Written by Daniel Greenfield
Obama's Libyan adventure has thrown a confusing wrench into the gears of the liberal reelection machine. Up until then it had been a fairly straightforward campaign, with the media touting an imaginary economic recovery, blaming a Republican congress for obstructionism, flirting with a government shutdown and organizing a labor pushback against economic reforms. Maybe taking some credit for Cairo. Simple enough. But Libya complicates things.
The Nutroots already weren't too happy about Iraq and Afghanistan, or Gitmo or the return of military trials. The left's anti-war energy had already completely dissipated. But they could always close their eyes and blame Bush. But there's no blaming Bush for Libya. For the war without congressional approval or a complete lack of planning, no exit strategy and unclear objectives. This is your War(TM) on Obama(TM).
Still wars boost the White House occupant's numbers... at least temporarily. Except Obama hasn't really utilized the imagery, failing to address the nation, instead declaring an undeclared war in between giving NCAA picks and while abroad on a trip to Rio. The optics were terrible. How could they not be. And calling it a "Kinetic military action" just brought back bad memories of man-caused disaster.
The Gallup poll numbers marginally back the war, by 47 percent, the lowest numbers for any military conflict in 30 years. Compare that to 76 percent for the War in Iraq. Reagan picked up 71 percent support for bombing Libya. Obama can barely get to within 20 percent of that.
The next lowest contenders are Clinton's adventures in Kosovo (%51) and Haiti (%54), which may highlight the problem. Support for military engagements comes heavily from conservatives. Liberal presidents lose much of that approval. And hard core liberals disapprove of most conflicts. That leaves liberal presidents with a much narrower base of support. But that's not what happened here.
57 percent of Republicans approve of bombing Libya, and only 51 percent of Democrats do. That's right. Bombing Libya has more support from Republicans than from Democrats. And a solid majority of independents opposes. And the Democrats are going to need those independents badly. Yet 44 percent of them disapprove of the Libya op.
Obama has lost independents and a third of democrats on Libya. That is not good news. And Americans are nearly equal cynical about Egyptian democracy. That leaves Obama with nothing in the way of popular foreign policy accomplishments to tout. Nothing. Zero. Zip.
But let's take an even closer look, which third of Democrats has Obama really lost?
Going by all the huffing and puffing from Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann, you might think that he lost liberals. The Nutroots have been big on anti-war action. But has Obama really lost them?
Rasmussen shows 45 percent support, 34 against for the war among not just respondents, but likely voters. Those numbers are similar enough to Gallup. But here's where it splits from Gallup and gets interesting.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of Democrats and a plurality (42%) of voters not affiliated with either major party support the president's decision to use U.S. military force in Libya. Just 36% of Republicans share that view. Liberals agree more strongly with the president's action than do moderates and conservatives.
According to Rasmussen, support breaks down along political lines, with the further left supporting and the further right you go opposing.
Other R numbers show only 34 percent of likely voters supported action on Libya and 47 percent of voters think Obama should have gotten congressional approval. Only 28 percent think Libya is important to national security. 42 percent say it's not. Not terribly comforting numbers for O.
But it wouldn't have been hard for Obama to improve on them. A few minutes in the Oval Office, some props, remembering Libyan terrorism, working in the Lockerbie bomber's welcome back party, some reassuring words about how much O loves the boys and girls in uniform. Boilerplate stuff, but it would have kicked up the numbers. So why didn't Obama do it?
Theory 1, he's a coward. He plays dodgeball on military issues, because he doesn't like the military and doesn't want to be associated with any wars. If he has to start a war, he'll do it from Rio.
Theory 2, it never occurred to him that he would need to get public support, just as it never occurred to him that he would need congressional support. It also never occurred to him that committing military personnel is a serious matter.
Pick your own theory. I suspect it's a combination of both.
In Chile, Obama puts forth his doctrine, defending the Libya mission by claiming that humanitarian interventionism is the “core principle that has to be upheld.”
