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Posted by on Aug 22, 2011 in At TMV | 100 comments

More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy From Partisan Democrats

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article at TMV noting that the size and fervor of the anti-war movement has been significantly smaller since Obama entered the White House despite the fact that Obama has stepped up our presence in Afghanistan and intervened in Libya without a congressional declaration of war. I pointed out that while the libertarian wing of the anti-war movement has remained strong in its criticism of our foreign policy, anti-war liberals and anti-war Democrats have been rather muted in their criticism of the Obama administration on the foreign policy front.

Yet with the fall of Moammar Gadhafi and celebrations underway both in Libya and in the United States, we’re now seeing this double standard manifest itself even more nakedly.

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner writes:

President Obama injected the U.S. military into Libya’s civil war without ever seeking congressional approval, or leading a public debate. To square this clearly illegal action with the law and his previous statements about presidential war powers, his lawyers (who, like Obama, had fiercely attacked Bush’s overreaches on war) argued that our air strikes in Libya did not count as “hostilities” as defined by the law.

Today, it looks like the rebels we’ve backed have succeeded in deposing Moammar Gadhafi, (which, you’ll remember, was not the aim of our intervention). Setting aside the questions of the U.S.’s role in nation-building and peacekeeping, should we now forget about the fact that our President illegally launched us into a war?

Glenn Greenwald of salon.com is even harsher on his fellow Democrats, pointing out their intellectual inconsistency of Democrats who opposed the Iraq War but support Obama’s interventions in Libya:

As I’ve emphasized from the very first time I wrote about a possible war in Libya, there are real and important differences between the attack on Iraq and NATO’s war in Libya, ones that make the former unjustifiable in ways the latter is not (beginning with at least some form of U.N. approval). But what they do have in common — what virtually all wars have in common — is the rhetorical manipulation used to justify them and demonize critics. Just as Iraq War opponents were accused of being “objectively pro-Saddam” and harboring indifference to The Iraqi People, so, too, were opponents of the Libya War repeatedly accused of being on Gadaffi’s side (courtesy of Hillary Clinton, an advocate of both wars) and/or exuding indifference to the plight of Libyans. And now, in the wake of the apparent demise of the Gadaffi regime, we see all sorts of efforts, mostly from Democratic partisans, to exploit the emotions from Gadaffi’s fall to shame those who questioned the war, illustrated by this question last night from ThinkProgress, an organization whose work I generally respect:
ThinkProgress twitter
The towering irrationality of this taunt is manifest. Of course the U.S. participation in that war is still illegal. It’s illegal because it was waged for months not merely without Congressional approval, but even in the face of a Congressional vote against its authorization. That NATO succeeded in defeating the Mighty Libyan Army does not have the slightest effect on that question, just as Saddam’s capture told us nothing about the legality or wisdom of that war. What comments like this one are designed to accomplish is to exploit and manipulate the emotions surrounding Gaddafi’s fall to shame and demonize war critics and dare them to question the War President now in light of his glorious triumph.

Nick Gillespie of Reason also notices the hypocrisy coming from partisan Democrats but praises Glenn Greenwald as one of the few people on the Left who can be counted on for remaining true to his principles on foreign policy regardless of which party controls the White House:

I don’t always agree with Greenwald on a range of issues, but there’s no doubt that he is not a situational ethicist, whose foreign policy (and domestic policy for that matter) depends simply on whether a particular development helps his preferred candidate or party at a given moment. Politics would be a lot less odious if there were more thinkers like that.

I second Nick Gillespie’s thoughts and will go a bit further. I admire those on the left who–like Greenwald–have been intellectually consistent on this matter and pity those–such of those examples noted above–who are more interested in cheering on their own party and scoring cheap points against their political opponents than standing up for the most basic of political principles.

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  • Excellent roundup. My take, for what it’s worth, is that the antiwar movement collapsed under the weight of its own ineptness and not because of anything that Obama and his fellow Democrats said or did.

    Movements like these need fresh blood and what we saw during the early days of the Iraq debacle were leaders in their dotage. Then there is MoveOn, an extraordinary mix of tone deafness and naivete. Who can forget their General Betray Us ad campaign.

  • slamfu

    I was for invading Afghanistan, against Iraq, and for taking action in Libya. That doesn’t make me a hypocrite. Each war was a different case.

    Afghanistan was a training ground for Osama Bin Laden. He attacked us, and was under the protection of their gov’t, so we went after him, now that he is dead I am wondering what we are still doing there other than guarding corrupt officials and drug lords.

    Iraq was just a complete waste of lives and money. We literally tore a nation apart just because we could do it. It was completely mishandled further screwing things up, and we had no cause to be there.

    Libya was a case of people actually needing our help to overthrow a dictator. Obama’s approach was perfect. International cooperation, limited investment on our part, and just enough to let the rebels get their act together and win their freedom in their own way. Now unlike Iraq, they are in charge of their destinies and can transition to something new. Libya was a nice example of limited intervention that is setting the stage for a new nation. Is it going to work out? I don’t know, but they are in as good a place as they can be to make it work out. That will be up to the Libyan people. It really highlights the difference between the Bush and Obama administrations.

    Obama has let me down on a number of issues, but handling the Libyan situation certainly wasn’t one of them. Oh yea, he killed Osama too. That was a pretty good win for everyone who isn’t a terrorist.

  • SteveK

    slamfu said: I was for invading Afghanistan, against Iraq, and for taking action in Libya. That doesn’t make me a hypocrite. Each war was a different case.

    […]

    You hit the nail on the head slamfu… Your post says what a lot of us have tried to say for a long, long time and your comment is the best I’ve ever seen explain it… You might consider submitting it to Joe as a thread on it’s own…it deserves all the attention you can get it.

    Thank you!

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    For whatever it’s worth, Slamfu, I don’t think you are a partisan hypocrite.

    You have expressed my feelings with regards to the three military actions down to a T. (I would hate to be called a hypocrite for such)

    There is the issue of neocon warhawks who were in full support of the Afghanistan War during the Bush administration but who, now that it’s “Oabam’s War,” suddenly have second thoughts.

    I don’t know if I would call them hypocrites, partisan maybe, flip-floppers for sure.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Way to go SteveK!

    If for some reason a post by Slamfu does not come about, I will be very happy to write one. Actually, I have been thinking about it.

  • JSpencer

    Slamfu got to the nitty gritty for me. Examining ethics and pointing up hypocrisy is good and necessary, but the context and motives of the exam are important and of course when we are comparing and contrasting alleged hypocrisies a discussion of matters of degree is essential, otherwise there is a degeneration into yet another of those counterfeit equally bad memes. I won’t repeat slamfu’s response (which I completely agree with) but will say this: Had we never gone into Iraq, perhaps it would have had it’s own Arab spring. Instead we threw trillions of dollars down the drain and killed perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. Libya? Overthrow on the cheap I’d say ~ at least when it comes to US blood and money. Kind of hard to argue with results. The differences are a stark as day and night.

  • You know, TMV probably was not the greatest place to post the title since, with a few exceptions, the commenters here are pretty good at thinking for themselves.

    In the outside world, there does seem to be a quick flip between doves and hawks after an administrative change.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Slamfu, SteveK, JSpencer, please leave something for me to write about 🙂

    (Go right ahead, enjoying the heck out of this and totally agree with the prof, too, on TMVers thinking for themselves)

  • I suggest some of you go back and read Glenn Greenwald’s column at slate.com.

