http://tinyurl.com/msnyna

    Publicy Kennedy trashed Bush and accused him of lying us into war, while behind the scenes Kennedy was encouraging countries to support the war. You can’t more despicable than that.

  • Michaelsweeney

    When you put the fortunes of your party above those of the country, everything becomes clear. Politicians in general, and the Left in particular, have a hard time deciding who matters most– their supporters and their careers or the country.

    That’s why our founding fathers favored limited government. Politicians aren’t saints. Hell, politicians don’t even have the moral backbone of most business men. Name one politician who gave away the bulk of his personal fortune the way Bill Gates did.

  • Michaelsweeney

    When you put the fortunes of your party above those of the country, everything becomes clear. Politicians in general, and the Left in particular, have a hard time deciding who matters most– their supporters and their careers or the country.

    That’s why our founding fathers favored limited government. Politicians aren’t saints. Hell, politicians don’t even have the moral backbone of most business men. Name one politician who gave away the bulk of his personal fortune the way Bill Gates did.

  • Anonymous

    Bush? Bush got congressional approval. And by the same Democrats who then called him a cowboy and said he rushed to war.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve given up discussing politics with liberals. It isn’t a mature political philosophy…they live on a different planet. Reason doesn’t apply.

    Which is why I think this country, as we know it, is screwed. As the saying goes, liberals should be careful of what they wish for, as they may get it.

  • Anonymous

    (and how much less reluctant would tyrants be to try to stop it by killing their own people)

    Do you mean “more reluctant” or perhaps “less likely”?

  • http://www.ilike.com/artist/Ritchie+the+Riveter Ritchie The Riveter

    This has the makings of Bosnia 2.0 … a long, drawn-out affair with a steady drip-drip-drip of death, because Progressive conventional wisdom forbids decisive action to establish and maintain the ESSENTIAL element for sustainable peace — rights-respecting governance — in these nations.

    In the calculus of moral equivalence between dictator and democrat that drives this conventional wisdom, such decisive action is “imperialism” … but such an invasion of sovereignty is precisely what is needed in these cases, to conclusively put an end to the conditions that create the violence.

    It is not imperialism to replace them with rights-respecting governance … as tyrants are inherently illegitimate as the embodiment of a nation’s government, if we truly agree with the justification for our own nation’s founding.

    My criticism is that we are sticking with the conventional wisdom of the last century, when history shows us what it really takes to – instead of sending our Men and Women into the same parts of the world again and again and again – put a stop to these “wars without end” … and until we challenge that conventional wisdom and the supposedly “enlightened” who adhere to it because “that’s what the cool kids do”, we’re going to keep repeating this insanity.

    But if you think that America’s uppity
    And must be put in her place …
    I’l be standin’ here to make sure you’re starin’
    History in the face …
    Your lack of confidence in her
    Has made the world less free …
    And where people aren’t free peace is just an illusion
    So I am pro-victory.

    … of course, we should also keep in mind that when you strip away the facade, most of the anti-war Left is really driven by fear … the fear of not having leaders who will take from others to give us “what we deserve”, and the fear of having one’s mellow harshed by credible criticism and disdain for one’s pet vice … and therefore, war is seen as a convenient emotional club to beat down their political opponents with to discredit them and forestall those outcomes … even when tyrants are left in place to oppress and destroy the innocent when we have the power and the justification to stop them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6SQWADITZPYHKSWSM5ONMDI52I Greta

    Not sure why anyone whoud expect the party of abortion to have any morals or ethics at all or why we would expect anyone that supports this same party like the media and the liberals of the dissenting church to either. Mother Thresa and Pope John Paul II clearly labeled them the culture of death. The press should lose their rights of freedom of the press because they are not really media, but extensions of the democratic party. You can tell before they print how their will cover a story by how it impacts democrats. Fox new alone criticized Bush more than all the media combined outside of Fox has criticized Obama. They can’t make themselves do that to their god. Even when candidate Obama langauge would seem to suggest impeachment of president Obama, the press never brings it up no matter how much it is pointed out on the blogs. The liberals in the Church are also absent and without ethical center. they lost it when they supported the candidate with the strongest abortion record ever to run for office in Obama.

