Obama’s Libya Venture and Double Standards

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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All this came after several years of incessant attacks on President Bush’s foreign policy that undercut the powerful message of renewed American strength and confidence that destroying the Taliban and Hussein’s regime had sent. The nadir of this “message” of defeat and doubt came in June 2004, when the Democratic leadership, including Al Gore, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, and Tom Daschle, joyfully attended the premier of Fahrenheit 9-11, the cinematic libel concocted by left-wing propagandist Michael Moore, who that same month called the terrorists in Iraq “Minutemen” and crowed that their “numbers will grow, and they will win.” Such cheering for the enemy killing our troops did not disqualify Moore from occupying the seat next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention. This “mixed messaging” culminated when the Democrats nominated for president Senator John Kerry, whose thin Senate record included supporting massive cuts to the intelligence budget and pledging to “almost eliminate CIA activity,” not to mention his flip-flop on the war in Iraq he had voted to authorize. And as a candidate, he heartened our enemy by dismissing terrorism as a “nuisance” like prostitution, and by calling the war in Iraq the fruit of “the most inept, reckless, arrogant and ideological foreign policy in modern history.”

And let’s not forget the mother of all mixed messages––newly elected Obama’s “apology tour” that dismissed American exceptionalism, donned the hair shirt of contrition for America’s “imperfections,” and groveled before the alleged cultural and religious superiority of Islam. This embrace of weakness and retreat was confirmed in Obama’s foreign policy actions, whether it was abandoning our allies like Poland and Czechoslovakia to curry favor with Russia, anxiously soliciting the favor of the thuggish, WMD-seeking mullahs in Iran, sending diplomatic billet-doux to Syria’s murderous “reformer” Bashar al-Assad, alienating and endangering our stalwart ally Israel over some housing construction, abandoning the creepy but useful ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, “leading from behind” in the un-war in Libya, and now announcing to the Taliban and Pakistan that we have a time-certain for skedaddling from Afghanistan, so all they have to do is wait a bit before rebooting their unholy alliance.

If you want a “mixed message,” look no further. For all his mistakes and arguable aims about creating democracy in the Middle East, George Bush sent a powerful message of American strength and resolve, and a rejection of the American self-doubt, moral weakness, and historical guilt that had convinced the jihadists that American civilization was, as bin Laden put it, “built on foundations of straw,” and so could be defeated by destroying our morale. But for nearly a decade that message has been scrambled by the Democrats and Obama, whose embarrassment about American power and righteousness and doubt about the goodness of our aims and actions have sent a quite different message about America: that the “mincing leviathan,” as Dennis Miller describes the Democrats’ America, doesn’t have the stomach for the all-out fight necessary to destroy jihadism.

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  • Amused

    Talk about "shameless " ? What about McConnel;s blurted statement , that if it was a Republican President , there would be less criticism of US foreign policy towards Libya , and then defered to McCain's statement , that it was a necessarry action . Partisanship trumps National Security .

  • Wesley69

    Necessary action??? Why??? To save the rebels??? Do we even know who these rebels are, what they believe??? We have NO strategic interest in Libya. It is an illegal war, not sanctioned by Congress and they should pull the rug out from under this President unless he makes his case and asks for a resolution to allow action. That is how it is done. That was what Bush did in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    As for Obama's foreign policy of being dismissive of our friends and allies, appeasement of our enemies and diminishing US power both economically and militarily have been a disaster that may never be straightened out.

    Appeasement, for sure, does not work in the international arena, not when everyone else is playing the power game. Have we learned nothing from history. Munich, 1938 lead directly to WWII. Dictators respect power and nothing more. Apologies. "Leading from Behind", renaming terrorism as man-caused disasters, announced timelines are viewed as weakness and exploited by the enemy.

    If the US totally disarmed, destroying all its nukes, would all other nations follow suit? Or if the US surrendered our sovereignty to the UN, would other nations follow our example???This is a fantasy.

    Even in our fairy tales, there are the forces of good and evil that do battle. Why this administration refuses to recognize this is a serious question. Do we think we are so smart that we don't need to listen to the lessons of the past and chart a totally new course and that the world will simply follow as if we were the Pied Piper??? Another question is can the US survive another 4 years under Obama's leadership with his fantasy-driven world view. That I have the answer for. It is a definite, NO!!!!!!!!

  • koby

    WHY IS THE US NOT A SIGNITORY TO THE ICC?THE US TROOPS COMITING MURDER IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD WOULD BE POLITICALLY TARGETED!WE AFRICANS ALSO KNOW THAT THE ICC’S REPUTATION IS QUESTIONABLE!IT IS A WESTERN COURT TO IMPLICATE THE SO CALLED THIRD WORLD!WE AFRICANS HAVE TO STAND AND DENOUNCE THE ICC,UN AND THE IMF BECAUSE ALL THESE GROUPS ARE NOT IN OUR BEST INTEREST!WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER ECONOMICALLY AND FORM OUR OWN GROUPS AND AN AFRICAN ARMY THAT CONSIST OF 1MILLION STRONG AND WILLING AFRICANS!WE NEED TO STOP OUR DEPENDANCY ON THE WEST!YES WE CAN NO MATTER WHAT WE GOT TO FACE NOW SO AS FOR OUR GRAND CHILDEREN TO ENJOY OUR LAND INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FLEE TO THE WEST!THEY CAN ALL MAKE. A CHANGE IN OUR COMMUNITIES!THE AFRICAN YOUTH OF TODAY IS DIFFERENT AND WE MUST TAKE UP THE FIGHT OUR ANCESTORS BEGUN!TOGETHER WE ARE A FORCE!ARISE AND SHINE MY PEOPLE!

  • BLJ

    Obama the dictator getting his way once again. It is a shame that the idiots who voted for this guy in 2008 are still too stupid to realize what they have done.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    While I agree with the writer that the left’s attacks on Bush’s foreign policy was to say the least extremely unhinged and incredibly unpatriotic, at the same time the Bush foreign policy in which the writer is praising in admiration was also about as unhinged, incompetent, and inept as it possibly gets. Although any policy put fourth by the left at the same time would have been exponentially more idiotic no doubt.

    First of all, both nation building missions in Afghanistan and Iraq were about as fantasy based as it gets, because it is literally impossible to win the hearts and minds of Muslims who are obligated per Islam to have nothing but enmity in their hearts for unbelievers and also because poverty, despair, and hopelessness thank goodness have exactly nothing whatsoever to do with the reason why Muslims are waging jihad against unbelievers around the world.

    Meanwhile, while Bush foolishly tied up our military pursuing unwinnable fantasy based nation-building missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are really the two biggest strategic blunders in American history, at the same time he also enabled Iran to pursue nuclear weapons with impunity and funded Pakistan’s jihad against America in Afghanistan and Pakistan with 2 billion dollars a year in foreign aid, while also helping to finance Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal buildup.

    In any event, if the so-called surge in Iraq and the Iraq war are glorious victories, then the writer of this piece needs to please explain why Iraq recently announced that it is going to closely align with Iran’s military to secure the region as soon as the USA finally pulls out of that God forsaken Islamic hellhole later on this year. If that is the writer’s definition of success and victory, then lord please help us all!

    Furthermore, if the writer of this piece believes that Afghanistan, which like Iraq is also a Sharia state that was created under Bush’s watch, can somehow also be a victory like Iraq, then the writer needs to explain how he figures that a Sharia state will remain the loyal friend and reliable ally of the USA once we finally leave that other God forsaken Islamic hellhole.