    Central to his argument is that the end’s don’t justify the means. The justness or legality of entering into a war has nothing to do with the results of the war.

    When U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein in Iraq, supporters of the war (mostly Republicans) used the occasion as an excuse to argue that Bush was justified for going to war with Iraq and the war opponents were wrong. But it was an intellectually dishonest argument to make because no one opposed the war on the grounds that they didn’t believe U.S. forces would be successful in capturing or killing Saddam Hussein.

    What we’re seeing over at ThinkProgress and Balloon Juice (two liberal websites that opposed the Iraq War) is a mirror image of what we saw from pro-Iraq War websites. Now that Moammar Ghadafi has been driven from power, Obama supporters are using the occassion as an excuse to argue that Obama was justified in intervening militarily in Libya. Yet this argument is every bit as intellectually dishonest as the one that Republicans made following the capture of Saddam Hussein. As Tim Carney and Glenn Greenwald both argued above, Obama intervened militarily in Libya without asking Congress for a declaration of war, which is in contradiction to both the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act.

    In other words, whatever the outcome in Libya, it does not change the fact that Obama’s actions were illegal. Yet Obama partisans over at ThinkProgress and Balloon Juice are arguing that the end result somehow makes Obama’s action legal. As Glenn Greenwald argues:

    The towering irrationality of this taunt is manifest. Of course the U.S. participation in that war is still illegal. It’s illegal because it was waged for months not merely without Congressional approval, but even in the face of a Congressional vote against its authorization. That NATO succeeded in defeating the Mighty Libyan Army does not have the slightest effect on that question, just as Saddam’s capture told us nothing about the legality or wisdom of that war. What comments like this one are designed to accomplish is to exploit and manipulate the emotions surrounding Gaddafi’s fall to shame and demonize war critics and dare them to question the War President now in light of his glorious triumph.

  • roro80

    Certainly anti-war protests (which, by the way, do still happen) don’t get the press that they used to. Anybody remember when the Tea Party was just starting to get massive coverage of every small gathering, a 100,000 person war protest went entirely uncovered? Perhaps this is part of the reason most who are not participating in themselves in the anti-war activism going on don’t think it’s still happening.

  • ProfElwood said:

    You know, TMV probably was not the greatest place to post the title since, with a few exceptions, the commenters here are pretty good at thinking for themselves.

    TMV readers have the right to know when Democratic-leaning websites are being intellectually inconsistent on foreign policy matters. While Balloon Juice and Think Progress offered some great political analysis on foreign policy while George W. Bush was president, these websites have shown themselves to be unable to evaluate foreign policy in an objective manner now that Obama is president.

  • SteveK

    Nick, If you’re looking to make a point / reinforce your position with those of us who disagree with your basic premise I’d suggest that you go up-page and read (reread?) slamfu’s comment and then respond the many valid points that he makes. If not it’s not at all necessary, it’s your thread.

  • slamfu said:

    Libya was a case of people actually needing our help to overthrow a dictator.

    I fail to see the distinction between Iraq and Libya with regards to your comment. Both countries were run by brutal dictators who ordered the killing of thousands of their own citizens. And in both cases, you had factions that supported the regime and factions that opposed the regime (who would have benefitted from U.S. military aid).

    In other words, the very agument that use as justification for intervening in Libya could have been used to justify intervening in Iraq.

    slamfu said:

    Obama’s approach was perfect.

    Perfect? What about the part about asking Congress for a declaration of war as mandated by both the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act?

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Nick-The problem with that line of argument is that it is based on the presumption that the wars are equal. I did not support Iraq because it was an invasion of a sovereign nation that had not only no ability to harm us but also had no internal revolutionary forces to depend on. In short it smelled of Nam, we would invade a nation and then have to hold it up all while we were distracted from Afgh which of course is precisely what happened. I also took issue with not waiting for the UN, I also took issue with the fact that the intel was being gamed which anyone with access to foreign media knew.

    Libya on the other hand was a NATO, again a NATO action, that we are a part of without a whiff of making up or massaging intel(which by the way is a war crime if done to start a war). I also support Libya actions because they have a rebel force trying internally to oust him which means no invasion is necessary. Would you prefer we sit on the sidelines and watched them be exterminated with arms and funding for arms from the West? That was the other option because we and others had given Libya arms and money that was being used to keep the dictators boot on the neck of the Libyan people. I would have preferred we did not give tyrants arms or money but once we have I do support actions that offset that advantage…like say air support for rebels.

    As to the national legality issue in some ways I agree, I wouldnt call it illegal but instead untested and therefore ill-defined. Of course the best way to get it defined is to move forward and lose in court, or win which would be sad but I cant say unexpected at this point. The Iraq invasion did not break US law, it instead broke international law though propaganda being used on the US populace by using CIA friendly publications to shovel it back to the US is a fun way of getting around US laws. In short I also would like this to be defined but this was the correct type of action to take with or without the support of the congress, meaning if we need to have a court battle fine but the Libyan people needed help and we did just that. We did not invade, we did not engage in carpet bombing, we did not make up fantasy weapons or start a propaganda campaign we provided air support to destroy forces we and other western powers gave the guy in the first place.

    I support Afgh (though we need to get the hell out now), I did not support Iraq, I also supported our support of Egyptian protesters and our call for Assad to step down(and I would support air support for that) and I supported the actions in Libya. A court battle over the imperial presidency I agree is long overdue and needed but I see that as a more academic question compared to what was done, I will say if we had invaded I would feel differently though. I will say I support making aerial bombing of civilian areas a war crime again as it was prior to WWII though I doubt that will ever happen.

    The reason capturing Saddam became such a focus Nick is because the cat was out of the bag that we had been lied into a war AND that it would take a decade or more to get out. It was all they freakin had. We are doing in Libya rather close to what we did without question to Iraq for much of the 90’s with targeted bombings when he didnt play nice and a no-fly zone to protect people. Americans ARE rather numb to the deaths of foreigners I will agree but I think they would still support it in the interests of giving the Libyan people a chance, we are suckers for talk of freedom, democracy, liberty and self determination as a nation founded on those ideals should be. We were also founded on laws and I support your desire to have this defined and resolved though I seriously doubt the GOP will have much interest as long as everything turns out well. They will prefer to gripe that it took too long as McCain already has, and bang the drum for Syria next which I also support if done in a similar way.

  • @Roro
    You do have a good point on press coverage. There’s still a lot of power in the press for what they ignore. Since I’m living in a rural area now, it’s rare to see a protest of any sort, at any time. On the other hand, I get my news from internet coverage, which is a lot more thorough than the little blips they feel like throwing in on the TV or newspaper front pages.

    Being pretty dovish (or is that non-interventionist?), and not a member of the controlling parties, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a good justification for military intervention.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    “I fail to see the distinction between Iraq and Libya with regards to your comment. Both countries were run by brutal dictators who ordered the killing of thousands of their own citizens.”

