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3/31/2011
SPRINGTIME HAS BECOME THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT
CATEGORY: Politics

I missed writing my annual paean to the change of seasons this year. In the past, this site has sung the praises of the return of the robin, the blooming of the dogwood, the eternal hope engendered by opening day at Wrigley Field, and the quiet joy that feeling the warmth of the sun on my face after months of bitter cold brings to my fatalistic Irish soul.

I just didn’t have it in me this year. I am restless, irritable, snarky, sneeringly condescending, and hopelessly cynical about the future.

Yeah - a real fricking joy to be around. Just asky my Zsu-Zsu.

Since this blog has always been an aid to self-examination, I thought I would put to words the utter helplessness I feel about the turn that conservatism has taken and how just now, at the very moment that the United States needs a rational, deliberate response to the radicalism of the Democrats and Obama, the right has flitted off into NeverNever Land on the wings of conspiracy and unreasoning hatred.

Andrew Sullivan a few days ago:

Conservatism cannot be defined as whatever is the most extreme right-wing narrative of the moment. Time matters. Conservatism needs to be flexible enough a governing philosophy to be able to correct for conservative ideology itself. When such an ideology threatens fiscal balance, a prudent foreign policy, and a thriving middle class, it has become the enemy of real conservatism, not its friend.

Sullivan still thinks that the National Journal’s #1 liberal senator of 2007 (he was #10 in 2006 and #16 in 2005) with a lifetime ADA rating of 95 is a moderate “pragmatist.” I want you to imagine that instead of Obama, the senator’s name was Jim DeMint and the ratings were for most conservative senator. Would Sullivan or anyone who agrees with him say that DeMint was a moderate pragmatist? Sullivan being so desperate to convince himself of Obama’s pragmatism is one of the great continuing public self-deceptions in the history of the internet.

But he’s right about conservatism. The radical ideologues who are pushing, crowding, and denouncing what they want to call “establishment” Republicans are compounding the inconsistencies and creating new hypocrisies that are destroying the right’s ability to adequately counter the expansion of government power that we have seen over the past decade - revved into high gear by the Obama administration.

EPA rules on CO2, health insurance “reform” that sets the stage for massive government interference in the health care of individuals, consumer “protection” from our own stupidity, rules, rules, and more rules on everything from what we can eat to narrowing choices in the marketplace - at the point of a gun for the most part. What is it about forcibly compelling Americans to do what is best for themselves that makes the left so happy about itself? God knows.

But the radical right has failed to stop any of it, and has, in fact, made it easier for the radical liberals to achieve their goals. The only thing that has saved us from total immolation is that the liberals have screwed up the economy so badly with slow growth/no growth policies deliberately designed to punish success and business creation, that the American voter threw them out of power in disgust. Mistaking voter rejection of Democrats with approval of their radical agenda, the right is now in the process of giving back to the Democrats in 2012 what they lost in 2010. It is rare when so many are so demonstrably self-deluded.

It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You see the torn up track ahead of the engine; you watch as the engine goes off the rails; you freeze as, car by car, the train rolls off the track, piling up into a tragic heap of twisted metal. And there is nothing whatsoever you can do to stop it.

The blind support for personalities like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, the clutching at conspiracy theories ranging from Obama’s birth to the authorship of his autobiography, the incomprehensible incoherence of the right’s desire to govern as a one party dictatorship while claiming to want a “return” to constitutional principles - all of this and more has made conservatism (in the eyes of many) a “riot of conceits” as R. Emmett Tyrell referred to liberalism at one time.

Note on the “one party dictatorship” crack: If you refuse to accept anything less than 100% of your position on an issue, eschewing negotiations with the opposition, while openly talking about destroying them, one can only conclude that you favor the GOP as the sole party to run the government. This is especially true if you seek to punish those conservatives who wish to govern by getting things done - only accomplished by negotiating with the opposition. Calling that a “betrayal” is not only ignorant, but reveals an unlovely authoritarian streak that proves many on the right more concerned with gathering power to destroy their enemies than governing the United States.

