In an article titled “Samantha Power Goes to War,” Tom Hayden exposes the ideological underpinnings of Barack Obama’s war. Power, “special assistant to the president and member of his National Security Council,” is “the voice behind Obama’s Libya action” and is “one of the women officials [who lobbied] for military action, along with Hillary Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.”
Estrogen on steroids
The clear-eyed portrait Hayden paints of this Dublin-born human-rights agitator appeared in The Nation, a magazine of the ultra-left. Hayden says Power believes that “anyone primarily concerned with domestic priorities … must be an isolationist and thus an obstacle to the global struggle for human rights.” If Hayden – whose radical, progressive pedigree can be traced back to Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Jane Fonda – finds this “Irish internationalist” frightening, we should all be running for the proverbial hills.
Libya is a war of the womb. A product of the romantic minds of women who fantasize about an Arab awakening. It is estrogen-driven paternalism on steroids.
Assume (incorrectly), as Ms. Power does, that it is the U.S.’s role to stop injustices wherever they occur and vet the world’s leaders. Where’s the evidence of the Libyan killing fields, the massacres that were, allegedly, in process when Obama began strafing Libya?
Lauren of Arabia
At least when President Bill Clinton bombed Kosovo in 1999, also without the meaningless formality of Congress’ approval, there were those constant, awful, newsreel images. In Libya, the casus belli for war consists of nothing but silly assertions. This “angels and demons” approach befits a children’s Disney production: Once upon a time an evil dictator was killing his noble people. Then Lauren of Arabia rode to the rescue.
Try as they might, “humanitarian hawks” like Power, Susan Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the MSNBC phalanx cannot distinguish themselves from neoconservatives such as Bill Bennett, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, the folks at Fox and Sarah Palin. All have been champing at the bit to take the battle for Libya away from the Libyan people and put it where it belongs: the U.S. military.
The rigor mortis Right, in particular, has protested the operation not on points of principle, but on timing, strategy, mission statement and the degree of control exerted by Über America: Obama entered the fray too late, they say. He has relinquished their National Greatness agenda by sharing the cockpit with the Europeans. Only when the U.S. leads the world in a military operation can any good come of it, blah, blah, blah.
Judging from Hayden’s keen analysis, Power panted as hard for this latest war as did Palin – with one exception: Power was hot and heavy in the president’s ear. But bossy ladies on the left and the right are agreed: A good war must inspire. During an “On the Record” broadcast, with host Greta Van Susteren, Palin expressed her disappointment that the president’s war euphoria did not match hers. An inspirational war speech was the thing she craved. Following the lead of other countries – “getting in the back of the bus,” as she put it – didn’t do it for her.
Palin or Power: Let us be clear about what sets apart the Jacobins of the left from those on the right: When a Republican president prosecutes an illegal, unjust war, he is a war criminal; when his Democratic evil twin does the same, he is developing a “doctrine,” merely on a mission of mercy.
Murder by multilateralism
What matters to the Power wing of the bifurcated War Party is that the Tomahawk cruise missiles striking targets inside Libya have been launched courtesy of a multilateral force. Murder by multilateralism is not murder as long as it is committed by the collective, by the U.N. acting in cahoots with the U.S.
American foreign policy is something that could have been dreamed up on Oprah’s couch. Follow your feelings. Never say no to a rebel without a cause. American warriors, in arms and in armchairs, are convinced that repeating the word “rebel” enough times will transform the factions we are fighting for as a princess’ kiss transforms a toad.
As one of my more animated readers observed on my blog, these idiot savants find nuance where none exists: “Islamic awakening,” “moderate Palestinians,” “realistic communists,” “feminist Islamists.” Indeed, much has been made of the American singers who sang for their supper by singing for Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Nothing has been said of the intelligentsia that has sung his praise for all these years. (The same jet set still considers Mao no more than an agrarian reformer.)
Romanticism vs. pragmatism
The newly “liberated” Egyptians have a capable air force and a 450,000-man army. The Saudis are also able. But the Arabs have determined that less is more when it comes to the military operation the Arab League instigated. Why worry when an American “foreign policy caste” is impervious to the interests of its own countrymen and has already committed to furthering the whims of the seething Arab Street–whoever that comprises, wherever it is and whatever it wants.
The pragmatism evinced by Arab leaders was echoed in Ehud Barak’s perspective. Israel’s minister of defense and deputy prime minister politely applauded NATO and the U.S. for leaping to Libya’s rescue, but said the following about Operation Feel Good:
“It’s up to the Arab people to struggle for their rights; to change regime or impose corrections and new procedures in their internal political life.”
My sentiments exactly.
If indeed we’re subsidizing “freedom” for the Libyans and are fighting their battles, then we’ve also increased their impotence and diminished their initiative. Subsidize individuals because you believe they are helpless – and you’ll get more learned helplessness. Besides, what are these Libyans? Wards of the crumbling American Empire? Whatever happened to fighting your own revolutions?
Back on terra firma, our “rebels” are, I believe, in headlong retreat. President Obama will have to double his efforts in the Libyan theater to avoid looking like he’s losing. Libya, after all, is about legacy – more so than Iraq and Afghanistan, wars Bush began.
Nevertheless, with the offensive in Libya, Obama, idiotically, has lent legitimacy to all W’s wars.