    That takes some heavy rationalization to achieve dude. The difference is INVASION versus air support. If you cant see the distinction between those two things I think you really just want to gripe. The distinctions are rather huge. Iraq was quiet though an annoyance to the US. Libya was in flames though had been playing nice with the US. This action supported the Libyan rebels. The Iraq invasion supported those we hand picked to benefit from corps to the new leaders. Libya is the problem of the people of Libya, Iraq was a fully formed puppet republic(though one that seems to have ignored the puppeteer after a short time). Major distinctions exist and most of them boil down to support for our against “war” or support for or against occupation. Americans have a long history of being luke warm against war but impatient to down right hostile to occupation because we DO NOT want to be a colonial/imperial power though it can be obscured and gather more support like economic empire.

    **You may have just been noting the lack of distinctions in his comment if so I apologize.

  • SteveK

    NICK RIVERA says: I fail to see the distinction between Iraq and Libya with regards to your comment.

    Do you really?

    So you believe that when the United States, against the wishes of the United Nations, carpet bombed and militarily invading a peaceful country (that was NOT in rebellion) is the same as the United States, under the command of, and subordinate to, the United Nations, giving aerial reconnaissance to a Citizen Rebellion already in progress?

    You seemed to feel it necessary to couch your comment with “with regards to your comment” and than totally ignore slamfu’s major point that:

    • all the conflicts you mention are different and were entered into for different motives / reasons
    • the depth and degree of involvement in each was different
      (ie killing 1M civilians vs. giving intelligence to 5M civilians is not the same)
    • Democrats / Liberals / Progressives support(ed) some and rejected others for different but not hypocritical reasons

    slamfu so eloquently pointed all this out and you have conveniently chosen not to address it.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Prof-As someone that lived in the LA area in the run up to the Iraq war and after(a half block from hollywood and highland no less) I can attest to the fact that not only were protests ignored and downplayed then compared to their sheer volume of people but it only got worse over time. By the time I was in Portland a tiny TP gathering would get coverage (in fairness in Portland its still odd) but anti-war protests were utterly ignored at that point. Seeing as how the corps that own DOD contractors and make profits from war are also often owners of our networks I fail to see this as odd but just sad reality.

    And yes they focus purely on the fringe idiots and freaks of both groups protesters though the anti-war types tend to not whine about it but attempt to police it from decades of experience.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    The question begs, why bring all this up on the very day that U.S. and allied (NATO) efforts over Libya finally seem to have paid off.

  • StockBoyLA

    I’m with slamfu, et. al. I also fail to see how NIck can compare Iraq with Libya. Apples and oranges.

    As far as the “legality”…. I have no earthly idea… I think if we are in a war, we should declare a war. However it seems to me that for the last few decades no one in the US has done so, yet we still send in various amounts of troops to various countries for various reasons. So there’s a long history of precedence…. I just throw the “legality” piece out for whichever party is in power. It doesn’t seem to matter. I didn’t use it against Bush invading Iraq (which I disagreed with) and I won’t use it against Obama.

    By the way, Nick: what WAS the original intent for attacking Libya? I always thought it was to depose Gadhafi.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Gcotharn says:

    “not a one of you hypocrites “supported” the Afghanistan military action when it initially occurred in late 2001. Not. A. One. Of. You. You are hypocrites – all of you.”

    That is not only a serious accusastion and breach of every TMV rule, GC, but it is also a blatant lie.

    Go back and read many of my posts, and read my articles and letters in the Stars and Stripes, The Austin-American Statesman, New York Times, etc., etc. and you will see that this is a lie. And I am sure many others here at TMV supported the Afghanistan war after the dastardly 9/11 attack.

    I ask you to retract your attacks, or I’ll have TMV remove them for me. If they don’t do it, they’ll have to choose between you and me.

    You have made it very personal by lying about me and calling me a hypocrite, and I will not stand for it.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    “All of you who opposed the Iraq invasion, yet blithely “support” violent military action in Afghanistan: not a one of you hypocrites “supported” the Afghanistan military action when it initially occurred in late 2001.”

    Yet you seem to lack any proof but emotion, tell me why that is? You believe that the public support of 90% reflects that all lefties opposed the war? You do realize that the left has historically been the war party right? Could that 10% maybe been um…Quakers or other actual pacifists that often vote Libertarian or Green party maybe? Dude seriously saying someone didnt support the Afgh invasion is rather difficult to claim so a vast amount of the nation did because…the people that actually attacked us were there. Not in Iraq but in Afgh where many that opposed the Iraq invasion pointed over and over again our attention should remain. You are either the victim of right wing propaganda OR rationalizing your anger over the fact that Iraq still remains the war that should have never happened and has yet to end.

    Sorry dude but you come in hurling unfounded and unsupportable accusations and I am more than willing to throw down because I know what I have and have not supported and why. I still support Afgh even but it is becoming something I am not as avid about because I actually wanted Paki, now that we have marched all over their fun park I see little else that we can do in the region. That change in my view has ONLY taken place over the last 6 months to a year and I still think we need at least one more year in the area but we would need infinite time and resources to truly “stabilize” it.

  • StockBoyLA

    gcotharn: “All of you who opposed the Iraq invasion, yet blithely “support” violent military action in Afghanistan: not a one of you hypocrites “supported” the Afghanistan military action when it initially occurred in late 2001.”

    I’m sorry but I call BS. That’s a flat out lie. I supported Afghanistan from day one. I opposed Iraq from day one. I still support Obama in Afghanistan, even though many people (Dems and Republicans) want out. And I supported Libya from day one (and will support any US help to people who want to overthrow their despot leaders- just like my own ancestors threw out the British a couple hundred years ago with the help of foreign governments).

    I hated the Taliban long before they gave support to bin Laden. After 9/11 most people in this country were behind Bush in invading Afghanistan to kill those [email protected] who attacked us. As I recall Bush’s approval ratings were in the 80’s and 90’s during that time.

    With Bush’s approvals ratings so high during that time period how can you possibly say that none of us supported Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan?

    Well at least all I can say is that you speak like a true Republican: re-writing history to suit your own agenda and argument.

  • DaGoat

    gcotharn tone it down dude. Plenty of Democrats supported the initial action in Afghanistan.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Nick:

    You made a very passionate statement a few days ago about blanket attacks on readers such as GC just made. Here’s an opportunity to lead by example.

    Thank you

  • SteveK

    @ Dorian

    The good news is anything gcotharn says is like anything lil William Kristol says… WRONG!

    I’ve misspoke the “never fight with pigs” parable so many times and I thought it so appropriate here that I looked it up… To my surprise it’s a George Bernard Shaw quote and it goes like this “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

  • SteveK

    I retract my blatant indictment of every single left person who now “supports” Afghanistan.

    who now “supports” is NOT a retraction it’s another kick in the teeth.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Your sarcasm drips, GC.

    I still demand for that the author or TMV editors delete your commnents as they violate TMV rules.

  • SteveK

    This thread had the potential of both sides toning it down and actually talking AND LISTENING to each other and then…

    All of you who opposed the Iraq invasion, yet blithely “support” violent military action in Afghanistan: not a one of you hypocrites “supported” the Afghanistan military action when it initially occurred in late 2001. Not. A. One. Of. You.

    […]

    It is a shame but hey… all-in-all we are getting better.

  • SteveK

    It is true, I am fed up with the hypocrisy which I perceive amongst the left who “support” Afghanistan. FED UP. To the point of being riled up right well.