If the desire for compulsion rules the left, resentment against change and the modern world appears to rule the right. Sarah Palin is a master at tapping into the resentment against a changing America whose demographics are getting less white, less rural, and relatively poorer. And more tolerant. In this, the right is being left behind as American society begins to accept those who, 50 years ago, would have been shunned - or worse. Not just homosexuals, but also women, the handicapped, immigrants, other religions - the struggle for acceptance by these and others is an American story; as American a tale as the Alamo or Gettysburg. At bottom, American history is a history of people and their struggle to realize the promise found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The telling of it reaffirms who we are and what values we should most hold dear.

But many on the right want the same verities that comforted their grandparents to somehow still be true today. Yes, there are timeless principles to be passed from generation to generation - and a few that should be left behind. Resenting the necessity and inevitability of change is irrational. As conservatives, our job is to manage that change, channeling it down constructive avenues that keep that valuable connection with the past while acknowledging a future that will be different that what came before.

It is up to the right to place limits on change so that though necessary, the alterations don’t obliterate the outline of America. Change with familiarity.

But the modern ideologues not only don’t want any change, they wish a “return” to some mythical time when everyone was self reliant and didn’t need government to survive. If they got in trouble, their local church would take care of them, or relatives, or neighbors. No welfare. No food stamps. No housing assistance. No job training. This 18th century view of government is silly and stupid but is a widely held construct of what government should be on the right.

As I’ve said before, this is not a “return” to constitutional principles, but rather a resurrection of the Articles of Confederation - on steroids. The other half of the equation for many conservatives - the 10th Amendment movement - would be fine if a realistic federalism was being advocated. But there is nothing realistic about turning EPA responsibilities over to the states, or all social welfare spending dumped on governors and state legislatures. The only thing that this kind of advocacy promises is chaos - something that would occur to anyone not enamored of their own excessive ideology in about 5 seconds.

I never thought I’d live to see the day when being called a “pragmatist” would become an epithet of denigration. It doesn’t matter where I stand on the issues - most of the time it is with the vast majority of the right. What matters is that I am significantly less hateful toward the opposition and wish to see both sides negotiate a way out of this monumental mess we find ourselves in. This is a no brainer. America is in crisis and conservatives can only think about hating and destroying liberals by seeking electoral advantage when their obstructionism succeeds in making it appear that Democrats have done nothing about the country’s problems. This is patriotism? This is proof that the right loves America more than the left? Spare me boys.

This is why the onset of spring has not had its usual uplifting effect on my spirits. America is headed for a terrible fall and the chaos that will follow the collapse will throw up the worst kind of leaders - knights on white horses who will ride to our rescue if only we would give them the power to make things right. It’s happened before elsewhere and there is no reason why it couldn’t happen here.

I will leave to your imagination what ideological form our shining knight will take.

By: Rick Moran at 12:17 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/29/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: THE OBAMA DOCTRINE AND US SOVEREIGNTY

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Monica Showalter of Investors Business Daily, Fausta Wertz of Fausta’s Blog, and Jeff Dunetz of Yid with a Lid for a discussion of the Obama Doctrine and its impact on US sovereignty.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

LIBYA AND THE SOROS DOCTRINE

This was published yesterday at FrontPage.com. It’s my take on the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine (R2P)  and how it may become a threat to national sovereignty.

A sample:

The ICISS was chaired by Gareth Evans, former foreign minister for Australia, whose thoughts about the report and sovereignty in particular bear looking at in detail. Mr. Evans sought to turn the debate on sovereignty “on its head” by “characteriz[ing] it not as an argument about the ‘right’ of states to anything, but rather about their ‘responsibility’ — one to protect people at grave risk.”

That “responsibility” is to be defined by the United Nations. Mr. Evans envisions a world where sovereign nations are hardly “sovereign” as we understand the term. Indeed, Evans is seeking nothing less than a brand new definition of sovereignty — what he calls “a new way of talking about sovereignty itself.” The starting point, he says, is that sovereignty “should now be seen not as ‘control,’ as in the centuries-old Westphalian tradition, but, again, as ‘responsibility.’”

No “rights.” No “control.” At least Mr. Evans is willing to let nations keep their borders — for now — although that may also be under threat from R2P. One can imagine the United Nations taking the US to task for trying to keep millions of illegals from crossing our border: We have no “right” to keep hungry, desperate people from seeking a better life. Might our border policies also violate the R2P doctrine? Indeed, such an argument is already being made.

