At the risk of making it seem like there is no debate amongst Liberals on the issue of whether action in Libya is justified, the Pew Research polling data could not be more clear on one point: support for Libya action would be nearly unanimous if it weren’t for a purely partisan divide that is wholly unsupportable with logic:
Goal of Libyan Operation Less Clear to Public | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
That those in the middle of the political spectrum are split on the issue is I think entirely predictable: shit, I’m waaay over there on the left and I’m a bit split on the issue, myself. That Democrats are split on the issue is also not surprising for the same reason. But look at the fucking Republicans! Same people who supported Iraq and Afghanistan with rabid intensity – the same people who forever deride Democrats as cowards because we might not bomb someone as a first option – suddenly find themselves to be “Conscientious Objectors™” in the face of Obama’s first military incursion.
That’s just rich as hell.
What feels good and what is morally or legally defensible are often not quite the same things. For example, it is difficult to find any reason to have sympathy for Qadaffi in Libya and more than ample reason to be inspired by the struggle for democracy across the Middle East. So, seeing the European powers and America rush into Libya with guns blazing, playing calvalry to the beleaguered resistance has a certain movie hero appeal.
But here’s the thing: its grossly illegal for the President of the United States to do what Barack Obama has chosen to do in aiding Europe as he himself has previously acknowledged. Yet in the Survey USA poll released today, nowhere in the opinion questions is even the hint that what has transpired was at all illegal:
SurveyUSA News Poll #18057.
I’m sure that intervening in Libya is the right thing to do, both for moral and political reasons, as one commenter on Talking Points Memo recently pointed out. But in doing so, the President is violating the law. And nobody seems interested in that. Guess it must just be different with a Democratic president?
Pew puts out polling data that says, I think quite predictably, that people are generally pretty wary of getting involved in #Libya. There’s really no reason to think they wouldn’t be:
Public Wary of Military Intervention in Libya: Overview – Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
What is strange is: to contrast our current opinion polls with something in the recent past, Pew chooses to go with Kosovo and Darfur. Well, this isn’t really the same thing, is it? Both Kosovo and Darfur were ethnic cleansing situations, where a much more powerful group imposed brutal punishment on another simply for being different. Libya is a revolution, where a very organized opposition is making a stand against their nominal head of state. Why do those three belong in the same comparison in the first place?
I think its also worth pointing out that, unlike the international liberalism of the Clinton Administration and the international troublemaking of the Bush Administration, the general tone of respect and deference for the private affairs of other nations exhibited by the Obama Administration has made a positive impact in the sometimes nosy inclinations of the American polling public.
Ever since distancing himself from the Bush Administration when it was painfully obvious that the Iraq War was a clusterfuck, Charles Krauthammer must have been itching for a reason to tell us he was right all along. So now that “freedom is on the march,” as the phrase goes, he’s gotta climb out of his ideological bunker and get his digs in. Surprised it took so long:
Charles Krauthammer – From Baghdad to Benghazi.
So, to distill it down to the essences – because man, is there a lot of logical fallacy horseshit in there – the Bush Administration’s policy of encouraging democracy at the tip of the spear was right all along, but Obama’s been too slow to realize it. Never mind that there is a surprisingly-obvious and unsubtle difference between verbally and diplomatically supporting regime change that’s already in progress because of a revolution and just barging into another country with visions of democracy.
Oh, and the last line is the line I’ve been waiting for all along: “Facebook and Twitter have surely mediated this pan-Arab (and Iranian) reach for dignity and freedom. But the Bush Doctrine set the premise.”
Before the Iraq War, we were told that the Middle East was just aching for democracy. That now appears to have been entirely, demonstrably correct. But what Krauthammer is now arguing is that, because it was going to happen anyway, the Bush Administration’s bumbling escapade in Iraq wasn’t just a catalyst, but the “premise” itself. He has entirely inverted the argument and come out looking just totally fucking awesome.
That people manage to cobble together a self-governing system in Iraq – the birthplace of human civilization – is not a sign of the efficacy of the Bush Doctrine: it is a predictable outcome. Events that happen in order do not prove causality: the rooster does not cause the sun to rise, and likewise, the Iraq War did not precipitate the Middle Eastern awakening that is in progress.
So, now that prices at the pump have risen to the level the national media has decided is worth investigating, maybe we aught to see it in the context of other disruptions to the oil flow. And what is the result of that analysis? Well, Business Insider gives us the chart of the day:
CHART OF THE DAY: Where Libya Ranks Among The Worst Oil Disruptions Of All Time.
I notice that neither Katrina nor the Gulf Oil Spill rank. But it does rank above the Iraq War, and we know what that did to oil prices.