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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A STUDY IN CONTRASTS

"for promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a new climate in international relations, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world."
-Part of the reason President Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize

Silence of the Left
Watching the Libyan conflict unfold is a study in contrasts. Consider the differences between the invasion of Iraq under President Bush and the attack on Libya under President Obama. The differences between the two presidents and the response to their actions has been rather stark.

Months before the actual invasion of Iraq began, President Bush brought his argument to the American people, using speeches, interviews, and his administration writing editorials for various news sources. President Bush tried to convince the American people of the necessity of his plan and why.

By contrast, President Obama went to the UN and started taking action. He did not seek to convince anyone in the public of what he was doing, nor gain public support.

President Bush sought congressional approval for his military efforts, while President Obama did not even seem to consider it. In fact, he recently released a statement declaring such approval was unnecessary.

President Bush led the way, going to the UN to build a coalition of dozens of nations from nearly every continent on earth. President Obama went to the UN in response to bold leadership by the United Kingdom and France, waiting until someone else took the initiative.

Protesters began large, repeated, and loud protests against President Bush long before any actual military action took place. By contrast, protesters only started to complain about President Obama after the attacks had started, and they are not only few in number but scattered. International A.N.S.W.E.R. has not staged huge rent-a-mob protests in any country.

When this conflict began, there were 100 protesters out front of the White House... holding a rally over the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

Meanwhile, President Bush was called a cowboy, a rash, warmongering extremist leading the nation into a Vietnam-like quagmire, while President Obama is being praised for his diplomatic skills in getting so swift an agreement to US action.

The media is supportive and protective of President Obama's actions, with the New York Times running editorial after article about the need to stop Qadaffi and even remove him from power. Now that the military action has started, the pattern continues. NBC's Andrea Mitchell gushed about how wonderful President Obama's handling of the Libyan situation has been.

Then there's the contrast of opinions before this event and after it. Vice President Joe Biden said about President Bush and Iraq:
The Constitution is clear: except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force.
Actually the Constitution says nothing of the sort, but that's Joe Biden for you. Hillary Clinton, Obama's Secretary of State said:
If the country is under truly imminent threat of attack, of course the President must take appropriate action to defend us. At the same time, the Constitution requires Congress to authorize war. I do not believe that the President can take military action – including any kind of strategic bombing – ...without congressional authorization.
Now? Well Hillary Clinton pushed for this military action and Biden stands by his president. Charles Rangel has again pushed for the draft.

And perhaps the greatest contrast between President Obama and President Bush is that while the Bush team had a clearly laid out and prepared plan of action, what followed, and what would mean an end to US efforts, the Obama team seems to have nothing of the sort.

One cannot help wondering why it is that helping the people of Libya free themselves from a brutal dictator is so right that we must take military action, while freeing the people of Iraq from an even more brutal dictator who was supporting, training, and harboring terrorists was such a moral atrocity, according to President Obama.

The contrasts here are quite significant and unavoidable, but few in the press seem to want to even consider them.

*image courtesy Slublog at Ace of Spades HQ

**UPDATE: From Gateway Pundit we get this contrast, President Obama vs President Obama. In 2009, he said:
The message I hope to deliver is that democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion — those are not simply principles of the west to be hoisted on these countries. But, rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity, the danger, I think, is when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture.
But now, the story is changing:
The White House is shifting toward the more aggressive goal in Libya of ousting President Muammar Gadhafi and “installing a democratic system,” actions that fall outside the United Nations Security Council resolution under which an international coalition is now acting, according to a conversation between President Obama and Turkey’s prime minister.
The contrasts keep coming.

13 Comments:

Blogger Philip said...

In essence, this is a repeat of the Clinton Administration's foreign policy response, where the State Department routinely trumped the Pentagon (Madame Albright's comment: "What's the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can't use it?").

The difference now is that the French aren't selling out the US like they did in Kosovo and Iraq.

6:35 PM, March 22, 2011  
Blogger Lance said...

By contrast, protesters only started to complain about President Obama after the attacks had started...

Whoa, hang on. The anti-war protesters didn't know Obama was going to war any sooner than the rest of us. You can hardly ding them for not protesting when you've just dinged Obama himself for not taking the time to inform (let alone convince) anyone of his aims.

8:23 PM, March 22, 2011  
Blogger Donald Sensing said...

