Born-Again Leftist Hawks

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Barack Obama struck Libya not for narrow U.S. interests; he did it for the world. The Secretary of Defense himself said on ABC’s “This Week” that Libya was “not a vital national interest to the United States.” This is no jingoistic war waged by America for America. It is fought with the altruistic aim of making the world a better place.

Barack Obama’s motives are pure. There may be oil in Libya. And prices may be approaching $4 a gallon at the pump. But you can be sure there will be no blood spilled for oil. He is too noble for such uncouth motivations. He is a Democrat like us. He is good like us.

If this is an unfair characterization of the mental contortions used to justify Libya by the vocal critics of Iraq, then the born-again hawks, by all means, should explain in their own words why one megalomaniac dictator deserved to be bombed while another deserved to be overlooked; one oppressed people merited help and another rated to be ignored; a war without Congressional approval is dubbed legal and a war with Congressional approval is deemed illegal; a war conducted by a coalition of several dozen nations is decried as “unilateral” while a war conducted by essentially three countries is praised as “multilateral”; a war months in the offing is a rush job while one sprung on the American people without so much as a presidential address avoids that designation; and bombing foreigners is jingoistic when ordered by a Republican but humanitarian when ordered by a Democrat. The major objections to Operation Iraqi Freedom generally apply to Operation Odyssey Dawn more easily.

Muammar Gaddafi is an unhinged brute unfit to rule a pet, let alone a country. The people of Libya are right to desire his hasty departure. But he poses no threat to America and his country is not a vital U.S. interest. On the question of Libya, war is not the answer. Neither is kinetic military action.

Daniel J. Flynn is the author of A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Sky News, PBS, CSPAN, and other networks. He writes a Monday column for Human Events and blogs at

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  • logdon

    And where does the hypocrisy end?

    Syria? Saudi? Bahrain? Yemen?

    This is not over by a long chalk and as the fever for regime change grips the ME, more and more rioting will happen and the consequential death toll will ensue.

    What then?

    And what about that Seventh Imam obsessed spider watching, waiting and gloating as the Sunni world explodes?

  • Jim_C

    It's true we could play "But you said…" all day long.

    It doesn't do anything toward figuring out the right thing to do. Newt Gingrich, famously, called for action, then when action was taken, said it was the wrong thing to do.

    I don't think anyone knows what to do. If you are of a neoconservative bent, this accords with your values. This is essentially the Bush Doctrine. If you are a liberal, is this suddenly a "good war" now that Obama's running the show?

    I wish we stayed out of the whole freaking thing. How long are we going to be in Libya, now? It's ridiculous.

    • William_Z

      It’s too late for a number of reasons, but I don’t think the ‘Bush Doctrine’ applies—but there are a number of different meanings. (What do you think?) Libya began with an uprising and has move to civil war. In Afghanistan and Iraq there were neither. Well, possibly in Afghanistan there was what was called the “Northern Front,” but it was stalled in the north for years, so I don’t suspect that qualifies as a civil war, more of an inconsequential opposition, which went into action only once the US attacked.

      The Libya civil war would be over if the US and the allies didn’t get involved, for worse, or for worse. Doing what the ‘Nato’ is going to be doing—enforcing a ‘no-fly zone’ while blowing up everything in sight which has nothing to with a ‘no-fly zone’ this is could gone on for sometime. Kaddaffi could be killed, but he does have a son, who probably would like to be dictator.

    • Maxie

      "This is essentially the Bush Doctrine."

      No, it's essentially the Blair Doctrine: Human rights trump national sovereignties.
      Re: "Blair unveils bold intervention doctrine" by Rob D. Kaiser & Michael McGuire, Chicago Tribune April 23, 1999. Clinton was on board with this 'Doctrine' which he referred to as the "Doctrine of International Community which would empower "…the international community [to] stop ethnic cleansing and genocide whether it's within, or beyond, a country's borders". (*)

  • USMCSniper

    The NATO Commander says intelligence shows that members of Al Qaeda are known to be involved with the Libyan opposition. Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi is the leader of the Libyan rebels. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr. al-Hasidi said he had recruited “around 25″ men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya.” But, they also have ties to al-Qaeda. That’s right, al-Qaeda. AND THE DEMOCRATS AND RINOS WANT US TO ARM THE REBELS SO THEY CAN TAKE OVER LIBYA!

    • Arius

      You are correct. The US also did this in the 1990's in the Balkans. It was then that I detected the self hating West that is aiding its demise.

  • Arius

    Like in the 1990's in the Balkans the US again supports the Islamic jihad against the West.

  • Bigfoot

    The objections to the invasion of Iraq could also have been raised against the bombing of Serbia in 1999 under President Clinton, but for the most part were not. The anti-war left seemed to have discovered the concept of "unilateral" war during Operation Iraqi Freedom, even though the bombing of Serbia was carried out by only two countries, far less than the 30-odd countries involved in Iraq. In other words, the left's hypocrisy is nothing new.

  • umustbkidding

    Well, seeing that this war is being waged and it's not in our "interests", meaning that it's not for oil. If there is a regime change it will unfortunately turn into a terrorist state (not that Kadaffi is a pussy cat) and he didn't speak to our congress about going to war before taking action only NATO, which means that it's "kinetic".

    I guess we are there for "fun".