In 2004, the Secretary General Kofi Annan set up a blue ribbon committee to examine the ICISS findings and issue a report to the United Nations. The Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change swallowed the “new” definition of sovereignty while recommending R2P be adopted as a matter of policy and law. Their report, “A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility,” recommended that it be the responsibility “of every State when it comes to people suffering from avoidable catastrophe, mass murder and rape, ethnic cleansing by forcible expulsion and terror, and deliberate starvation and exposure to disease.”

In other words, “responsibility” has morphed from the 1990s concept–which entailed that it is up to the world community or voluntary coalitions to intervene where necessary to protect innocents–to a set of rules that sovereign nations themselves must satisfy the United Nations or the hammer will fall.

By: Rick Moran at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/28/2011
A BRIEF NOTE ON THE BILL AYERS VIDEO AND CASHILL’S CLAIMS OF HIS DREAMS AUTHORSHIP
CATEGORY: Blogging, Politics

Full disclosure: I am Blog Editor of The American Thinker

There’s a video of Bill Ayers making the rounds of conservative blogs where the radical extremist “admits” to writing Obama’s best selling autobiography Dreams of my Father.

The video originates on American Thinker, as does Cashill’s blog post claiming that Ayers owns up to writing the book. Cashill, a prolific writer, has published several pieces at AT and elsewhere that has advanced the theme that Obama - an unknown community organizer who couldn’t meet publisher’s deadlines for his book - handed off the writing of Dreams to his co-worker on the Annenburg Challenge and Hyde Park neighbor William Ayers.

I (and almost everyone who has commented on Cashill’s evidence) am not qualified to judge the relative merits of Mr. Cashill’s arguments. The critiques I have read of his thesis come up short in debunking the writer’s arguments entirely. However, while Cashill offers some compelling similarities between the writings of Ayers and Dreams, I am a skeptic of his conclusion that Ayers wrote the book. Whether he assisted Obama is an entirely different question and much more plausible considering Obama’s lies about how well he knew Ayers when he was running for president. But Cashill’s connective tissues are too weakly constructed, too pat to stand up to serious analysis.

What is perhaps even more bothersome than the wholesale acceptance of this theme by so many on the right is the embrace of the video linked in the AT blog post above by many who appear to have suspended critical analysis in lieu of wishful thinking. Ayers does indeed admit to writing Dreams but in such an obviously sarcastic manner that the question isn’t whether Ayers was serious but how in God’s name so many conservative bloggers failed to see the taunting sarcasm used in his “confession.”

John Hawkins isn’t one of these:

This story is starting to pick up steam across the blogosphere.

However, there’s one problem: Ayers appears to be joking.

It’s the last question of the evening; so Ayers has no chance to elaborate, but here are the words he deadpans,

“Did you know I wrote it, incidentally? I wrote that, Dreams from my Father (Voices in the crowd, “We know that.”). Yeah, if you could help me prove it, I’ll split the royalties with you.” (Crowd laughs)

Not only is Ayers making a joke, he’s making a joke at the expense of the people who claim he wrote the book. Granted, interpretations may differ, especially since Ayers’ delivery was very dry, but it’s a mistake to take that as some sort of confession.

This is not an isolated incident for many on the right. Wanting something to be true - Obama’s foreign birth, his Muslim religion, Obama as socialist, Marxist, communist conspirator - leads many conservatives into uncritical, unsound conclusions about the president. Julian Sanchez referred to this mindset as “epistemic closure” where themes and narratives - sometimes wildly exaggerated - are bounced back and forth among conservatives until they take on a life all their own and the truth of them cannot be challenged, even though common sense or even the record say otherwise.

There is plenty on which to oppose Obama right in front of us without stretching reason and logic to include claims such as Cashill’s. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you have to reach beyond the record and common sense in order to connect the dots, it’s probably a weak argument and should be discarded. Cashill believing that Obama didn’t write Dreams is a stretch beyond reason. Conservatives would do well to apply a similar standard to many of the shibboleths held regarding Barack Obama.