    Remember, this same party was the party of slavery and lynching for over a century and a half before they found big government solutions were a better way to destroy black families and added on abortion as well. We need to stop expecting any moral fiber from this group. Not going to happen until the Church is able to give them all some type of Excorcism.

  • Anonymous

    The real question is, how much shorter would the Iraq war have been, and how many fewer Americans would have died, if the insurgents and the foreign terrorists weren’t emboldened by what they saw as lack of resolve on the part of America… if they hadn’t been given reason to hope that America would tire and quit. This is why the Surge worked… the Sunnis finally realized that they had no chance of winning so they gave up. You win a war by destroying the enemy’s will to resist, but as long as people think they can win they won’t stop fighting.

  • TerryeC

    I wondered the same thing. I wondered if once a Democrat actually had to take sides between someone like Gaddafi and his own people…rather than taking sides against the American president if maybe things might be different.

    And there is silence out there…the non interventionist libertarians are still upset, but they always were and will be. After all, they are the remnants of the American Firsters who could not understand what was so wrong with Hitler until after he declared was on America.

    I don’t much want to see ground forces in Libya and I worry about the money and all that, but Gaddafi has the blood of hundreds of Americans on his hands and he deserves to be locked up for war crimes. Justice delayed is justice denied.

  • Anonymous

    The Bush doctrine prevails–without Bush!

  • Joseph Marshall

    I’m sorry to be a bit off topic, but you are not writing much on domestic social issues at the moment. I’ve written you about the Conservative Garden Of Eden. If you want to see the Conservative New Jerusalem, watch events in Ohio.

  • BoziiWog

    I think you are on to a new term: “progressive aggressive”

    It means never having to admit you were wrong while … (insert countless examples here.)

  • doc

    I couldn’t agree more. I said at the time that the Left viewed dead Americans as acceptable collateral damage in the Left’s war against George Bush.

  • dry valleys

    If Obama was like Bush, would that mean he had stopped being a Muslim, communist etc? It doesn’t matter really, because he isn’t?

    Believe it or not, this isn’t all about the president, but is an action with far wider-ranging support, with a UN resolution endorsing the approach that has been taken, and also Arab support. In allied countries you have far more support in the British parliament, for example, than there ever was for Iraq, despite the recent example of Iraq being a disaster.

    I might also remind you that Obama didn’t “rush” anywhere, people across the Arab world rose up against dictators who had previously been supported by the west. They are the true owners of this revolt, and anything done by the west now is merely helping their efforts.

  • Dan

    Don’t leave out of the equation those Catholic neo-pharasees who made, {and still make} such a big thing about their Catholicism, who hardly appear on a blog site without flaunting how seemingly orthodox they are, how consistent their positions are with the Magisterium, and those very same spent months and months running down John McCain on Catholic websites, all in the attempt at depressing the Catholic vote for McCain.

    Did they not know full well that their actions supported Obama, and Obama’s party of death, a party that fully subscribes to a dictatorship of relativism, as then Cardinal Ratzinger put it?

    Yea, they knew, they knew full well.

    So what of their Catholicism?

  • Joseph Marshall

    Moreover, I would add to Dry Valleys the observation that Obama hasn’t cooked up a phony scare campaign of nuclear weapons danger that bent every intelligence report to fit that pre-ordained conclusion and justify all out war. Nor has Obama obliterated the entire civilian infrastucture of Libya, causing numberless civilian deaths, for the sake of inducing “Shock and Awe” on the part of the people he was supposed to be “leading to democracy”.

    To forstall unecessary comments, I don’t particularly care if Bush and his advisors “believed” in the nuclear danger. Over the years I have found the sheer number of fraudulent statements people on the Right have talked each other into believing–through the outlets of Fox News, right-wing radio, and the chronic merry-go-round of linking only to each others blogs–to be both breathtaking and corrosive to my personal belief in the American capacity for common sense about everything from non-existent Christmas lawsuits to Obama’s purported conversion to Islam.

