An evil Arab dictator has been in power for decades. He personally controls his country’s vast oil wealth. A sponsor of terrorism, he has provoked the West to take military action against him in the past. Islamic fundamentalists despise him as much as the West does. When his people rise up against him, he murders them ruthlessly. The United Nations Security Council has passed resolutions condemning him. An American president, intent on promoting democracy in the Middle East, demands that the dictator abdicate. When the dictator fails to leave, the American president authorizes the use of military force. Our “allies,” including Great Britain, are asked to help. The endgame for the use of force is unclear.
Sound familiar? No, we’re not talking about Moammar Qaddafi and Barack Obama. We’re talking about Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush. The difference is this: in almost the exact same set of circumstances, Bush was called “Hitler” by the Left. Leftists wrote plays and stories and movies about killing him. Democratic Party politicians, like Sen. Dick Durbin, likened our troops to “Nazis.” Democratic Senators like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, who voted for the military action, accused the president of lying. Mass demonstrations and protests, sponsored by the communist and socialist Left, broke out in the U.S. and Great Britain. Antiwar groups like Code Pink staged demonstrations at military recruiting stations, and had to be dragged shrieking from the halls of Congress. Opponents of the war shouted that Saddam’s Iraq never attacked us, and that our military action was a violation of international law. The Left cried for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.
President Obama has just committed American forces to engage in acts of war against Moammar Qaddafi. Where are the protesters? Where are the accusations that Obama is a liar and a Nazi? Where are the groups of “artists” wishing death upon the “warmonger” Obama? Where are the cries for Obama’s impeachment? There aren’t any, and there won’t be any, either. Obama – who made a fetish out of his opposition to the “surge” in Iraq, yet ordered a “surge” of his own in Afghanistan – has just committed American forces to combat action against a third Muslim country. No matter. He won the Nobel Peace Prize a priori. The Left regards him as a man of peace in its own mind; the facts are irrelevant.
The Left’s hypocrisy on matters of war and peace is sickening. When the Democratic Party is in power, it routinely commits America to war. When Republicans are in power, Democrats engage in shameless demagoguery and paint the Republicans as bloodthirsty warmongers.
In the 1996 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Bob Dole raised some hackles when he said that the majority of American lives lost in combat in the 20th century had been lost in “Democrat wars.” Well, Dole was right. Democrat Woodrow Wilson sent American forces to Europe in 1917 not for concrete American interests but for the hazy notion of making the world “safe for democracy.” 100,000 were killed. Germany became democratic, all right, and in 1932 the Nazi Party won enough seats in the Reichstag to get Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor.
When World War II broke out in Europe, Americans wanted neutrality. Democrat Franklin Roosevelt wanted involvement, but public opinion would not allow him to send troops when the British were being bombarded by the Luftwaffe in 1940. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Congress rightly declared war on them; but commander-in-chief Roosevelt committed American forces first to North Africa, then to Italy, then to Germany. Japan, the only Axis power to actually attack the U.S., was defeated last. 400,000 Americans were killed.
Democrat Harry Truman sent American forces to defend South Korea after communist North Korea invaded in 1950. The communists believed they had a green light to attack when Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson failed to include South Korea in America’s defense “perimeter.” Truman refused to use nuclear weapons to save American lives. End result: 50,000 American dead for a stalemate. Sixty years later, communist North Korea is still there, and now it has nuclear weapons.
Democrat John Kennedy began American involvement in Vietnam, and Democrat Lyndon Johnson escalated the war, sending 500,000 American troops. End result: 58,000 American dead, and a humiliating withdrawal. When Republican Richard Nixon was elected in 1968, he promised to end American involvement in Vietnam; yet he and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger are regarded as “war criminals” by the Left.
Democrat Bill Clinton sent American warplanes to bomb Serbia, which never attacked us; and on Dec. 16, 1998 (which just happened to be the night before he was to be impeached) Clinton ordered four days of bombing missions against Iraq. Did anyone call him “Hitler” or a “war criminal”?
By contrast, Republicans have been reticent to commit American forces to combat operations, and have acted decisively when they have. It was Eisenhower who produced a cease-fire in Korea, refused to commit troops to Vietnam, and warned us of the “military-industrial complex.” It was Reagan who committed aid but not troops to anti-communists in Nicaragua, and acted decisively and quickly in Grenada. Partially as a result of Reagan’s defense build-up, the USSR collapsed without a shot being fired by American forces. And it was George H.W. Bush who produced quick, decisive victories with almost no casualties in Kuwait and Panama.
Democrats and liberals commit American forces to war promiscuously because they are arrogant and cocksure that their gassy ideals about “democracy” and the “international community” are correct and everybody else is stupid. Woodrow Wilson, the college professor, vowed to “teach Mexico to elect good men.” When he went to Versailles in 1919, he was accompanied by a group of professors nicknamed “The Inquiry” who were going to fix the world. FDR had his famous “Brain Trust,” and Kennedy and Johnson had the “Best and Brightest.” The world thought otherwise.
By contrast, Republicans have been concerned with concrete American interests. When Bush invaded Iraq, making sure that Saddam did not possess weapons of mass destruction that could be given to terrorists was indeed a concrete American interest. He went “off the reservation” when the mission morphed into creating an Iraqi democracy.
What are the concrete American interests in Libya? If promoting a “democratic” uprising in the Middle East is our goal, what do we do if Qaddafi is replaced by America-hating Muslim fundamentalists in a democratic election? And why didn’t we call for a “no-fly zone” in Iran during the uprising of 2009? If promoting democracy in the Middle East is our goal, should we back the protesters trying to overthrow Saleh in Yemen? Should we back the Shi’ite uprising in Bahrain — home of the U.S. 5th Fleet? If there is an uprising against the royal family in Saudi Arabia, should we commit American forces to help overthrow King Abdullah?
Who knows how this will end? Surely not Obama. Like virtually all military interventions instigated by the Democrats, the Libya involvement is not well thought out at all. And Democrats will not concern themselves with opposing war until the next Republican is in power.