Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Born-Again Antiwar Conservatives Denounce Obama's Libya War

Truly, we are living in Orwellian times. Not long ago, right-wing radio hosts were united in supporting America's Mideast wars. Then last week, President Obama attacked Libya.

That's a conundrum for right-wingers. Do they support American At War! against yet another Muslim nation -- or do they oppose their much-hated bogeyman, Barak Obama.

Well, the dust has cleared, and the Party Line is settled. With remarkable unity, right-wing radio hosts have become "born again antiwar, fiscally conservative, Constitutionalists." Marching in surprising lockstep (as though there really is a Party Line), they're all denouncing the Libyan War.

I guess they hate Obama even more than they love bombing Muslims.

I first began hearing conservative radio hosts denounce Obama's Libyan War on Sunday, March 20th. Since then, I've heard the following conservative radio hosts denounce the Libyan War: Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mancow, Michael Smerconish, Lou Dobbs, and
Mark Levin.

Their reasons for opposing the war include the Constitution (i.e., that Congress did not declare war -- and why was this not a problem when Bush attacked Afghanistan or Iraq?), the financial cost of war, the fact that we don't know which faction represents what principles (i.e., who will replace Gaddafi), and that innocent civilians are being killed.

Again, why were none of these valid concerns when Bush attack Afghanistan or Iraq?

Mike Savage suggested that Gaddafi's opposition includes al-Qaeda, and that this was one of Obama's motives. As Savage put it, "It seems that Obama never misses an opportunity to support radical Islam."

Apolitical shock jocks are taking a more moderate approach. Here in Los Angeles, the Bill Handel Show's "morning team" has remained supportive of intervention in Libya. And on the John and Ken Show, both John and Ken said that they can't bring themselves to give a damn about Libya, one way or another. As John put it, "Libya is just such a dirty, ugly nation." When Ken said that if the U.S. doesn't intervene, Libya may devolve into civil war, John replied, "Good. There's only six million of them. Maybe if there's a civil war, they'll all kill each other."

The Bill Handel and John and Ken shows are reputedly conservative, a charge that both shows deny. Bill Handel has even spoken favorably of socialized medicine. I agree that neither of these local, drive-time shows are representative of right-wing radio.

But right-wing radio hosts (as opposed to shock jocks) have seemingly embraced an "anti-Obama/anti-Libya War" Party Line. I thus expect that libertarian embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root will soon release his own anti-Libyan War screed, with special emphasis on bashing Obama. It's safe to do so now in conservative circles.

Authentic libertarians likewise oppose the Libyan War. And some may say, "So what if Root is following the conservative crowd? At least an anti-Libyan War position is correct."

Yes, the antiwar position is correct. But why a person advocates antiwar matters. If a person advocates antiwar out of sincerity, integrity, and courage, then you can be assured that person will continue to advocate antiwar when the going gets tough.

If, on the other hand, a person advocates antiwar out of craven opportunism, then that person is an unreliable ally. He'll only be antiwar so long it remains popular, and will switch to pro-war when that becomes more profitable.

In 2008, Ron Paul advocated antiwar to Republican howls and jeers -- and stood his ground. That's sincerity, integrity, courage -- that's real leadership!

In 2003, Karen Kwiatkowski was a Pentagon whistleblower on the Iraq War -- and was denounced by right-wingers for it. Kwiatkowski is a woman of substance -- and of sincerity, integrity, courage, and real leadership. (Read Kwiatkowski's latest piece.)

The antiwar movement needs real leaders, not fair-weather opportunists who are obsessed with a personal hatred for Obama. America's decades-long foreign policy fiascoes transcend any president.


Anonymous said...

Both Afghanistan and Iraq were authorized by congress, which I believe (it's entirely possible I'm mistaken, so I welcome corrections) is not the case with Libya. This distinction, if accurate, is a crucial one with implications for separation of powers.

Thomas said...

It's my understanding that:

1. Congress lacks authorization to "authorize" military action overseas.

The Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war, or not. That's it.

It was unconstitutional for Congress to "authorize" Bush to do as he will in Iraq or Afghanistan, and it was unconstitutional for Bush to accept.

Bush should have demanded that Congress declare war, or state that he would do nothing.

2. Even so, the Constitutional "living document" has so evolved (e.g. vague concepts like "police actions," or "authorizations" to do whatever is deemed necessary") that neither Bush's nor Obama's actions would be regarded as unconstitutional these days by the Supreme Court.

Were the Constitution properly interpreted, both Bush's and Obama's wars are easily unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, we never have a critical mass of people clamoring for strict construction. Both conservatives and liberals only demand strict Constitutional scrutiny when they're out of power.

faeriejems said...

Thomas, I liked this article so much that I've posted it on Independent Political Report. I hope that's okay. Would you like me to ask you before I post any of your work?

Jill Pyeatt

Thomas said...

It's okay, Jill.

But it'd be better if you could include all its embedded links.

paulie said...

I'm not sure Jill knows how to do that, and it's way too late for me to do that on the phone again, so I fixed it up with the embeds.

Jill, for future, please at minimum include a link back to the original (I added that as well).