    Well g, you’re in the right age group, why don’t you enlist. It would help you get rid of some of your hostility and show you the world (and the war) first hand. It really did wonders for me.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Gcotharn-I will also answer your question for Dorian, I supported it because they were harboring those that attacked us. I wanted those that attacked us to be hunted down and destroyed. I never thought and still do not think we can “stabilize” Afgh but I wanted to stay until we got who we came for(not just Bin Laden the entire group) but they ran to Paki and we took our eye off the ball. I did not care nor do I still about the Taliban.

    I supported the widening into Paki very very vocally here even during the primaries when Obama first spoke of it. Pakistan is where they train these guys and indoctrinate them. I also support an invasion or support for regime change in SA because they are those that fund those schools and groups, the Wahhabi schools that is. I supported any action or support taken for the people of Egypt, Libya and Syria and my bright line is at invasion because that turns into occupation. Heck I even think if this keeps going next time Iran gets all protestor killing happy we should send some nice funding their way and possibly consider some targeted bombing there as well. Not invasion because we do that BADLY, we invade well but we lack the stomach for occupation which in my view is just proof that we do have some morality.

    I am far from a dove, I just do not support dumb wars nor ones that are based on what seems to be false intel that the rest of the worlds media was warning us about.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    You need to respect everyone’s integrity

  • SteveK

    @draft dodger

    Boy howdy you sure got me that time sonny!

    FYI the only comment in this thread that I addressed to you was a recommendation for you to enlist all the rest were “about” you not “to” you but I understand that you’ve an enlarged ego and why you wouldn’t want to reply to my recommendation for you to enlist… We all knew what it was anyhow.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    “Let me expand on your point that plenty of Dems supported Afghanistan in late 2001: plenty of the left opposed it. Plenty. Plenty of media opposed it. Plenty.”

    Citation is needed because I call major BS. Not only did around 90% of the populace support the Afgh war 80% supported Bush which again also means that he was given support from Dems in a time of strife that was not given to Obama. Citation or you are lying or speaking purely out of emotional distortion of reality.

  • I am putting a comment that has been up here in moderation. I cannot state enough that people are urged to read our commenting policy. People who wish to just attack writers or other people in comments because they see things differently and name call are really welcome to a)find another site b)start their own blog. We truly hate to lose readers and commenters but our policy has been clear for many years and the BULK of people in comments do respect it. As election year approaches MANY people who read posts by writers who see things in different ways will not like all they read. So why not just obliterate the arguments by offering your own on the post’s subject. You can make a case using bits from news stories, quotes from articles or political figures or your own logic. Just lashing out and name calling is not welcome here.

  • Thank you everyone for your responses. Despite having been a guest writer here at TMV for nearly five years, my posts generally have not generated more than a dozen reponses. So perhaps with this post I’m doing something right?

    I’ll reiterate a point that Dorian made above and that I have been pleading for the last couple of weeks. Let’s do our best to avoid blanket generalizations and ad hominem attacks. For me, it’s not so much as issue of people getting their feelings hurt, but rather, that blanket generalizations and ad hominem attacks are inconsistent with rational discourse.

    I make it a general rule not to delete or censor comments unless they contain profanity or racial/ethnic epithets. As far as I’m concerned, commenters who make ad hominem attacks should have to bear the consequences of their actions, which includes having to bear the shame of knowing that other TMV readers are reading their comments and judging them accordingly. That’s why we should all think twice before posting a comment and perhaps even take some time to calm down before responding to a commenter with whom we might disagree.

    I would encourage you all to consider what the title of my post is. It does not say All Democrats Are Partisans or All Democrats Whom Support Intervention in Libya Are Hypocrites. It says More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy From Partisan Democrats. I believe that I made a pretty sound argument in justification of this title by citing the evidence that Glenn Gleenwald and Tim Carney cite in their respective articles (which I linked to above).

    If you wish to go beyond the arguments that Glennwald, Tim Carney, or I made or offer you own perspective, feel free to do so. However, I strongly encourage you to read the articles written by Greenwald and Carney. Glenn’s argument, in particular, is pretty solid in terms of citing partisanship and intellectual inconsistency.

    If it was wrong for Republicans to use the capture of Saddam Hussein to claim they were right and criticize those who opposed the Iraq War, then it is equally wrong for Democrats to use the fall of Khadafi to claim they were right and criticize opponents of our government’s intervention in Libya. If one cannot agree with that basic premise, I really don’t know what more there is to say.

    If, on the other hand, one can agree to that basic premise, than I welcome comments from those who believe my criticism to be unbalanced or lacking the appropriate nuance that is warranted in this discussion.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Nick-I rarely comment on your stories because I not only agree with what you say I also find nothing to add. I read them I just always get my .02 mugged by you lol.

    This one was a little different though I know your passion on the topic. I will say that I fully support that getting him should have nothing at all to do with how it went down. It does not validate it in anyway. I supported it not to get him out, though that would have been mighty nice, but to level the playing field we had tilted in his direction over time. In other words I hate our long history of support for dictators while we pick and chose who deserves “freedom.” That seems to be slowly changing and I am absolutely elated over it but as I noted many times I am far from a dove. I would also note that Saddam was well contained which was different from Libya which was another reason that I did not support sending US troops to bleed in a fight that was the responsibility of the Iraqi people. Support for rebel groups I would have supported but we missed that train by a decade though with the wave going across North Africa and the ME he may not have had much time left anyway.

  • Although I agree that all wars are different, it’s also pretty clear that the US is far more aggressive than other nations. If NATO wanted to help Libya, then why not leave them to do so? We don’t have to be involved with every war out there.

    Our history with “limited engagements” isn’t encouraging.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/124490/in-u.s.-more-support-increasing-troops-afghanistan.aspx

    Here is a nice citation notice how 93% of the US supported the invasion as of 2002.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/5029/eight-americans-support-ground-war-afghanistan.aspx

    Another from Nov of 2001 shows 25% of Dems as doves with 80% of the populace supporting the war. 8% of the GOP and 19% of Indies also were doves. Keep in mind that is only a poll in support of ground troops, bombing and strike support was likely much higher.

  • @MSF
    I don’t think a few days of bombing will do much to reverse what the world thinks of us. Doing nothing would probably have said more.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Prof-We are the kids with all the big toys. This is why NATO and the UN both heavily rely on us and have since WWII.

  • DaGoat

    Nick I agree with the overall point of your post but I don’t like playing the “you’re a hypocrite” game. This is truly a topic where both parties are equally inconsistent. To me the term “hypocrite” implies a level of intentional malice I don’t think exists here.

    The same people arguing against the Kosovo conflict were arguing for the Iraq conflict, and vice versa. Now the people against the Iraq conflict are using some of the same justifications used for Iraq to support the action in Libya.

    The conclusion is that for most individuals there are no iron-clad arguments for or against war. Many factors have to be weighed and the ultimate decision is heavily influenced by the level of trust in whoever happens to be in charge. This is why you see conservatives who supported Iraq now have second thoughts when Obama is calling the shots, and the opposite behavior in progressives.

    This is inconsistent but not necessarily hypocrisy. There is a large amount of rationalizing going on. Should the Democrats and GOP be called on this – sure but accusations of hypocrisy will usually be met angrily and defensively.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Prof-They wouldnt have survived. They were already in trouble when NATO intervened. If that was not our weaponry and funding that created the situation I would still support it but I wouldnt see it as a moral issue. When we prop up regimes and allow them to stomp on their populace it goes against everything the US historically stood for(though eras matter I agree). Again though I am far from a dove. Heck I am still mad at Hamilton for not allowing Jefferson to win the argument and throw the US support behind France over 200 years ago lol.