UPDATE: GOLDSTEIN AND INTERPRETATION

Goldstein responds in the comments to his own post:

Nice to see that Rick Moran is still counseling us on how to look refined while we allow the left to run roughshod over us. How’d that work out for McCain again?

As someone who knows a thing or two about interpretation, I don’t need John Hawkins or Rick Moran to point out Ayers’ tone of sarcasm. What I’m interested in is the rather pointed tone of the sarcasm - it’s too deliberate, and the question seems too staged - and suggesting that, while Ayers wants to joke it all away, he also very much wants credit. It’s who he is. It’s who they all are.

I can be as hard and as tough on the left as anyone - and I have about 3,000 blog posts to prove it. I’ve even resorted to polemics on occasion - just to show that I can be as unreasoned and illogical as Goldstein or any other right wing blogger out there.

This appears to be a definitional dispute. Goldstein seems to equate  writing exaggerated, over the top rhetorical stink bombs with being tough. I say it shows weakness. Barely better than school yard epithets, disguising horse’s ass opinions about “the Left” as intelligent analysis, Goldstein’s simple minded critiques - “It’s who he is. It’s who they all are” - fall far short of being tough and even shorter as reasoned argument. Proving that you can scream incoherently the loudest might get one links and readership but not much else.

If Goldstein is saying you can’t make logical arguments about the left without appearing weak, I have to disagree. There is still a well spring of common sense in America and a desire on the part of  many who troll the internet for thoughtful writing to choose reading fact based, reasoned dialectic. Goldstein knows this. His blog used to feature such writing.

Alas, writing in a “refined” or reasoned manner is not the path to fame and fortune on the internet. Goldstein combined rowdiness with penetrating insight and logic for the first few years of his very entertaining blog.  But he has, I believe, abandoned what made his blog unique and readable, and settled for a style that makes it virtually indistinguishable from the ranting, frothing, majority of right wing blogs that have eschewed objective reality in favor of  exaggeration and hatred.

If Goldstein actually believes that McCain lost because he wasn’t tough enough on Obama, he proves himself not much of a political analyst. Every time McCain went brutally negative - Ayers, socialist, Wright, etc. - his numbers dropped like a stone. Despite what many conservatives might believe, McCain’s team were not a bunch of dummies. They won the nomination for God’s sake. That puts them more than a leg up on the critics accusing them of not being tough enough on the opposition. It bears repeating - slowly for those with a reading comprehension deficit - McCain’s margin of defeat would have been larger if he had gotten “tough” on Obama.

By: Rick Moran at 10:14 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)

3/25/2011
CONFUSION AND CONFLICT ON LIBYA
CATEGORY: Politics

I’ve been writing quite a bit about Libya for FrontPage.com lately. My latest is up this morning and I look at the NATO vote to take responsibility for the no fly zone and why that is only the first step in taking Obama off the hook for this misadventure.

A sample:

France wishes to aggressively attack Gaddafi and also backs regime change, while Turkey and the Arab League are reluctant to use coalition air power to help the rebels, and are currently opposed to removing Gaddafi. France was against the idea of NATO taking control, while Italy, Turkey, and the Arab League wouldn’t continue to support the action unless it did. Germany, who pulled naval assets out of the Mediterranean because of the offensive air campaign against Gaddafi’s forces, would also look in askance at any expansion of NATO’s role beyond enforcing the no-fly zone and arms embargo. And UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated flatly that “the primary aim [of coalition efforts] is to provide protection for civilians, to save lives. It’s not aiming to change any regime.”

The nightmare of a fractured body working at cross purposes with itself in making military command decisions is a reality that needs to be avoided. It would almost certainly lead to unnecessary casualties, as well as an ineffective prosecution of the war. In fact, it is hard to envision how such an alliance could survive the almost guaranteed misunderstandings that will arise. The differences appear too vast to simply be papered over. Either NATO will protect civilians by killing Gaddafi’s forces or they won’t. Unless there is movement from Turkey and Germany on this issue, it is difficult to imagine how any further agreement on NATO control of the military aspect of the campaign can be reached — even if some kind of “grand coalition council” can be cobbled together in the first place to decide such matters.