    Further, there is a fairly good chance that NATO [and not just Obama] will actually succeed in preventing Ghadaffi from perpetuating the wholesale massacre of Libyans that he has been routinely threatening to do, and actually tried failed to do, with warplanes, when this whole thing started.

    Success breeds success, failure breeds failure. So has anyone heard lately of Osama Bin Laden being captured or killed by anybody? No, and you will not ever hear of it since a certain President let him escape, without serious pursuit, flubbing the one thing that actually made sense to go to war about.

    Anyone been to Battery Park or Wall Street lately?

    And my best wishes go out TerryC, who, besides Dry Valleys, is the only person here [so far] to have made any original remark about the people of Lybia.

  • dry valleys

    What I have been dismayed by is that, now “Curveball” has been discredited, people who backed the original invasion are rushing to vilify him personally. In fact, reprehensible though he is, he was only saying what a lot of powerful people wanted to be true, so if it hadn’t been him they’d have found something else.

    Those (not just Republicans but also some Democrats) who truly regret Iraq can prove their remorse by dropping the habits of thought that led to the invasion.

    The fact is that some fairly ugly things will take place whatever stance we take but I am in agreement on this issue with western governments (and oppositions) the Arab League and the Libyan opposition themselves.

    I had hesitations because I know intervention is often unpopular and unites even people who had previously been the opposition behind the regime. I didn’t join in Camoron and Sarko’s immediate belligerence, I waited. It took a lot to satisfy me, yet now it is done.

  • HMS

    Joseph Marshall (and also TerryeC and Dry Valleys) you are a breath of fresh air.

    I have been very reluctant to post any comments on this Blog when the topics move to political issues. It is obvious to me that the blog and comments become a GOP Apologetic (and can grow quite nasty). This is so foreign to the perspective on Catholicism in which I have allowed myself to be formed.

    I see no logical connection between the invasion of Iraq and this present day humanitarian venture in Libya which has the support of the French, British and the U.N. Security Council.

    I remember when Cheney said in 2003: “The Iraqis will welcome us with open arms and greet us with flowers.”
    Today, on one of the cable news stations, I saw a Libyan rebel, who went to the aid of one of our downed pilots in Libya, say that he hugged the pilot and thanked him.

    In this season of Lent, I am reminded of Simon of Cyrene (who was from the area that is now eastern Libya) who helped Jesus carry his cross. Can we do less to prevent the slaughter of these Libyan people?

  • Lisa

    Typical of the left; war is wrong except for when it’s right. Either Bush was right or Obama is wrong.

    Just War doctrine gives certain conditions for the legitimate exercise of force, all of which must be met:

    1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; Quadaffi has been dictator for decades

    2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;Obama has not tried any other means

    3. there must be serious prospects of success; This is not Obama’s goal

    4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition” [CCC 2309].

    The responsibility for determining whether these conditions are met belongs to “the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.” (Is this Obama’s decision?)The Church’s role consists in enunciating clearly the principles, in forming the consciences of men and in insisting on the moral exercise of just war.

    Has Obama done all that he can to avoid war? NO!

  • Bender

    I really fail to see what the strategy here is, what exactly it is that we (the United States) is trying to accomplish here, beyond Obama’s bluster. The current bombing and missile strikes do not appear to be strategic, they do not appear to be tactical, they merely appear to be punitive — let’s put some hurt on Khaddafi for a limited time and then stop. Officials say one day we’re trying for regime change, later that same day they say we are not trying to dislodge Khaddafi.

    What is the objective here, and when do we know we have accomplished it? Is this merely a case of lobbing a few missiles and then picking up and going home? Meanwhile, Khaddafi weathers the storm and comes out of this stronger than ever?

