Sunday, April 03, 2011
Latest Newspaper Column: The Pilot
One thing that’s been funny in the past couple of weeks is watching the Republicans twist themselves in knots over our latest war in Libya.
On the one hand, they don’t have any use for Moammar Gadhafi, and they sure do love it when bombs are falling on Muslims. On the other hand, the commander-in-chief is a man they loathe so much they can barely stand to acknowledge he’s even an American citizen. So they’re acting a mite confused and more incoherent than usual.
Take, for example, right-wing blogger and anti-Muslim fanatic Pamela Geller. On Feb. 20, Geller wrote that Libya was “slaughtering innocent civilians,” bitterly complained that she “fear[ed] Obama would do nothing,” and urged her readers, “Stand up for innocent victims: Urge the U.S., the European Union, and the U.N. not to turn a blind eye to this bloodbath.”
When Barack Obama ordered missile and air strikes on Libya, however, Geller screeched a much different tune. She asserted that “our boys” are now “fighting alongside al-Qaida jihadists and Libyan rebels.” She went on to say, “It should have been Iran. Period. Libya … makes no sense. Recipe: disaster.”
No, really, she writes like that.
The most prominent flip-flopper on this topic is GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. On March 7, Gingrich said he would “exercise a no-fly zone this evening” and that “we don’t need anyone’s permission.” On March 23, with American forces committed, Gingrich told “The Today Show,” “I would not have intervened. … There were a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi.”
Meanwhile, the wingnuts continue to rail against the imaginary left for its perceived “hypocrisy” in not opposing this intervention. I say “imaginary left” because the group these people are so eternally heated up about bears little or no relationship to the left that exists here in America.
“The left has been quiet,” wrote John R. Guardiano in the American Spectator, “even as allied military operations against Libya commence. Why?”
Michael Filozof, of the ironically named blog “The American Thinker,” was even more indignant: “Where are the protesters? Where are the accusations that Obama is a liar and a Nazi? … Where are the cries for Obama's impeachment?”
Well, Mike, for accusations that Obama’s a liar and a Nazi, you’ll have to go to Glenn Beck or your friends in the tea party. But for protests and calls for Obama’s impeachment, you have to go no further than the group of nine Democratic lawmakers, including former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who loudly decried the unconstitutionality of the attacks in the Democratic Caucus conference call on March 19.
Kucinich himself demanded to know why this wasn’t “an impeachable offense.” (Kucinich later walked it back and said he had no intention of trying to bring articles of impeachment, most likely because he realized they had about as much chance of succeeding as the last time he tried it against Bush and Cheney.)
As for protests, the anti-war group Code Pink (which talk-show host Joe Scarborough falsely claimed has “done nothing”) held a rally and press conference on March 23 at the White House, complete with “signs in the shape of planes saying ‘Don’t Bomb Libya’ and other creative visuals,” according to its website.
To be sure, there are some liberals supporting this intervention. There is, to put it mildly, a quite lively debate going on in the progressive blogosphere over the subject. As I mentioned last week, I’m one of the ones who think this was the wrong thing to do, and it may come back to bite us on the behind in ways we can’t see and apparently haven’t thought too much about.
But if any of the people complaining about the left’s “silence” bothered to actually read what’s going on, rather than yelling about the “leftists” that exist only in their heads, they’d see that the actual left is anything but “silent” on this subject. Then again, reality never has been kind to them, so I guess they have no use for it.
Some would accuse them of inconsistency as well, but I’d disagree. They’re completely consistent on one principle, and one only: Everything Barack Obama does is wrong. If he’s not intervening, he’s wrong. If he does intervene, he’s wrong.
It’s the worst kind of cynical, destructive partisanship, and it’s based on the assumption that we’re all rubes who are too stupid to notice they can’t keep their stories straight from one week to the next, but it’s consistent.