This has been pissing me off all day, not because Newt clearly flip-flopped, but because anyone is surprised by it. Two weeks ago, he called for intervention in Libya to make Barack Obama look bad. After Obama intervened, Newt criticized the move to make him look bad.
Are we little children? Do we really need to twist ourselves in knots wondering how in the world Papa Newt could lie to our sweet little faces? He’s an old school partisan who says whatever needs saying to make sure poor people get fucked and stay fucked. He isn’t trying to make sense.
The other thing that pisses me off is how the left is so afraid of seeming hypocritical that they refuse to defend Obama’s move. Yes, we were all against the Iraq War, and we all felt it was illegal and wrong. Guess what, Libya in 2011 is different than Iraq in 2003. If there had been an active uprising in Iraq in 2003, one that had spread from across the region, and America had been shielding hopelessly outgunned rebels, maybe we’d all have felt better about it.
You know when that was true, by the way? Do you know when there was an active uprising in Iraq and rebels were being slaughtered by an insane despot? 1991. You know what we did then? We let it happen.
I’ll let John Kerry tell you all about it:
As coalition forces were routing the Iraqi army in February 1991, President George Bush encouraged the Iraqi people to “take matters into their hands to force Saddam Hussein the dictator to step aside”. When Iraqi Shia, Kurds, and Marsh Arabs rebelled against Hussein, they believed that American forces would protect them against their brutal dictator’s superior firepower.
Instead, when Iraqi attack helicopters and elite troops began butchering their own people, coalition forces were ordered to stand down. The world watched as thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered.
The situation in Libya today is not identical. Inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, the Libyan people rose up spontaneously against four decades of repression by Muammar Gaddafi. Still, the spectre that haunts me is the same - ordinary people facing off against an autocrat’s airpower and well-armed soldiers, counting on the free world to protect them against massacre after we have applauded and bolstered their bravery with our words.
History is always worse than you remember it. The United States has been up to its ass in bad shit and evil since before we were even thinking about independence. What I’ve always said about Obama is that he’s trying to do better than his predecessors. Intervening in Libya is not a betrayal of his values, and it isn’t war mongering, it’s an honest attempt to save lives in a strategic region that is trying to form a democracy (yes, of course, there’s something in it for us). You may not believe it was the right thing to do, but I’m telling you it was the least wrong thing.
If you’re looking for something more than that, go live in a better world.