    Now that Obama has played the blowhard and said “Khaddafi has to do this, he has to do that,” with the response been for Khaddafi to simply scratch his face with his middle finger, what was Obama’s plan?

    You know, war is very serious business. When you start engaging in warfare, you damn well better have a plan, you better have an idea of what you are doing and why. Otherwise, you merely end up demonstrating to the enemy just exactly how empty your suit is.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I believe Bush was flawed, but he sincerely believed he was doing the right thing.

    I don’t think Obama really knows. And I’m still hoping exactly what we’re trying to accomplish by intervening in Libya; who are we supporting? What are our goals? What do we hope to win, by becoming involved?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Why should Americans go to war at the behest of the U.N., or the Arab world? (Which has, to be honest, not been especially supportive of the U.S., in recent decades; and why can’t they try cleaning up some of these messes themselves, instead of always demanding our help? Are we their Jannisaries? Aren’t we the “Great Satan” who supports eeevil Israel?)

    Again—what is there for us in this? What are we trying to accomplish here? Who are we supporting, and why are we supporting them? The Egyptian “spring” seems to be going a bit sour; El Baradei, who was the media favorite for taking power after Mubarak has been stoned by an Egyptian mob. As for Democracy. . . well, Gaza got democracy, and elected Hamas.

    In all honesty, I’d like Kadafy to go because of Lockerbie. He should have gone long ago. On the other hand, we’re already involved in two pointless wars, wherein we mainly seem to be propping up Islamic governments, run by Shari’a law which is, among other things, intolerant of minorities such as Christians, and executes apostates from Islam.

    And I still wonder why the Libyan rebels are worthy of our aid, but the Iranians revolting against the mullahs weren’t?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I was in favor of getting rid of Sadam. I was always somewhat dubious about the wisdom of staying on in Iraq, and trying to build a democracy.

    If we were going to intervene on behalf of any Islamic group in the Middle East, I think it should have been for the Iranian dissidents (who have mostly been forgotten.)

    It actually might be more to our benefit to simply let all these strongmen and “revolutionaries” (usually with some sort of connection to the Moslem brotherhood) fight among themselves, weakening themselves. The more they do that, the less energy they’ll have to plan more 9/11′s, or wars against Israel.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Ah, but you just don’t understand, goodterling! Obama cannot be criticized! If he does anything wrong—it was actually Bush’s fault! And Bush was worse! And—and—and—(so it goes.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    So, what are you saying, HMS? That the Libyans will welcome us with open arms, and greet us with flowers, afer we bomb them for a bit? Because civilians will die, as a result of these bombings, and if a lot of them die, then maybe the Libyans won’t love us quite so much.

    Actually, the whole Iraqis loving us thing didn’t work out that well, either. Every time the U.S. is drawn into some Middle-Eastern conflict, the ultimate reason given is that the Islamic world will like us! They’ll really, really like us!

    Well, we intervened in Gulf War. 9/11 was our thank you.

    Don’t the French and British have armies? Can’t they intervene on their own, without our help? As for the U.N.—lol, they had Kadafy on their security council!

    And, again. . . somehow we were just fine with letting the Iranians carry their cross. . . all the way to calvary, for some of them. What is it about Libya that makes it so different?

    As Bender points out in his post, war is a serious business. We’re not taking this seriously.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And we all know how well Bosnia worked out.

    /Sarc.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Also, Lisa brings up some good points about the conditions necessary for a just war, and why they’re lacking, in this case.

    War is a serious business.

  • Bender

    I actually don’t have many objections to attacking Libya IF we have an actual plan, IF we actually have the WILL to go all the way, and to not simply do it half-assed or one-quarter-assed or one-one-hundredth-assed, and it looks as if Obama has chosen the latter.

    If you are going to start a war, you damn well be ready to finish it. This isn’t like some prissy, limp-wristed, bitch slapping, where some metrosexual tries to play tough guy with a couple of slaps and then walks away. Having started this, you leave Khaddafi in power, you’re only emboldening him. If you merely take him out, leaving a power vacuum, it is likely some other thugs will take his place, thugs who are Islamic extremists and not merely crazy megalomaniacs.