    Egypt happened due to the army siding with the people. In Libya that was impossible due to the amount of mercenaries that were used by Ghaddafi. The line between me and a neo-con is drawn mainly at invasion vs support for revolutionary groups. I love spreading dem, liberty and freedom I just do not want to spend American soldiers blood on it nor do I support occupations or any hint of empire.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    DaGoat-Kosovo was to stop genocide.

    Iraq was not actively attacking its populace, it had in the past but that was when we were friends with them.

    Libya was trying to exterminate the rebels and was also killing civilians, not anywhere near genocide but still much consistency still exists here without even moving into rationalization.

    Iraq was not an active threat, was contained, was being inspected and was not actively killing its people. How is it rationalization to point this out and why is that so hard to understand. This is also ignoring that Kosovo was a limited action and Libya was an air only action, I do not think many would support even a Kosovo like limited action in Libya due to our recent history. I for one would be wary and I am an avid supporter of freeing the Libyan people.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Another viewpoint here:

    “With the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi seemingly toppled by the rebels, the Obama administration is feeling vindicated in its decision to intervene. But the right can’t decide whether to be happy Gaddafi is gone or miserable that Obama had something to do with it.”

    Read more here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-rights-bizarre-response-to-libya-events/2011/03/04/gIQAPprNWJ_blog.html

  • @MSF
    I also hate how we’ve built up regimes time after time, and then torn them down because they weren’t pliable enough. It seems that 90% (a number pulled out of my ear. Please don’t ask for references) of the time when we’re hit, it’s with our own weapons.

    My fear is, as always, that despite what anyone says, we’re going to get mired in there anyway. NATO already proved that they’ve become weak from relying on our protection. Intervention, as you indirectly noted, seems to always lead to more intervention.

  • DaGoat

    MSF I see your points but there were an awful lot of people who thought it was important that Kosovo did not represent a threat to the US and not being OK’d by the UN was important, who suddenly developed amnesia with Iraq and vice versa. I didn’t word that very well, hope you understood what I was getting at. You are choosing the factors you think are important and ignoring other ones.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    DaGoat-Understood, I would also note that we actually HAD troops on the ground in Kosovo AND they were not under our but NATO control which were also sticking points for many. The NATO point was a real point that upset those in the GOP especially.

  • DaGoat said:

    Nick I agree with the overall point of your post but I don’t like playing the “you’re a hypocrite” game. This is truly a topic where both parties are equally inconsistent. To me the term “hypocrite” implies a level of intentional malice I don’t think exists here.

    DaGoat, thank you for your comment.

    Perhaps I’m guilty of using a term too broadly, but I’ve always though of “hypocrisy” as meaning judging others by a different standard than by the standard by which one judges himself (or his “side”). That definition seems consistent with definition #1 offered by Collins English Dictionary at dictionary.com, which states:

    the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc, contrary to one’s real character or actual behaviour, esp the pretence of virtue and piety

    One thing that I find absolutely fascinating (but hardly surprising) is that every time I post an article alleging hypocrisy on the part of Republicans, almost every Democratic-leaning commenter cheers my article while nearly every Republican-leaning commenter criticises my articles, while every time I post an article alleging hypocrisy on the part of Democrats, almost every Republican-leaning commenter cheers my article while nearly every Democratic-leaning commenter criticises my articles.

    There are, of course, a handful of TMV readers who manage against all odds to maintain a refrehsingly non-partisan outlook, and that group–however small–is the primary audience for whom I am writing.

  • DaGoat

    Nick your definition of hypocrisy may be correct but in practice it is a loaded term and people will take it as an insult. That’s a big part of the reason you got so many responses.

  • StockBoyLA

    NIck, if our original intent in Libya was something other than deposing Gadhafi, then what was it?

  • Interestingly enough, I am here to throw another wrench into the cognitive wheel that seems to be at play here.

    a) I supported Afghanistan from day uno all the way up to bin Laden’s death (despite the fact that it happened in Pakistan, which is a whole other beast unto itself).

    b) I was hesitant but ultimately sided with the need for invasion of Iraq after hearing Tony Blair’s speech to garner support. I was also taking an international politics course at the time and had a great deal of information RE: weapons inspections, sanctions, etc. Only after a few months when WMDs didn’t turn up ANYWHERE, did I second guess my initial support (consider my perspective that of the soldier played by Matt Damon in Green Zone). I strongly felt at that point that we needed to refocus our efforts on Afghanistan. But instead, we doubled down on Iraq claiming we had to fight the insurgency that we created. To fight Al Qaeda, who CAME to Iraq because we invaded; not because there was a huge contingent prior to our occupation.

    3) I have supported Libya, ESPECIALLY for the fact of how Iraq played out with only a small international backing, Obama chose to go the international support route.

    I’m hardly a dove. I understand that realistically we must involve ourselves in conflicts that will not always prove to be appropriate for US involvement through the 24-hour news media lens. I am, however, also a tepid supporter of Obama. So where in your theory do I fit?

  • JSpencer

    Nick, I read all your articles because they always seem to come from a fresh and honest perspective. I don’t always agree or respond, but the issues I agree with you on, I agree with fullheartedly. Yes, using ends to justify means can be problematic. When it comes to governing and even campaigning, flexible principles can be especially problematic, but there is another word that needs to be considered in this equation, and that word is “competency”. The ability to make smart decisions that aren’t always squeeky clean and clear-cut is critically important in a world as messed up and complicated as this one. We put our faith in competent leadership to navigate those tricky waters. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail miserably.

    The abilities and motives of Bush/Cheney were highly suspect from the lead up to Iraq invasion all the way to the surge, and their navigation was more often than not on the rocks. Anyone who doesn’t get that now is probably beyond convincing. Obama hasn’t committed any blunders near that magnitude, and I for one am willing to believe that his competency and conscience might just be partly responsible for the difference.Yes, there is room for concern and none of this is really over yet, but there is a point at which a “hypocrisy” argument can become a tail wagging the dog scenario. I’ve criticized Obama ofen and will again, but I also sense that the quote Dorian posted is very applicable for many on the right:

    “With the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi seemingly toppled by the rebels, the Obama administration is feeling vindicated in its decision to intervene. But the right can’t decide whether to be happy Gaddafi is gone or miserable that Obama had something to do with it.”

  • Stray Mongrel

    I think in the end here; we have to celebrate the end of oppressive dictators, and be thankful we had an opportunity to help in any way possible.

    The fact that Libya has a chance at freedom means more than any petty politics.

  • SteveK

    There is no end to oppressive dictators… but those paying attention aren’t buying into Bank of America or Exxon Mobile anymore. 🙂

  • steadystate said:

    I’m hardly a dove. I understand that realistically we must involve ourselves in conflicts that will not always prove to be appropriate for US involvement through the 24-hour news media lens. I am, however, also a tepid supporter of Obama. So where in your theory do I fit?

    Given your support for both Bush’s intervention in Iraq and Obama’s intervention in, I don’t see how anyone could make the claim that your views constitute partisanship or hypocrisy.

    Given my opposition to both military interventions (by which I mean American military involvement in Iraq and Libya and not the overthrowing of Saddam Hussein or Moammar Gaddafi), I obviously have some fundamental disagreements with you on foreign policy. But that’s an entirely separate issue.

