Monday, April 04, 2011


I'm almost glad I was out of town -- and therefore not blogging -- when the attack on Libya began. I favored the imposition of a no-fly zone, especially following the request of the Arab League. But, the incoherence of the "kinetic military action" has been breathtaking -- only Senator John Kerry thinks President Obama's been clear.

On the minus side, going to war for Nicolas Sarkozy would be crazy. As would a doctrine that America only intervenes when it's not in our national interests.

On the plus side, this allowed cartoonist Michael Ramirez to go wild. And it produced the quip of the year:
Barack Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined
There's even a mini-movement to have his prize revoked.

But this post is about something else: hypocrisy. Some of it comes from the right, such as David Frum complaining that President Obama bypassed Congress before acting. And even some Senate and House Republicans hinted that the strikes required Congressional approval--as did several Democrats. Nonsense: see U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 (its current form, not how "living Constitution liberals" read it). Only the Executive Branch can act with sufficient speed to react to foreign policy problems. See Haig v. Agee, 453 U.S. 280, 303 (1981) ("History eloquently attests that grave problems of national security and foreign policy are by no means limited to times of formally declared war."). And don't bother citing the 1973 War Powers Resolution--that's an unenforceable dead letter. See Campbell v. Clinton, 203 F.3d 19 (D.C. Cir. 2000).

Nor does the President need United Nations sanction for foreign military action--the Executive's Article II authority trumps treaties, including the UN treaty. Including NATO. So, I suppose we're all neo-cons now.

Yet most of the hypocrisy emminates on the left. Some by the President himself: properly ignoring erroneous readings of the Constitution from candidate Obama. Or from anti-war former Congressmen. Some from movement progressives, such as, which clearly has "moved on" from calling Bush's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan unconstitutional. I salute those lefties who might suddenly have grown up. That excludes some Congressional Democrats, perpetually peeved progressives and other fools.

Still, it rankles. Had President Bush launched a hundred-and-a-half-odd missiles on another sovereign while touring South America, without explaining his reasoning to Congress or the American people, there would have been mass protests, impeachment resolutions, and 24/7 mainstream media angst. Indeed, Senator Obama would have been among the outraged. And wasn't elevating Obama supposed to make America more popular globally. Some of which is "change", but doubtlessly not the sort lefties "hope[d]" for.

Campaigning is easy; governing harder. But, as Right Wing News's John Hawkins wonders: "Did you lefties believe ANY of the crap you were spewing about the war on terrorism before Obama got into office?" Probably not--or, at best, they've just revised the wording.

The toppling of tyrants will hide many of these flaws. Still, will we "win"? Remember, lefties historically assume foreign foes will do the "reasonable" thing--and may be applying similar logic in Libya. After a decade of demonizing the military and fighting foreign intervention, do Democrats know how to define proper goals and achieve them? Or would that require more than mere subtlety and nuance?


Warren said...

Great post. And only yesterday you were exhausted.

Smock Puppet said...

Does that mean he's hausted, now?