    We have started something that Obama clearly gave precious little thought to, strategic, moral, or otherwise. And there will be consequences.

  • HMS

    Lisa:
    Hopefully, you are not as convinced that the Iraq War was a just one.

    Pope John Paul II certainly didn’t. He is quoted as saying that the war would be a defeat for humanity. Several other Vatican officials called it a preemptive strike that could not be morally or legally justified. In addition, the pope sent Cardinal Pio Laghi, a friend of the Bush family, to deliver a personal letter urging him to avoid war and seek a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi crisis. (Cardinal Laghi had been the Vatican representative in Washington D.C. in the 1990s.)

  • Dan

    I can’t help but recall a writer frequently linked at this website, who occasionally enters a comment thread, a man who was figuratively foaming at the mouth about McCain, about how no good Catholic could possibly support McCain.

    Where is he?

    Well he got his druthers, McCain went down to ignominious defeat.

    Meanwhile, unofficial unemployment as well as underemployment has soared, as has the cost of living. Petroleum has jumped, and the White House’s own budget estimations estimate it will jump another 50 cents.

    Planned Parenthood’s war againt the urban black unborn continues unabated, while the Democrats look to pour federal tax dollars on them, confident that some of that will be returned to their party in a sickening blood-soaked kickback scheme.

    Homosexuality is being forced upon us, upon our military, forced onto the public scene via high-profile nominations, such as those to the Supreme Court.

    Where is he?

    How can ANY of this possibly be squared with Catholic doctrine?

  • Dan

    I can’t help but recall a writer frequently linked at this website, who occasionally enters a comment thread, a man who was figuratively foaming at the mouth about McCain, about how no good Catholic could possibly support McCain.

    Where is he?

    Well he got his druthers, McCain went down to ignominious defeat.

    Meanwhile, unofficial unemployment as well as underemployment has soared, as has the cost of living. Petroleum has jumped, and the White House’s own budget estimations estimate it will jump another 50 cents.

    Planned Parenthood’s war againt the urban black unborn continues unabated, while the Democrats look to pour federal tax dollars on them, confident that some of that will be returned to their party in a sickening blood-soaked kickback scheme.

    Homosexuality is being forced upon us, upon our military, forced onto the public scene via high-profile nominations, such as those to the Supreme Court.

    Where is he?

    How can ANY of this possibly be squared with Catholic doctrine?

  • Dan

    Sooner or later Democrat Catholics are going to have to choose between genuine Roman Catholicism and the radical agenda of the Left, championed by the Democrat party.

    “Place not your faith in Kings, nor in Princes…,” need it be mentioned that one should not place your faith in parties or party platforms, or in pompous ponces parading across the political scene, even if they wrap themselves in the robe of social justice.

  • Dan

    Sooner or later Democrat Catholics are going to have to choose between genuine Roman Catholicism and the radical agenda of the Left, championed by the Democrat party.

    “Place not your faith in Kings, nor in Princes…,” need it be mentioned that one should not place your faith in parties or party platforms, or in pompous ponces parading across the political scene, even if they wrap themselves in the robe of social justice.

  • Anonymous

    “It actually might be more to our benefit to simply let all these strongmen and “revolutionaries” (usually with some sort of connection to the Moslem brotherhood) fight among themselves, weakening themselves. The more they do that, the less energy they’ll have to plan more 9/11′s, or wars against Israel.”

    This is exactly why we are hated around the world. Who would like a country that talks about freedom and individual liberty, encourages people to stand up for themselves, and then stands by why they are slaughtered?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    obijohn, who made us the cops of the world? Are we the planet’s policemen? Are the Libyans American citizens, that we’re responsible for them? Suppose we do go in, and help them “stand up for themselves?” Which side, out of all the many tribes and factions, do we choose? (And, remember, if we back Islamic fundamentalists, or a side that’s aligned with Al Queda, we may well be cutting our own throats.)

