Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Hangovers of a Libyan Lost Weekend

George W. Bush, who gave up binge drinking for piety and power, knew more about mornings-after than his successor now reeling from the aftermath of his first foreign-policy bender.

Everywhere he looks, Barack Obama is surrounded by weird little men with hammers pounding away at his skull. John Boehner, yes. John McCain, of course. Liberal Democrats, why not? Michael Moore and Andrew Sullivan, a not-too-surprising left-right duo. But there are specters from the political dead as well: Ralph Nader?

And just before it disappears behind a paywall, the New York Times contributes perhaps the strangest headache-inducer of all with its invisible OpEd columnist Ross Douhat (whatever happened to William Kristol?) claiming that "the Obama administration has delivered a clinic in the liberal way of war."

Say what?

"This is an intervention straight from Bill Clinton’s 1990s playbook," Douhat complains, "and a stark departure from the Bush administration’s more unilateralist methods...Instead, the Obama White House has shown exquisite deference to the very international institutions and foreign governments that the Bush administration either steamrolled or ignored."

Sounds good, but apparently we are missing something: "Because liberal wars depend on constant consensus-building...they tend to be fought by committee, at a glacial pace, and with a caution that shades into tactical incompetence...with one hand behind our back and an eye on the exits, rather than with the full commitment that victory can require."

Politics used to "stop at the water's edge," but apparently we now have conservative wars (good) and liberal wars (messy), and never the twain shall meet.

Those of us who have grave doubts about the Libyan adventure deserve a better debate about a President who has veered from his usual sobriety--and bipartisan hopes for the briefest national hangover from it all,

1 comment:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Exactly how many wars has the U. S. been entangled in by liberal presidents and liberal Congresses? (hint: World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, and on. And on.)