There also seems to be some confusion in the Obama administration over just where we are in handing control over to NATO. Secretary Clinton seems to believe, or at least she is saying publicly, that only a few details need to be worked out before America can step back from overall command of the mission. She also said that we are already cutting back on our participation in the operation, and that in the future, once the handover is complete, American participation will be limited to a “support role.”

But the military is contradicting that roseate scenario. Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, director of the joint staff, said that even after the handover to NATO is accomplished, it is likely that American air power will still be utilized by the coalition. He said that we will still fly combat missions when requested, and no-fly zone patrols, as well as conduct operations such as intelligence gathering, refueling, and other logistical support missions.

There is absolutely no guarantee - indeed, it is doubtful at this point - whether NATO will ever vote to take full command of combat operations in Libya. That means that this will probably end up being Obama’s war anyway - with all the attendant misfortune that will come when this thing refuses to end the way that anyone can rightfully say will be anything but a disaster.

By: Rick Moran at 7:26 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

WHY ARE AMERICANS MAKING SUCH A FUSS ABOUT THE ROYAL WEDDING

I didn’t post this yesterday - incredibly busy day. It’s my latest article for PJ Media and in it, I look at why we yanks are so enamored with royalty - specifically the British monarchy.

A sample:

The current incarnation of royalty who reside at Buckingham Palace are a loathsome example of giving people who don’t deserve it a lot of money and nothing much to do. Charles is a perfect example of this. The poor sot has nothing whatsoever to do except sit around and wait for mummy to die. He’s tried his hand as cultural critic, railing against modern British architecture (it is horrid but his idea of good architecture isn’t much better). He tried jumping on the global warming bandwagon but didn’t attract much notice. There were so many other more interesting people like Sting and Posh Spice who beat him to it.

Then there is his weird flirtation with alternative medicines. His “Foundation for Integrated Health” published some guides for general practitioners on how to combine traditional (scientific) medicine with alternative (witchcraft) medicine. A prominent member of the “complementary” medical community wrote a letter to the Times asking that the guides be recalled, saying “the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous.”

His very public, very naughty affair with Camilla Parker Bowles destroyed his marriage and drove his wife to suicidal thoughts. This is the sum total of the life of Charles, Prince of Wales, for which he receives not only taxpayer subsidies, but the free use of several castles, palaces, retreats, cabins, and a retinue of servants of which the Empress Dowager would be envious.

His son William — the one getting married — doesn’t appear to be a bad sort. He passed flight school and became a helicopter pilot in a search and rescue outfit. He has various charitable causes which he supports by exposing his person to the media so they can take his picture with AIDS patients, inner city youth, and endangered elephants.

By: Rick Moran at 7:20 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/24/2011
DURBIN’S PROPOSED HEARINGS ON ‘MUSLIM CIVIL RIGHTS’ A SHAM

Dick Durbin is about to do what Democrats do best; pander to a minority.

In this case, the minority is Muslim and Durbin sees evil walking the land where there is a threat to Muslim constitutional rights. Politico:

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who chairs a subcommittee on the Senate Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing on March 29 on protecting the civil rights of Muslim Americans. The hearing is being billed as the first of its kind for Congress.

Durbin said the hearing is necessary following an increase in anti-Muslim bigorty in the United States, including “[Koran]burnings, restrictions on mosque construction, hate crimes, hate speech, and other forms of discrimination.”

Is it true? Has there been an “increase” in “anti-Muslim bigotry?”

Washington Times:

In 2009, the latest FBi statistics available, anti-Islamic hate crimes accounted for 9.3 percent of the 1,376 religiously motivated hate crimes recorded. That’s far less than the 70.1 percent that were anti-Jewish.

Let’s take that notion by Durbin of an “increase” in anti-Muslim bigotry for a spin and see if he’s right.

FBI stats from 2008 show that there were 105 incidents of hate crimes directed against Muslims, with 125 offenses cataloged involving 130 victims. For 2009, those numbers were 107 incidents, 128 offenses, and 130 victims.

No increase - repeat, no increase - in the number of victims. A less than 2% increase in the number of incidents and offenses over that period.

Let’s look at this from the standpoint of time. What were the statistics for hate crimes against Muslims in 2003?

Incidents: 149; Offenses: 155; Victims; 171

Dear Dick Durbin: Incidents and victims of Anti-Muslim bigotry has gone down considerably since 2003.

