A Liberal and Libya as the Worm Turns

J. Robert Smith
John Judis, writing for the New Republic, chides his fellow liberals for not backing Barack Obama's move into Libya.  Judis, in his defense of President Obama's Libya action, sounds suspiciously like an evil Bushie (as in a George W. Bush stalwart) -- or a Bushie as caricatured by liberal propaganda.  Might liberals say that Judis is channeling Donald Rumsfeld?   

Judis asks liberals to weigh three questions when judging Barack Obama's decision to throw in with France and Great Britain to do something in Libya.  Judis asks liberals if they'd prefer:  

(1) That gangs of mercenaries, financed by the country's oil wealth, conduct a bloodbath against Muammar Qaddafi's many opponents?

(2) That Qaddafi himself, wounded, enraged, embittered, and still in power, retain control of an important source of the world's oil supply, particularly for Europe, and be able to spend the wealth he derives from it to sow discord in the region?

(3) And that the movement toward democratization in the Arab world -- which has spread from Tunisia to Bahrain, and now includes such unlikely locales as Syria -- be dealt an enormous setback through the survival of one of region's most notorious autocrats?
Let's be presumptuous and answer Judis' questions for our liberal brethren, shall we? 

To Judis' first question, no, liberals, like all decent Americans, don't want to see bloodbaths anywhere.  But across the face of the globe, there is strife and civil wars and tyrants who are determined to rub out their opponents. 

Is the United States to be the world's cop?  Liberals left the policing-the-world business years ago, even if the United Nations' sanctions it.  Shouldn't the United States allow different peoples in different cultures to work things out in their own ways?  And who are Americans to label Gaddafi or other nations' leaders in any fashion?  Aren't liberals post-judgmental?

Second question.  Here Judis steps -- not tiptoes -- into President Bush's alleged reason for invading Iraq: oil.  Jeepers.  How can something so crass, so unseemly a consideration as oil, factor into an American intervention in Libya?  Does Judis expect liberals to engage America's military in an effort to secure oil, regardless the reason? 

Third, why is Judis presuming that democracy is spreading throughout the Middle East?  Isn't it more like unrest at this juncture?   And isn't aiding and abetting the spread of democracy a neo-con strategic assertion that dates back to the U.S. invasion of Iraq?  You know, what the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol and others on the right were peddling? 

Why is democracy so desirable?  Once again, Judis is taking western constructs -- democracy  and, one supposes, the rule of law -- and imposing them on other peoples.  Haven't liberals concluded that "other peoples" aren't ready for western democracy?

Finally, Gaddafi -- wanting to sow regional discord and impede the spread of democracy?  Weren't similar arguments used by those black-hat neo-cons about Saddam Hussein?

Seems that Judis is going to the wrong cocktail parties and picking up the wrong ideas.  Maybe a little sit-down with Dennis Kucinich would do Judis some good. 
John Judis, writing for the New Republic, chides his fellow liberals for not backing Barack Obama's move into Libya.  Judis, in his defense of President Obama's Libya action, sounds suspiciously like an evil Bushie (as in a George W. Bush stalwart) -- or a Bushie as caricatured by liberal propaganda.  Might liberals say that Judis is channeling Donald Rumsfeld?   

Judis asks liberals to weigh three questions when judging Barack Obama's decision to throw in with France and Great Britain to do something in Libya.  Judis asks liberals if they'd prefer:  

(1) That gangs of mercenaries, financed by the country's oil wealth, conduct a bloodbath against Muammar Qaddafi's many opponents?

(2) That Qaddafi himself, wounded, enraged, embittered, and still in power, retain control of an important source of the world's oil supply, particularly for Europe, and be able to spend the wealth he derives from it to sow discord in the region?

(3) And that the movement toward democratization in the Arab world -- which has spread from Tunisia to Bahrain, and now includes such unlikely locales as Syria -- be dealt an enormous setback through the survival of one of region's most notorious autocrats?
Let's be presumptuous and answer Judis' questions for our liberal brethren, shall we? 

To Judis' first question, no, liberals, like all decent Americans, don't want to see bloodbaths anywhere.  But across the face of the globe, there is strife and civil wars and tyrants who are determined to rub out their opponents. 

Is the United States to be the world's cop?  Liberals left the policing-the-world business years ago, even if the United Nations' sanctions it.  Shouldn't the United States allow different peoples in different cultures to work things out in their own ways?  And who are Americans to label Gaddafi or other nations' leaders in any fashion?  Aren't liberals post-judgmental?

Second question.  Here Judis steps -- not tiptoes -- into President Bush's alleged reason for invading Iraq: oil.  Jeepers.  How can something so crass, so unseemly a consideration as oil, factor into an American intervention in Libya?  Does Judis expect liberals to engage America's military in an effort to secure oil, regardless the reason? 

Third, why is Judis presuming that democracy is spreading throughout the Middle East?  Isn't it more like unrest at this juncture?   And isn't aiding and abetting the spread of democracy a neo-con strategic assertion that dates back to the U.S. invasion of Iraq?  You know, what the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol and others on the right were peddling? 

Why is democracy so desirable?  Once again, Judis is taking western constructs -- democracy  and, one supposes, the rule of law -- and imposing them on other peoples.  Haven't liberals concluded that "other peoples" aren't ready for western democracy?

Finally, Gaddafi -- wanting to sow regional discord and impede the spread of democracy?  Weren't similar arguments used by those black-hat neo-cons about Saddam Hussein?

Seems that Judis is going to the wrong cocktail parties and picking up the wrong ideas.  Maybe a little sit-down with Dennis Kucinich would do Judis some good.