    Do you really want us putting in a new leader? Some Libyans might not like that. Do you really want another ayatollah coming into power? Someone backed by the Moslem Brotherhood? Are we supposed to risk more terrorist attacks, just so we can feel real good about ourselves?

    On the other hand, if we don’t put in a leader, the country might dissolve into civil war, and be taken over by some outside power, like Syria. You see all the difficulties we get into, when we “help people stand up for themselves?”

    Funny, when we went into Iraq, all we heard was “Bush lied, people died!” etc., etc., etc.; nothing about freedom, or people standing up for themselves. Nope! It was all “Bush is evil”! And I don’t remember anybody on the Left claiming that we had to go on into Iran, because nobody would like us if we just stood by while the dissidents were slaughtered.

    I guess Iranians don’t deserve freedom as much as Libyans?

    We’re hated in most of the Middle-East because we support Israel. And, when bodies start piling up in Libya, and our soldiers are accused (justly or not) of committing atrocities, people like you will be the ones shouting, “See? This is why we’re hated!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    It all depends on exactly what we’re trying to accomplish in Libya, who we’re fighting for, who we’re fighting against, and what we want to achieve.

    I haven’t heard any clear cut goals, as yet; it’s all, well, Kadafy should go—though maybe he shouldn’t—and we don’t like the way he’s killing the rebels, so we’ll bomb Libya, but we’re not going to war with Libya, we’re just, uh, bombing it, and we’d really like Kadafy to go, but we don’t want to go to war with him, or anything mean like that. . . blah, blah, blah.

    We’re already involved in Iraq, and Afghanistian. Without a real, pressing need, I don’t think we should go into Libya.

  • Anonymous

    I’m saying that if we go in, go in to make a difference, not for “days, not weeks.” Not to just bomb a little and kill a little but to solve the problem. Sitting there like a kid playing with ants, getting them to fight each other, is cruel.

    I’m perfectly willing to send one F/A-18, with a couple of JDAMS, over Qaddafi’s tents late at night, and let them shake loose. I’m not willing to establish a ‘no-fly’ zone, spend hundreds of billions, put lots of Americans’ lives at risk, and then walk away with the situation unchanged. That is what we did for 13 years over Iraq. It is what we did in Somalia, and it looks like what we’ll do in Libya.

    If we want peace, we need to give up this naive desire to be loved. All we need is respect, and our current president isn’t getting it, and he isn’t getting love either (why do you think they cancelled his speeches in Brazil?). Bush was respected and liked by much of the world, and the rest still feared and respected him.

  • dry valleys

    Every candidate who stood in the Iranian election was an Islamist. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that being slightly less fanatical makes them pro-western. If they aren’t Muslim fanatics, that doesn’t make them any more pro-western. (Would they renounce nuclear weapons, for example?) Maybe some of the dissidents support secularism, I’d be delighted if they did, but any effort to “help” would simply have been turned by the regime into an excuse to drum up support against the west. That is why I didn’t support military action in Iran.

    As for Libya, it was already long underway by the time Obama got involved. They have achieved more than most opposition movements in non-democratic countries, but are held back because the government is especially bloody.

    I’ve heard it said in this post that he rushed into action: in fact he did no such thing because he was reacting, firstly to Libyans themselves, and secondly to international forces. Thus, the assertion by one commentor that Bush started a war while Obama “started something” is ludicrous, Obama reacted to something that had happened. His detractors are falling into the same trap as his less realistic supporters if they think the world revolves around him!

    (If he hadn’t, neoconservatives would have vilified him: I’m quite interested to note that you and others seem to be moving towards a more sceptical view, but there are more than enough in the GOP who think he is being too soft rather than too aggressive, a possible split that would be interesting to watch in 2012 if everyone hasn’t reverted to ignoring foreign countries by that time).