Since the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes has risen fairly steadily over that same period - from 1025 victims in 2003 to 1132 victims in 2009 - maybe you’re looking at the wrong religion to investigate, Dicky?

The question is - did he think nobody would look this up and challenge his bald faced lie? Took me 5 minutes of googling to find the reports and less than a minute to find these tables.

This is not a serious effort to investigate anything. It is an outright pander to a religious group that keeps crying wolf about how terrible it is to be a Muslim in America. I don’t dismiss or excuse those incidents by knuckledraggers who commit acts of violence against anyone based on their religion. (Whether there should be anything in the law called a “hate crime” is another story). But we should draw the line when politicians - for no good reason or, in Durbin’s case, manufactured reasons - seek to exploit our divisions for political gain.

Rep. King’s hearings fell short in this regard as well. I don’t buy into the idea that King should have delved into the reasons why right wing kooks get radicalized. That’s a no brainer simply because we’ve had 50 years of studies, polls, and surveys that tell us why Birchers are Birchers, and neo-Nazis need a frontal lobotomy. Paranoia plays a huge role in the radicalization of the far right (and far left) plus fine old American traditions of nativism, anti-popery, and racism. Why investigate what we already know?

But investigating why otherwise rational Muslims could be radicalized by the teachings of someone like Anwar al-Awlaki would have been extremely valuable - not only for law enforcement but for Muslims in particular. Unfortunately, politicians and the professional grievance mongers associated with CAIR couldn’t allow anything to distract us from their “Muslims as victims” narrative. If we ever did, several fat cat CAIR executives would be out of a job and CAIR itself would lose its raison d’etre. It’s hard to be a “civil rights” organization if you can’t claim wholesale violations of your special group’s civil rights.

Is there anti-Muslim bigotry? You’re kidding, right? Of course there is. But there is far more anti-Semitism and almost as much anti-Christian bigotry according to FBI stats. In a free society, one is free to hate as long as you don’t directly advocate to hurt someone or your beliefs don’t morph into acts of violence. Pointing and laughing at a Muslim woman wearing the hijab is impolite and boorish behavior. But is it a “hate crime?” Not as we currently define it according to the law. But if CAIR and other intolerant multi-culturalists get their way, that will change. And then, they will be no different than the knuckledraggers they seek to prosecute. They would have proven themselves to be just as intolerant as any neo-Nazi who needs a brain transplant.

Durbin is a lying politician. But the do-gooders who think they are promoting diversity and respect for others are just as guilty. It is they who threaten our freedom of expression by trying to wildly expand the legal definition of “bigotry.” In a free society, we shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells in fear of offending people.

Most of this article was originally posted at The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 8:42 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/23/2011
THE MISADVENTURES OF OPERATION ‘ODYSSEY DAWN’

I’ve got another Libya update at FrontPage.com. This one looks at the clusterfark this military adventure is becoming.

A sample:

So do we protect the pro-Gaddafi civilians or not? General Ham couldn’t answer that question, which is why this entire operation couldn’t be more muddled. We don’t know exactly who we are fighting, or even who we are fighting to protect, although it is likely that some of the rebel forces are made up of al-Qaeda fighters and other affiliated terrorist groups. We don’t know who we can bomb and who we should leave alone. We don’t know how to unite the rebel forces under a unified command to make them more effective. One rebel told Reuters, when asked who was in charge, “Nobody is. We are volunteers. We just come here. There is no plan.”

The same might be said for the United Nations’ forces themselves. The question of the day is: who is in charge? President Obama is determined that it won’t be America for much longer. “When this transition takes place, it is not going to be our planes that are maintaining the no-fly zone,” the president said in a news conference from El Salvador. “It is not going to be our ships that are necessarily enforcing the arms embargo. That’s precisely what the other nations are going to do,” he added.

The president can say that, but is NATO buying it? The administration is working very hard to “handoff” responsibility for the war to a NATO command structure, but the Daily Mail is reporting that NATO’s unity is coming more unraveled by the hour. The Germans have pulled assets out of the Mediterranean, expressing the fear that NATO would be drawn into the conflict even more heavily than they are engaged now. Turkey has made it clear that they believe coalition military action has exceeded their UN mandate. The Italians have accused the French of fighting for oil contracts, while making it clear they would support a NATO-led coalition or no coalition at all. Italy’s support is vital because we are using their air bases to launch attacks into Libya.