  • JSpencer,

    Thank you for you kind words.

    Regular readers of TMV know that I have been extremely critical of both the Democratic and Republican parties during the five years that I have been contributing here as a guest writer.

    In posting this article, I was hoping that the same people who repeatedly accuse Republicans of extremism, hypocrisy, and partisanship would take a moment to consider an instance of intellectual inconsistency on the part of some Democrats.

    I may have been hoping for too much.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Nick,

    I agree with JSpencer and others who commend you for being one of our truly moderate writers.

    That is why I was especially taken aback by the thrust of your post on “more foreign policy hypocrisy from partisan Democrats.”

    Since you say that you have been extremely critical of both Democrats and Republican parties…” is it possible that, when it comes to foreign policy, especially the wars we have been discussing, there may also be hypocrisy from partisan Republicans? If so, where have you written about such with the same zeal as you are now describing Democrats hypocrisy.

    Finally, I do not know whom you have specifically in mind when you say,

    “I was hoping that the same people who repeatedly accuse Republicans of extremism, hypocrisy, and partisanship would take a moment to consider an instance of intellectual inconsistency on the part of some Democrats.”

    But, except for the one exception of “extremism, hypocrisy, partisanship” and even blatant lies exhibited by one person who I must assume can not be a Democrat, I have only seen genuine, sensible, honest expressions of reasons for feeling one way or another about the various wars under discussion.

    So I am truly at a loss to understand your comment.

  • dduck

    Good one, Nick, you of course are correct, both sides can be hypocritical.
    I think Obama did the pragmatic thing by backing up our allies, but of course it was illegal.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Nick, may I add, that debating foreign policy, especially when it comes to wars, declared or undeclared, “good” or “bad”, and when done based upon one’s principles or upon one’s genuine beliefs of right and wrong, or based on what one perceives to be faulty policy or faulty military strategy, is not necessarily hypocritical, partisan nor extremist.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Finally, I was a gun-ho supporter of the Vietnam War (and later flip-flopped), supported the Kosovo conflict, supported the Afghanistan war (initially, under Bush) but am having second thoughts (under Obama), opposed the Iraq invasion, and supported the Libya air action for the reasons I have written about as nauseam.

    It may make me a flip-flopper in certain instances, but certainly not a partisan hypocrite—and there are millions of cases just as mine.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Dorian-It only makes you a flip flopper if you like to watch people die or like war. If you see it as a necessary evil that should be used only when necessary you will of course be a flip flopper because sometimes your definition of “necessary” will not be met.

  • dduck

    Perhaps stating the obvious: Just put “more” as the first word of your title and whamo, you get more objections. Are you eating more cake. More trouble at the sand box.
    More people get their just desserts than get their just deserts.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    dduck, thanks for the hint. Here’s a little “more”:

    Nick is correct in at least one instance where a person consistently exhibits partisan hypocrisy when it comes to foreign policy and wars. He has consistently cheered on every war started by a Republican president and consistently attacked any war or conflict a Democrat involves us in.

    Alas, he is not a Democrat. His name is Rush Limbaugh

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    on flip-flopping.

    On the Vietnam War, MSF, I must admit I was totally wrong. But, then again, in those days I was a young, gun-ho military Republican who was totally brainwashed about the “Domino theory,” etc. But even then I was not being hypocritical with my support. I was just plain wrong.

    Thanks

  • dduck

    What’s more, I love Jerry Seinfeld, but this the first time (today) that I ever heard him do a political bit.
    It is on the Iraq war and is from 2004.
    http://cdn.jerryseinfeld.com/assets/20040512_xl68vb.mp4

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    That was good. Thanks dduck, a different version of “guns and butter.”

    (I was going to say that was funny, except there was nothing funny about that war)

  • DaGoat

    @DDW

    But, except for the one exception of “extremism, hypocrisy, partisanship” and even blatant lies exhibited by one person who I must assume can not be a Democrat, I have only seen genuine, sensible, honest expressions of reasons for feeling one way or another about the various wars under discussion.

    What I am seeing is Democrats trying hard to justify their support of wars started by Democrats and criticism of wars started by Republicans, which I think supports Nick’s original point. They are essentially doing what Rush Limbaugh is doing on the GOP side.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Dorian-Hindsight is a powerful thing and I was born in 75. With America’s rep building up to Nam and the lack of understanding of the region in the nation at large at the time I also probably would have been an avid supporter. Nam is where we learned the lessons that we could not fully trust our leaders word and also that we should avoid fighting popular insurgencies. Fighting against popular insurgencies is an uphill battle where as fighting with them is a downhill race, another reason I fully support the “Libyan model” of deposing dictators. Problem is that they cant be faked without repercussions which means that instead of molding the world to your desires you merely tinker with areas that are ripe for change which few leaders enjoy since it lacks any “I did this, it was me it was me!”

    I also wanted to note I thank you for the compliments over the last few days but I never really know how to react to compliments. Internally they just make me ponder my failings and make me note where I need to improve which is hard to explain when all that is needed is a thank you.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    DaGoat-Let us ponder, Gulf War I was rather popular though scary for many. By the end of that war I would have followed George H.W. Bush into hell. He had proven that he was not the type of leader that got us into Nam nor the type that ended it badly and belatedly. Panama and Grenada were not really fought against either but of course they are more akin to extreme no knock police raids rather than wars. Kosovo was mainly hated by the right due to NATO being in charge(which is valid though I do not see that as a problem) and in Somalia Clinton took flack though it was directly comparable to Reagan leaving Lebanon.

    I do not know if Reagan took flack over running from Lebanon because I was still to young but I know Clinton took heavy hits over Somalia.

    The only war in my lifetime that has been heavily protested against and fought against was Iraq. As we know now that was for very good reason. Every good piece of news was used as validation by supporters while anti’s never stopped grumbling and still grumble to this day BUT the protests lost steam when Bush signed the agreement to stay until a specific date with the Iraqi leadership.

    Some anti/pro war stances are purely political and hypocritical BUT if you look at that short history it does say that Iraq is an outlier AND for good reason. That is why I think for those still butt hurt that not everyone went along with Iraq should maybe ponder that the anti sentiment was more than merely politics or anti-American sentiment which is still how it is framed. I would also note that the Dem “blame America first” habit as it was dubbed has shifted into the GOP “credit America last” habit which is rather dark on a war that we supposedly agreed on for the most part(speaking of the pols here).

    I agree that some of it is about who the leader is and if you trust him. I would not have supported action on Iran by Bush II due to Iraq but now I am starting to come around if the circumstances were right because of how we have changed. This is mostly because I no longer think we would have any interest in occupation which is a huge problem for the US historically.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    In short I think some fought against Iraq or turned against it for reasons that later turned out to be very valid. This was rather exceptional in our history post-Nam. Supporters of the GOP and that war in general are now being vindictive for what they see as past political gamesmanship that for many was really about specific reasons. The likely result is a future of seesaw vindictiveness but I hope I am wrong.

    I would note though that the legal issue of Libya is a valid reason to be upset.