    The action to protect civilians, of the kind that Clinton underwent on several occasions (in Sierra Leone and Kosovo) was an act of liberal intervention. This was opposed by conservatives before 9/11, and now there’s been a reversion to type, but it is recognisably different to the invasion of Iraq.

    It comes down to a difference of values, as do the majority of domestic issues, ultimately. That is why we find ourselves on opposing sides again.

  • doc

    Joseph, I couldn’t agree more that Bill Clinton should be condemned for letting Bin Laden go after having him, literally, in our sites. And this was after Osama had attacked and declared war on the United States.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    That’s what I was saying,obi: we need to give up this desire to be loved. And we need to give up the idea that we can get love by fighting wars on Islam’s behalf.

    Once we get in—in any small way—it’s almost inevitable we’ll be dragged in further; that’s how war works. It won’t just be a matter of dropping a bomb on Kadafy, and then running away; for one thing, we’re not even sure where he is. For another, he still seems to have some supporters, who will not love us if we kill their fearless leader.

    We aren’t the ones who started the fighting in the Moslem world; they’ve always fought each other, as much as they have us, and, yeah, it’s better they do that than plot more 9/11′s, more Lockerbies and more attacks against Israel, and India. (Remember Mumbai.) What’s cruel is going in there, dropping bombs on Libya in the hopes one of them will hit Kadafy and maybe bringing about a fundamentalist government, as in Iran, that tortures its own people in the name of Islam, and wages war against the rest of the world. The government we set up in Iraq persecutes Christians. Was this worth the lives of our fighting men and women?

    As for all those countries that are supposedly appalled by our “meaness”—oh, please! Britian and France loved Kadafy, as long as the oil kept flowing freely! He camped on Sarkozy’s lawn! The British turned the Lockerbie bomber over to him, in order to keep his good will! Then he began having political problems, and losing the oil, so they want him out of the way, so they can cut a deal with whoever takes over!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, there’s also the fact that Britain, and France, do want to keep getting Libyan oil; remember the deal with the Lockerbie bomber? The British, and the French, were actually most supportive of Kadafy, until the unrest in his country began interfering with the oil flow.

    It sounds to me as if many of the Libyan rebels are just as Islamist the Iranian candidates. And, again, if this is all about protecting civilians, why are Libyan civilians more worthy or protection than Iranian ones? And aren’t both the Iranian and Libyan governments cruel and tyrannical? You call the Libyan government “unusually bloody”; you think the Iranians—or the Syrians—or all the other Middle-Eastern governments, other than Israel, aren’t? Why are Libya, and Kadafy, being demonized here, in particular? And why is it the job of Americans to go in and protect civilians in Moslem countries, at the behest of the Arab league, and the U.N.? (which also supported Kadafy, until he became inconvenient.) Are we now the Arab world’s Janissaries, obligated to send our forces hither and yon, and act as the Islamic world’s policemen? (And secure that French and British oil, of course. Hmmm, no blood for oil. . . ?)

    We didn’t do this in Darfur. We didn’t do this in Tibet. We didn’t do this in Cuba, where civilians have certainly suffered. But we’re expected to intervene in every islamic country with some sort of “democratic” movement, even if the outcome for the U.S. is likely to be bad. Now why is that?

    Actually, instead of vilifying Obama, a lot of Americans, both Democrat, Republican and everything in between, would have been perfectly happy if Obama had kept out of this conflict; we’re already fighting two wars, and now we’re supposed to get into a third—at a time when our economy is in meltdown mode.

    And as for differences in values—look, if you, as an Englishman, want your own country’s army to go in to save the Libyan resistance movement or whatever, you can lobby for that; that’s your right. You can even send them your own, personal aid. What I don’t like is this strident demand, from other countries, that Americans get involved in every Middle-Eastern flare-up, and the “How dare you criticize your own president?” attitude. My own values are that my country doesn’t need to get involved in more Middle-Eastern nation building, and Obama is making a mistake. And, yeah, he rushed into it—didn’t even get congressional approval. (Which bush was roundly condemned for, even though he did get it!)