War is the definition of confusion. But this is incredible. After only four days, the coalition appears to be fraying badly, and it is not at all clear how much longer support among our allies and the Arab League can be maintained for the kind of bombing operations that we’re doing right now to support the rebels.

Regime change? Not on the table says everyone in the administration from Obama on down. Praytell, then, how do you “protect civilians” which is the ostensible rationale for the military action?

My head hurts.

I sum it up thusly:

There simply aren’t any answers coming from President Obama, the United Nations, the Arab League, or any other coalition member. The “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine under which the United Nations has authorized this action is silent about such messy endings. The unfortunate fact is that the United States committed to this war between breakfast and dinner a week ago, with apparently little thought given to any of these issues, except how the US could escape responsibility for the military action as quickly as possible — and how any political fallout from failure would miss hitting the president, who is now gearing up for a re-election fight.

When all is said and done, this adventure may go down as one of the most careless, reckless, incompetently prosecuted military actions in US history.

I support the president in this action but Holey Moley, Batman - this is getting ridiculous! The president said at a press conference yesterday that Gaddafi might be able to stay in power if he “reforms” his government. This, after nearly a month of insisting that Gaddafi has to go. What are they thinking up there? What is their plan? Do they have one?

Some on the right are saying we’re “outsourcing” our foreign policy. Not at all. In order to do that, you need a policy to begin with. And for this administration, if there is a policy, they are keeping it well hidden from friend and foe alike.

By: Rick Moran at 8:13 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/22/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: ‘THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT’ DOCTRINE

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, Ed Lasky and Rich Baehr of The American Thinker, and Vodkapundit Stephen Green as we look at the R2P doctrine that is driving our military intervention in Libya.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

WHY I’M SUPPORTING MY PRESIDENT

In a word - it’s complicated.

First and foremost, I am supporting the president because he is Commander in Chief and he has taken the United States to war. He didn’t take the Obama administration to war, or the Democratic party, or (many) liberals. He has taken the country to war - my country, our country. If we have disagreements - and believe me, I’ve got a ton - they can wait until after the war is over and won.

Simple minded? Sure. Blindly nationalistic? You bet. But I believe that if you begin to question the leader of our country about a decision he has made to commit the armed forces of the United States to battle, placing our children and neighbor’s children in harm’s way, you do nothing to alter that decision and only serve the purpose of the enemy to divide us at exactly the time we must be united.

It’s that simple now, it was that simple for Bush and Iraq, Clinton and Kosovo, Bush 41 and Kuwait, Reagan and Grenada, and on back to FDR and World War II. There may come a time where raising questions no longer primarily aids the enemy but would seek to save the country from its own stupidity as was done with Vietnam. But we are far, far from that point and doubt whether we need to worry about Libya in that regard.

I hasten to add that this is a personal view and does not mean I am calling those of you who disagree with the president’s decision traitors and anti-American. Each must search their consciences and find their own answers. But this simple, declarative notion that when the US goes to war, the nation stands behind the president and the armed forces is such a no-brainer I am having a hard time understanding the virulence of the opposition.

Much has been made about the hypocrisy of the president as his opposition to the “rush to war” in Iraq and other statements he made in the past has now come back to bite him. Who cares? After the war has been won, we can gleefully throw it all back in his face and watch him stutter like a schoolboy trying to defend himself. For now, on a list of important issues regarding the war in Libya, it is all the way at the bottom. It matters not a whit in supporting a man who needs a united nation to carry through to victory.

But beyond the practical reason of getting behind the president, there is the existential notion that America is “it” as far as the modern world’s policeman goes, and while we sometimes have a choice in where and how to throw our weight around, those choices are limited when confronted by the stark reality that innocents are at risk. It is a fact that when slaughter is threatened, nobody thinks of calling France, or Russia, or China, or even Great Britain. They dial the international calling code of “001″ - and America usually responds, Thus has it ever been so, and will continue to be. No amount of wishful thinking by the left that hanging with the rest of the world is the path to being loved will change this singular fact of existence.