  • dduck

    Much soul searching and rear view mirror looking here today. And, no wonder why- war is the worst.
    My 2 cents. I have always been naive enough to believe that the people currently in charge, the gumint, are in the best position to judge the risks and rewards of wars, declared, hidden, cold, etc. Therefore, I have supported (if that is the right word, perhaps acquiesced is better)all of them from Korea on. I am not of the conspiracy crowd, so I think they have the country’s best interests at heart. And, yes, I think we all supported (including congress) and were all conned into the Iraq war by Iran intelligence. I believe there were, and will always be, mostly honest errors in judgment. But the game in politics is to be “loyal” to your party (read herd) and blame the other guys.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    TMSF,

    Thanks for your comments on Vietnam. You are so correct, and since you feel uncomfortable with compliments (an admirable trait), let me just say that this present comment is a statement of fact rather than a compliment. 🙂

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    dduck-The main reasons I didnt go for Iraq was #1 according to reports from Europe the yellow cake report was crap (and that is ignoring the guy they sent to Africa to investigate and then smeared him and his wife)and #2 I couldnt see Iraq as a threat to us short of that and we seemed to be flailing about looking for a reason to do what we already wanted to do which made me feel like we were being gamed…and we were.

    Around 40% of the US population didnt believe the story or didnt feel compelled to send troops to act on it. Iraq was handled unlike any invasion buildup and action in US history in many ways. The excuse was that it was partisan but what if it wasnt. I cant find any polls that break it down by party but I would note that support never broke ~60%. Though if we waited on the UN the support moved up to 67% which is rather far from the ~90% support for Afgh.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/7990/public-support-iraq-invasion-inches-upward.aspx

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    MSF says:

    “I would note though that the legal issue of Libya is a valid reason to be upset.”

    I agree, TMSF, but since when has such a little “technicality” kept any administration from pursuing their chosen course (torture, wiretapping, Watergate, aspects of Obama’s health care, etc., etc)

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Dorian-Heck when has such a technicality stopped them from screaming that they won from the rooftops! Of course that really isnt O’s style, like Reagan he tends to note how it went down and move on which is one of the things I like about him.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    TMSF says:

    “Dorian-Hindsight is a powerful thing and I was born in 75.”

    Wow, that makes you a youngster not quite 40 yet!

    Again, I don’t mean the following as a compliment, but rather as a sincere observation:

    Judging from the reasoned, insightful comments and supported by the “the Magical Sky Father” bit, I had you pegged at more or less my age.

    (When you find out what my age is, MSF, you may not consider this a compliment at all) 🙂

    You need not reply

  • SteveK

    I’ve been lurking in the bushes in hopes that Nick would eventually reply to gist of slamfu’s original comment and questions put to him regarding his comment on how he sees Iraq and Libya as the “same”.

    It appears that that is not going to happen.

  • DaGoat

    @MSF

    Kosovo was mainly hated by the right due to NATO being in charge(which is valid though I do not see that as a problem)

    I have to disagree with you on this. It was not the only reason and not even the major reason. The major problems people had with Kosovo were attacking a country that posed no direct threat to the US, lack of defined exit strategy and time commitment, lack of UN approval and Clinton’s promise not to use ground troops (which many took as a tactical error). I would add to those that it was hard sometimes to tell who were the good guys, as atrocities had been committed by both the Serbs and the KLA. The GOP tended to emphasize those concerns and the Democrats tended to down play them.

    When the Iraq War began many of those same concerns arose again, but the roles had changed with the GOP doing the downplaying and the Democrats raising concerns. Maybe there is some explanation for that other than partisanship but I doubt it. I would add that although WMD was the main reason for the war given by Bush, he also gave the additional justifications of deposing a tyrant and on humanitarian grounds similar to the arguments used against Milosevic. Many of those who felt those grounds were adequate to go after Milosevic did not for Hussein, and vice versa.

    I am not trying to justify Iraq, in retrospect it was probably a mistake although some good came from it. I am as guilty as anybody else in letting who’s in charge influence what I thought were my principles. It’s very hard to get past that in today’s political climate.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “What I am seeing is Democrats trying hard to justify their support of wars started by Democrats and criticism of wars started by Republicans, which I think supports Nick’s original point. They are essentially doing what Rush Limbaugh is doing on the GOP side.”

    Actually no.

    Just take a look at how many Democrats, Independents, non-Republicans, just on this thread have already categorically stated that they supported the Republican-Bush-led Afghanistan war. Also, how many Demorats, Independents, non-Republicans are having second thoughts about the war that is being continued by a Democratic president.

    I think drawing blanket conclusions as to Democratic partisanship and hypocrisy on these issues is flimsy and unwarranted. It would be like me categorically headlining an article:

    “More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy from Partisan Republicans” based on the fact that many Republicans opposed Clinton’s Kosovo intervention and, now, Obama’s Libya.

  • SteveK

    I am not trying to justify Iraq, in retrospect it was probably a mistake although some good came from it.

    Would you by any chance have a list of some of the “good” that has come out of Iraq? There are many that would like to see it… It would help tremendously with the guilt/shame thing that so many have regarding the unjustified, preemptive invasion of Iraq and the obscene waste of blood and money.

  • dduck

    That’s a MORE (sorry Dean).

  • dduck said: “I am not of the conspiracy crowd, so I think they have the country’s best interests at heart.”
    —————-
    I have don’t worry about whether they have the nation’s best interest or not. People can be both informed and sincere, but still be wrong.

  • DaGoat

    Would you by any chance have a list of some of the “good” that has come out of Iraq? There are many that would like to see it… It would help tremendously with the guilt/shame thing that so many have regarding the unjustified, preemptive invasion of Iraq and the obscene waste of blood and money.

    With the way you have framed the question, no I am not going to give you a list. I don’t want to go down that road in this thread.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    DaGoat-Ouch you schooled me. Kosovo I did lack focus on since it was a rather small engagement but I had no idea how close the pro/anti reasons and downsides truly had been between that and Iraq,good to know.

  • DaGoat

    @DDW

    I think drawing blanket conclusions as to Democratic partisanship and hypocrisy on these issues is flimsy and unwarranted.

    Are you saying blanket generalizations are not warranted only on the Democratic side? I am arguing both sides are heavily influenced by partisanship.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    SteveK-
    A brutal tyrant was deposed.

    Iraqi’s now have more control than they ever have over their own gov and lives.

    Iraqi’s are no longer being punished by sanctions used to harm said tyrant.

    That is just three and much more could be added but those are very solid goods that came from the action. If using hindsight it is good that transpired, the cost/benefit debate is different and separate but I find it hard to say that no good came from it because many good things did. Bad things happening do not erase good things they just help to calculate the cost/benefit ratio which is always much more precise in the rear view mirror.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “Are you saying blanket generalizations are not warranted only on the Democratic side?”

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say that

    This is what I said:

    “What I am seeing is Democrats trying hard to justify their support of wars started by Democrats and criticism of wars started by Republicans, which I think supports Nick’s original point. They are essentially doing what Rush Limbaugh is doing on the GOP side.”

    Actually no.

    Just take a look at how many Democrats, Independents, non-Republicans, just on this thread have already categorically stated that they supported the Republican-Bush-led Afghanistan war. Also, how many Demorats, Independents, non-Republicans are having second thoughts about the war that is being continued by a Democratic president.

    I think drawing blanket conclusions as to Democratic partisanship and hypocrisy on these issues is flimsy and unwarranted. It would be like me categorically headlining an article:

    “More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy from Partisan Republicans” based on the fact that many Republicans opposed Clinton’s Kosovo intervention and, now, Obama’s Libya.