But Obama's mission in Libya probably has already been accomplished.

This administration, including Ms. Clinton, has placed American military employment subservient to the United Nations and, most particularly, the Gulf States. Although some US critics have called the Libya intervention a "cowboy" action no different from the (presumed) cowboy actions of G.W. Bush, it's more than obvious that Obama does not see it that way.

Community organizer that he is at heart, this president believes that only the "international community" (of which there is no such thing, but let that pass) can authenticate or authorize military actions by the United States. Since in this case the target is an Arab country, the endorsement of the Persian Gulf states was required. Since the Congress represents neither the "international community" nor the Arab states, then not only is Congress's authorization not needed, it would actually be counter-productive by maintaining the unjust position that America's national self-interest is predominant. This compulsion to subordinate US military operations to the "international community" also explains why the president has vowed to hand operational control of American forces over to a European authority (just who is yet to be determined).

By at least conceptually placing America's interests and the use of its military second or third to the "international community's," Secretary Clinton and President Obama likely believe that their main purpose in this intervention has already been accomplished, no matter the outcome on the ground in Libya.

8:26 PM, March 22, 2011  
Blogger Steve said...

While I agree with your examples of hypocrisy, I will remain consistent and support the President in war. Even if he is screwing it up royally.

http://rabidsanity.blogspot.com/2011/03/impeach-obama.html

8:26 PM, March 22, 2011  
Anonymous Christopher Taylor said...

The white house advisors discussed military action in Libya for a week before going to the UN. Then we went to the UN and didn't get an answer back for a day.

Where were the protesters? Contrast that with the instant protests ginned up to oppose President Bush.

9:20 PM, March 22, 2011  
Blogger Ritchie The Riveter said...

The message I hope to deliver is that democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion — those are not simply principles of the west to be hoisted on these countries. But, rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity, the danger, I think, is when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture.

Even when they are HUMAN values that transcend history/culture/religion ... and to not adopt them leads to oppression and death ... and leads to those wars without end your Re-, er, Progressive fellow-travelers kept warning us about during Mr. Bush's term, as we keep having to send our Men and Women into the same addresses on Harm's Way?

In other words, Mr. Obama, you believe in the Progressive dictum that responsibility is only for the deep-pocketed and respectful ... and that these dysfunctional nations are little children that have no responsibility to act better?

Apparently, you don't believe in the very justification for the founding of our own nation ... that a government "destructive of these ends" (i.e. securing life and liberty) is inherently illegitimate and therefore worthy of removal ... especially when the effects of said destruction now inevitably leaks beyond its borders to affect the rest of us?

Bosnia 2.0, here we come ...

9:49 PM, March 22, 2011  
OpenID edgeofthesandbox said...

I'm here via Instapundit.
A huge problem with Bush's "rush to war" was that it was too drawn out. He gave time for opposition to ferment. Going through the UN did nothing apart from inflaming anti-American sentiment.
Obama's decision was made over a couple of days...

9:52 PM, March 22, 2011  
Blogger Ronny said...

Libya vs. Iraq
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAyCdfOXvec

11:10 PM, March 22, 2011  
Blogger Pete E said...

One difference that works in Obama's favor is that Libya is a currently unfolding humanitarian crisis. Whereas, Iraq's crisis was over and had settled into a slower-paced ongoing disaster.

1:56 AM, March 23, 2011  
Anonymous Tryptic said...

Democrat Dictionary -

multilateral (adjective) - when the United States acts in concert with other nations, so long as France is involved. See Libya, 2011.

unilateral (adjective) - when the United States acts in concert with other nations, but without French participation. See Iraq, 2003.

3:44 AM, March 23, 2011  
Blogger Bandit said...

Obana continues to reach out to the Muslim world - this time with tomahawk missiles

4:22 AM, March 23, 2011  
Anonymous Bigol said...

If the world was consistent this would be the headlines today…

http://herbegerenews.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/monday-21-march-2011-war-protest/
MILLIONS MARCH ON CAPITOL
Obama pleads for "patience“
It is the protests sweeping throughout the United States during the past four days and the prospect of other demonstrations to come

Bigol

6:55 AM, March 23, 2011  
Blogger Philip said...

Y'know, I might be wrong about it being Bosnia 2.0

More like Suez 2.0

5:06 PM, March 23, 2011  

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