But where was the humanitarian intervention in North Korea, where Khaddafi's actions would be a slow news day. And does anyone really believe we'll be going into Syria.
But after spending the Bush years marching around with "Dissent is Patriotic" banners, the best MSNBC/HuffPo goons like Cenk Uygur can offer is a new motto, "Dissent is Unpatriotic". Will that convince anyone? I don't think so.
Final bit of Libyan good news, that whole rebellion thing may not be working out much
Rebel fighters who once vowed to seize Tripoli from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi instead have retreated from their forward positions to defend their homes, saying their rebel council isn't leading them, they don't trust their military commanders and their army is divided.
His friend and fellow fighter, Mohammed Saleh Ojadee, 23, a mechanic shop owner turned rebel fighter, offers a more ominous prediction. He said he fears that the power vacuum, and the constant feeling of mistrust here, could spark a civil war, based on vengeance for acts of betrayal that happen during this uncertain period.
"The continuous unrest that is happening in Benghazi has never happened before. We are not used to it. I am afraid people will lose hope living under that pressure and turn on another," Ojadee said. "We need a leader."
Democracy. Right. This is absolutely going to work out well.
Al-Amin Bilhaj, a leading figure in the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and the President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) recently traveled to Benghazi, the headquarters of the rebel movement, according to Hresha.
Really. Really well. Just like in Egypt.
Speaking of Egypt... a shocking and completely unpredictable turn of events has occurred. A turn of events that absolutely nobody could have ever conceived of happening. An absolute impossibility.
It is also clear that the young, educated secular activists who initially propelled the nonideological revolution are no longer the driving political force — at least not at the moment.
As the best organized and most extensive opposition movement in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was expected to have an edge in the contest for influence. But what surprises many is its link to a military that vilified it.
Again absolutely unpredictable. Except National Review's Andrew C. McCarthy did predict it. Repeatedly.
Back in the beginning of February, McCarthy wrote, "Don't Count on Egypt's Army"
Read the Twitter accounts of Jan 25 activists and you see chaos, anger and despair. Why?
The new government that the protesters made possible went ahead and banned protests. You're reading that correctly.
The Egyptian cabinet approved yesterday a decree-law that criminalises strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way. The decree-law also assigns severe punishment to those who call for or incite action, with the maximum sentence one year in prison and fines of up to half a million pounds.
First rule of assassination is kill the assassins. First rule of a coup, make sure you can't be overthrown the same way.
And the authorities are abusing and humiliating arrested protesters.
After army officers violently cleared the square of protesters on March 9, at least 18 women were held in military detention. Amnesty International has been told by women protesters that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges.
But luckily Hillary Clinton's State Department is working on a plan to hand out a cell phone app that will erase address books from arrested protesters. Problem solved.
Now welcome to the new Egypt. The referendum was a showdown between the liberal activists and the Muslim Brotherhood. Guess who won and by how much.
Before the vote, Essam el-Erian, a Brotherhood leader and spokesman, appeared on a popular television show, “The Reality,” arguing for the government’s position in favor of the proposal. With a record turnout, the vote was hailed as a success. But the “yes” campaign was based largely on a religious appeal: voters were warned that if they did not approve the amendments, Egypt would become a secular state.
“The problem is that our country will be without a religion,” read a flier distributed in Cairo by a group calling itself the Egyptian Revolution Society. “This means that the call to the prayer will not be heard anymore like in the case of Switzerland, women will be banned from wearing the hijab like in the case of France,” it said, referring to the Muslim head scarf. “And there will be laws that allow men to get married to men and women to get married to women like in the case of America.”
A banner hung by the Muslim Brotherhood in a square in Alexandria instructed voters that it was their “religious duty” to vote “yes” on the amendments.
In the end, 77.2 percent of those who voted said yes.
The people voted. There's your Egyptian democracy.