  • dduck

    I certainly agree with you, Prof., they FU all the time.

    Also, I retract my asserted approval of the Korean war, I was too young

  • DaGoat

    It would be like me categorically headlining an article:

    “More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy from Partisan Republicans” based on the fact that many Republicans opposed Clinton’s Kosovo intervention and, now, Obama’s Libya.

    Based on my past experience as a GOP during the Clinton administration, you would be right to write such a headline. Do you think Democrats are somehow different?

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “Based on my past experience as a GOP during the Clinton administration, you would be right to write such a headline. Do you think Democrats are somehow different?”

    Please explain what you are getting at DG. You know, I am one of those low IQ Dem-Libs

  • DaGoat

    Forget it DDW, you are not low-IQ. Sorry I brought it up.

  • slamfu

    To be honest, I don’t know what the extent of a presidents power to drop bombs is. I know to declare war Congress must approve, but I also know airstrikes can be ordered by the CinC without having to get each one approved by Congress. As a full scale invasion was never ordered, or War declared, it seems we are in some middle ground. But a few other things to think about.

    Killing a dictator was never the goal in either of the two wars. Getting phantom WMD’s was the cause for Iraq, and preventing the destruction of a active rebellion in the name of freedom was the motivation for action in Libya. As far as I can tell we were simply giving a fledgling rebellion the time and breathing space it needed to do the job itself. This rebellion was going to be the one calling the shots as to what happens to Quadaffi(sp?) in the end, not the US or even NATO. Action was time sensitive.

    Second, when I said perfect regarding the operation, I meant in the execution. Seems we didn’t get too far in, but enough to achieve our goals, and this time we didn’t appoint ourselves liberators in a nation that didn’t particularly want our presence there after the guns stopped shooting. Libya is now in a position to take the next step not as a conquered people, but as a people of self determination. If it fails they have themselves to blame not some foreign power.

    Third, while I’m sure there was some justification for the Iraq war made by the capture of Saddam, and a lot of ink was written about it, no one really took that as a justification for the war. We were all glad to at least have something go right for a change in that fiasco people wanted to talk about it and beat their chests. Fair enough. But again this is different and not just because Quaddaffi is still on the lose. They have simply won. So yea, there are going to be those making political hay about it but isn’t that something we should be happy about? That a dictator has been toppled, a nation has a chance to control it fate for the first time in decades, and we had a helping hand in it. I can’t help but be proud of something we did on the international stage and I think we can all admit that is a strange feeling to most Americans these days.

    Last, and this is going to be contentious, we did something good. If Obama had tried to make a case before Congress to pull this off what would have happened? First, anyone saying they could pull it off without getting into another quagmire for years would have been laughed out of the room. We haven’t been able to do that since, well, forever. Second, even if anyone thought it was a good idea, there is every chance the GOP would have simply blocked it as they do everything else Obama tries to do. Even if its helping a country that is crying out for freedom and willing to actually rise up enough to fight for it. Somewhere up there someone mentioned that results aren’t what count, and that this event is tainted because the process was circumvented. Maybe so, but I can’t help but feel this turned out as well as we can have hoped when what we are talking about is people shooting eachother.

  • rudi

    slamfu – We haven’t declared war since WWII. We need stronger enforcement of the WPA…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_war_by_the_United_States

  • DaGoat

    Slamfu, so if a president thinks Congress might not approve a military action he should just go ahead and do it? OK yeah I can’t see any downside to that.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    DaGoat-I see huge downsides but I do think that is the reality in which we live and have been living for many decades.

  • SteveK

    You guys are doing a great job of distracting others from the actual topic of this post… But that’s nothing new!

  • Dorian said:

    Since you say that you have been extremely critical of both Democrats and Republican parties…” is it possible that, when it comes to foreign policy, especially the wars we have been discussing, there may also be hypocrisy from partisan Republicans? If so, where have you written about such with the same zeal as you are now describing Democrats hypocrisy.

    I recommend that you take a look at the following links:

    http://themoderatevoice.com/11604/the-gop-bait-and-switch/comment-page-1/#comment-65707 (March 19, 2007)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/12962/a-ron-paul-revolution/comment-page-1/#comment-81802 (May 22, 2007)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/13974/schadenfreunde-ah-schadenfreunde/comment-page-1/#comment-90107 (July 10, 2007)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/13974/schadenfreunde-ah-schadenfreunde/comment-page-1/#comment-90108 (July 10, 2007)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/14393/ron-paul-blasts-iraq-war-during-gop-debate/ (August 5, 2007)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/14507/cheney-in-1994-invading-iraq-would-create-quagmire/ (August 12, 2007)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/21271/john-mccains-neverending-war/ (July 23, 2008)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/22307/the-incredible-shrinking-president/ (September 1, 2008)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/62060/sarah-palins-keynote-speech-at-national-tea-party-convention/comment-page-1/#comment-249952 (February 7, 2010)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/62060/sarah-palins-keynote-speech-at-national-tea-party-convention/comment-page-1/#comment-250018 (February 7, 2010)

    http://themoderatevoice.com/119372/whither-the-anti-war-movement/ (August 11, 2011)

    Unfortunately, the TMV comment archives go back only as far as 2007, but fortunately, my memory goes back quite a bit further. Those of you who have been visiting TMV as long as I have will remember that from 2005 to 2006, pro-Bush and pro-Republican sentiment at TMV was quite a bit more notable than it is today. During that time, I was one of the leading voices at TMV criticizing the intellectual inconsistencies of the Republican Party on foreign policy.

    I daresay that I have not simply criticized Republicans with the same zeal as I have Democrats, but with more. And I believe my record in the TMV archives bears this out.

  • Dorian said:

    I think drawing blanket conclusions as to Democratic partisanship and hypocrisy on these issues is flimsy and unwarranted. It would be like me categorically headlining an article:

    “More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy from Partisan Republicans” based on the fact that many Republicans opposed Clinton’s Kosovo intervention and, now, Obama’s Libya.

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean by blanket conclusions. I hope you are not interpreting my argument as being a blanket generalization of all Democrats.

    When I was devising the title for my post, I momentarily considered More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy From Democrats before deciding that such a criticism would be interpreted much too broadly as a criticism of all Democrats or even against moderates or Independents who happened to support Obama on this particular issue. That’s why I decided to narrow my focus and go with More Foreign Policy Hypocrisy From Partisan Democrats. And I cited (via Glenn Greenwald) comments (which I considered to be both partisan and hypocritical) from Balloon Juice and ThinkProgress as evidence to bolster my argument.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Nick,

    While your very first link unfortunately has nothing to do with criticizing Republican partisan hypocrisy when it comes to “foreign policy, especially the wars we have been discussing,” (It was about fiscal and social issues), I do take your word for it that you have gone after Republicans for their hypocrisy when it comes to foreign policy with the same zeal as you do in the article at issue.

    And, having had to defend myself under similar circumstances, I do appreciate your time and effort to dig up all those links.

    Furthermore, I apologize for having doubted you.

    However, I hope that you will also understand that—as has been shown repeatedly in this thread by earnest readers—that people (i.e. Democrats) can disagree with their government’s policies, especially when it comes to wars —and flip-flop about them—, based on principle, beliefs. etc., reasons that have nothing at all to do with partisanship or hypocrisy or partisan hypocrisy.

    Thank you

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