They hate us for it no matter what we do, of course. We are usually heavy handed about it, going in and smashing things, and not being very delicate about it. We whine when no one appreciates what we’ve done. We bitch about how much it costs, how no other nation is pulling its weight in these “international coalitions” we keep forming to make us feel as if we are acting with the rest of the world. The truth is less appealing; we bear most of the brunt, most of the cost, and almost all the casualties while our “partners” kibitz on the sidelines criticizing everything we do.

We are not “First Among Equals” as President Obama is finding out and President Clinton discovered more than a decade ago. Both men sought to sincerely limit American involvement in the troubles of the world. Both sought to hand off responsibility for stepping into crisis situations to the United Nations and other, regional security bodies. This worked out badly. Rwandan genocide, Bosnian rape camps, Kosovo ethnic cleansing - either the UN or NATO fell flat on its face addressing those tragedies. It wasn’t until Clinton stepped up and put the US military out front that Bosnia was pacified and Kosovo saved from a terrible fate. By the time the world was ready to get its act together for Rwanda, it was too late for 800,000 Tutsi tribesmen. Clinton regrets to this day that he didn’t act with the few nations who were willing to try and prevent catastrophe.

All of our good intentions about internationalism and multi-lateral agreements came a cropper because the world order is not set up to be a touchy-feely place of international harmony and good will. It is a cold, hard, brutal, planet of thugs, crazy men, and oppressive autocrats who only understand the point of the sword. What few democratically inclined nations there are realistically find themselves drawn to the US orbit as an insurance policy against the darkness the thugs represent. They know better than to place their faith and trust for survival in the hands of the United Nations. They may as well ask the Tooth Fairy for an alliance if that were the case.

The vitriolic anti-American rhetoric used by most countries is for show. How do we know? When the Arab League passed their resolution last week asking the UN for help with Libya, can anyone doubt that they didn’t believe that America would be in the lead in any force that went into save the rebels, and innocent civilians? The most virulent, blood curdling anti-American rhetoric from Arab states can’t mask the sober logic of power politics; if you want something done, done quickly, and be sure that the invading crusader will leave when the job is done, you’ve got one choice.

I realize President Obama’s intent is to “hand off” responsibility for this campaign to the French and British in a “few days.” That’s the plan and I have every reason to believe him when he says he wants to do this. But if the goal is to “protect civilians” - that is the UN mandate - how is this to be done if the rebels come up short (a near certainty given the paucity of heavy arms compared to Gaddafi’s forces) and Gaddafi remains in power?

A physical buffer of troops are going to be necessary to protect civilians from the wrath of an aroused Gaddafi. We have already seen evidence of what happens when Gaddafi’s forces retake a town that had been held by the rebels. The foreign mercenaries move in and begin the process of cleansing the town of rebels and their sympathizers. No one knows how many have already been killed but we can expect this to be repeated in hundreds of towns and cities if Gaddafi is allowed to stay in power. Is the UN going to put troops in every town and city in Libya? What will be their rules of engagement? Will the be able to intervene to save civilians?

As it stands now, regime change is not on the menu. But as a practical matter, there can be no other outcome if the UN’s mandate of “protecting civilians” is to be fulfilled. In the end, the coalition will have to go in and physically remove the tyrant or risk having their efforts come to naught. Stopping short of regime change will give Gaddafi a victory, strengthen his position, and allow him to slaughter his people at his own leisure.

Can President Obama possibly turn down his coalition partners when it comes to removing Gaddafi? He’s already committed the US to war, and while his best intentions are to keep American ground troops out of the fray, a scenario is taking shape where, like Clinton in Kosovo who also promised no ground troops but was ready to commit them if Milosevic refused to step down, Obama will probably be forced into sending in our boys.

Unless we get lucky and Gaddafi’s own people take him out, or the rebels can be united and supplied with heavy weapons to challenge the pro-Gaddafi forces, there will be a moment of truth where Obama will feel the tap on the shoulder and history will demand he act.

When he does, I will still be behind him, supporting him because he’s the only president we’ve got and while I might wish he had acted differently, we’ve got to back his play to the end.

By: Rick Moran at 10:54 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)