Kristol concluded his attack on Krauthammer and Beck in mid-Feb by writing, "Egypt turns out to have its votaries of freedom. The Egyptian people want to exercise their capacity for self-government. American conservatives, heirs to our own bold and far-sighted revolutionaries, should help them."
Well we have. And the butcher's bill for that is growing.
Turning to the broader picture now, Western Rifle Shooters Association hosts an essay by Ann Barnhardt that gets right to the point
Given this reality, there are exactly two tactical options for the civilized world to choose from.
1. Completely isolate the muslim world. Let them have their caliphate but in a state of total quarantine.
This would involve establishing massive physical perimeter barriers on land and maintaining blockades at sea for all muslim territories. Presumably this would stretch from Morocco to Indonesia, and would be massively expensive both to construct and secure. In addition to this, all muslims would have to be expelled from all civilized nations and forcibly returned to muslim territory. In order for this to work, all civilized nations on earth would have to unite in solidarity against islam and cooperate fully and completely in building, maintaining and securing the borders.
Additionally, the quarantine would have to be TOTAL, meaning absolutely no interaction – including economic interaction. Therefore, before this strategy could be undertaken, the civilized world would need to completely free itself of any dependence on oil pumped from muslim territory.
2. Fight a Final Crusade and exterminate islam from the face of the earth once and for all.
Yep. I said it, and I mean it.
This option isn’t really an “option” at all, because this is where we are heading whether we like it or not. There is going to be a massive, final war between islam and the civilized world at some point. The only real question is, how long are we going to stall it off? A week? A month? A year? A decade? A century?
...There's a good deal to read at the link above
Finalizing the roundup, New Zeal covers the Right to Protect rationale for Libya.
Lisa Graas looks at more violence against Christians in Ethiopia
Elder of Ziyon reports that Iran is lending Syria's massacres a helping hand
Jim Campbell at Dancing Czars also urges people to join him in calling for the release of PFC Corey Clagett.
Finalizing the roundup. Earth Hour. Which is the hour where we sit in the dark and paint buffalo on the cave walls.
And in one of the dumber things ever, the IDF will be going dark for 'Earth Hour'.
Israel's military is observing "Earth Hour 2011," the IDF Spokesperson's Office stated from darkened offices on Thursday. As a result, the lights at numerous IDF installations - including the Kirya, Tel Hashomer, and Tzrifin bases - were turned off.
This is the fourth year in which the IDF has turned off lights for "Earth Hour," and the first year a group of officers and soldiers will take part in the main "Earth Hour" concert at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Soldiers from the IDF's Technology and Logistics Branch, who are involved in environmental protection and energy conservation on a daily basis, will participate in pedaling the bikes that will provide power to the concert.
Please note, that rockets are falling on Israel, yet instead of retaking Gaza and dealing with those responsible, IDF soldiers and officers have been assigned to provide power for the concert by pedaling bikes.
This isn't just insanity. It's complete madness. This is how civilizations die, murdered by the idiots and lunatics at the top, whose lunacy takes the form of embracing fashionable ideas, while ignoring practical realities.
You might think this is just Israel, but it's not.
Earth Hour has grown big in India with 11,500 schools committing to the campaign and almost all government institutions, including the Army, participating in it.
There have also been touching individual efforts. One man in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, is spending Rs 15,000 of his own money to run the campaign while students of a school without power in Madhya Pradesh will light candles to observe the day.
Now this is a country with a 65 percent electrification rate that is shutting down power for what? Because a country with 65 percent electrification rate is using too much power?
Even under Obama, the US military has somehow avoided participating in this.
“Use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light,” says UN Sec General Ki Ban Moon.
Former Vice President Al Gore is asking Democratic activists to send donations to House Democrats’ campaign arm as a check on the “extreme elements in control of today’s Republican Party.”
But in line with the spirit of Earth Hour as elucidated by Ki Ban Moonbeam, wouldn't the best way to support the Democratic party be by not supporting them?
Think about it, only by not sending them a check can you help them see the light
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.