13 Sep 2012
Newt Gingrich has penned a furious little diatribe condemning President Obama for “intellectual dishonesty” and commitment to “a leftist worldview.” What he’s upset about is that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton condemned the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, an attack which took the lives of the US Ambassador and three others, as “senseless violence.” Gingrich, you see, prefers to call this “an act of war.”
This concept of “senseless violence” is at the heart of the left’s refusal to confront the reality of radical Islamists.
These are not acts of senseless violence.
These are acts of war.
Our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were not killed by a senseless mob. They were killed by a purposeful group of men armed with sophisticated weapons. These killers had tracked Ambassador Chris Stevens down to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where he was much more vulnerable to attack and had less protection. They waged a coordinated, military-style assault.
Our four dead are combat casualties as much as anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan.
It is tragic that the president is so committed to a leftist worldview that he cannot allow himself to face these facts.
It’s interesting that, in this angry little piece, Gingrich never once manages to mention exactly who he thinks carried out this act of war — just “our enemies,” just “radical Islamists.”
He does make it sound like he thinks Libya is one of America’s special enemies, then complains that Congress is preventing us from knowing enough about the world:
Libya was the second largest source of anti-U.S. fighters in Iraq. (First was our “ally” Saudi Arabia.) Benghazi was the largest supplier of anti-American fighters from Libya.
Because of congressionally imposed limitations and administrative and bureaucratic timidity, the fact is we know remarkably little about our enemies.
So what’s the correct American response, Mr Gingrich? Shall we start another war or two in the Middle East? We’ve had soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan for nearly a decade, and we all saw what a wonderful transformation we managed to bring about in Iraq. So it’s not like we don’t know how easy it is, and we’ve seen how much good it does in the world.
Why don’t we get rid of those “congressionally-imposed limitations” so we can find out the truth about our “enemies” in Libya, then start the next bombing campaign? If we really get cracking here and don’t waste any time, we could be finished in Libya by next spring, just in time for our invasion of Iran!
Or maybe, since our enemies are radical Islamists, we should just compile a list of every radical Islamist in the world, and start killing them, one by one? Would that be an “intellectually honest” response?
The silliest thing of all, though, is that Gingrich has nothing better than this, and he knows it. He somehow managed to get a reputation as an “intellectual,” a “deep thinker,” but any half-bright undergrad could run rings around this self-important tool. He flings around accusations of “intellectual dishonesty,” while practicing every type of dishonesty known to mankind, intellectual and otherwise, in his own life. Newt Gingrich, unlike the proverbial stopped clock, doesn’t even manage to be right twice a day. Twice a year would be an improvement for him.
See, readers, the thing is, there’s a Democrat in the White House, one who has actually been more than a little hawkish in the “War on Terror,” and that’s inconvenient if you’re a member of the other tribe who’s trying to score a quick, cheap political point or two over the dead bodies of American diplomats, so that you can show everybody just how much you love your country.
Thus, Gingrich has to resort to Bizarro World, where he can pretend that the president is all flower-power, beads, long hair, and kum-ba-yah, letting swarthy heathens get all uppity and crap on the American Flag all over the globe, while the president mumbles, “Groovy, man… far out… hey, don’t harsh my mellow” as the strains of “Incense and Peppermints” waft across the East Lawn.
Never mind that Obama has been even worse than Bush when it comes to killing foreigners (and even US citizens: remember Anwar Al-Awlaki?) and trampling on Americans’ civil liberties, in the name of the “War on Terror.” The wingnuts among us live in their own Bizarro World, where the president is a Secret Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi who constantly “apologizes for America” because of his “leftist worldview.” These people wouldn’t know a “leftist worldview” if they saw one.
It’s the purest essence, the quintessence, of mindless tribalism to pretend that the Obama administration has anything that even faintly resembles a “leftist worldview” — you’d have to see no difference between Time Magazine and the Daily Worker to think something that ignorant. You’d have to live in Bizarro World to think this way.
If anything, the Obama administration’s eagerness to choose the “War on Terror” over the Constitution has been worse than that of the Bush administration. Theoretically, the wingnuts should be loving it; all these Gadsden-Flag-waving super-patriots who pretend to love Freedom today and say they’re scared of Obama’s dictatorial powers were just fine with what their government was doing five years ago; in fact, most of them were cheerleading for it.
So why don’t they like it now? Because back then, there was a Republican in the White House, and he was Keeping America Safe, baby. Who needs their constitutional rights when there are some bad, scary Arab Terrorists somewhere in the world?
But wait, what about all the Blue-Team folks, the libs and Dems who acted like they thought Bush was the second coming of Alfredo Stroessner and were rightfully upset about the disappearance of Americans’ civil liberties? Well, they suddenly discovered that they could live with an erosion of civil liberties in America, as long as there was a Democrat in the White House. Suddenly, it was all good — drone strikes; extraordinary rendition; people still locked in cages at Gitmo, no plan to ever charge any of them with a crime… these things are A-OK as long as a Democrat does them.
We all live in Bizarro World, readers.
Readers, I believe that America is just about ready for real, honest-to-God, authentic fascism. We couldn’t get much stupider if we tried; we’re divided into two teams of brain-dead authoritarians who’ll put up with any indignity, any loss of freedom, as long as the government belongs to Our Team and not The Other Team. All we need is a good scapegoat (and maybe a Dolchstosslegende), a sufficient supply of public frustration and anger (we’re getting there quickly), and, with promises of a reborn America restored to its rightful position of greatness, a new Mussolini could walk into the White House some January morning and shut down our system of democracy for good. For our own good, of course.
Very nicely written, Filius.
“If anything, the Obama administration’s eagerness to choose the “War on Terror” over the Constitution has been worse than that of the Bush administration.”
You’re a very wise young man so I know you know the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. And, Anwar Al-Awlaki wasn’t an American. He gave that privelege up when he went to work for Osama bin Laden. Killing those first who want to kill us, has always been a constitutional right.
September 18th, 2012 at 20:29permalink
Look, it’s not like I feel sorry for Awlaki. As far as I can tell, it looks like he was about the worst kind of traitor there is. But, like it or not, the SOB was a US citizen. Treason he may well have committed, but that was never proven — the executive branch under Obama served as judge, jury, and executioner, all in complete and utter secrecy. That’s not how we do things in America. The fact that we have enemies in the world, even dangerous terrorist enemies, doesn’t mean we abandon the principles that truly make America great.
Obama sure beats the alternative, but his record on civil liberties is atrocious, even worse than that of George W. Bush.
I knew the wingnut faction on the Right was going to be sorry about having an all-powerful executive branch operating in total secrecy once a Democrat became president, but I admit I did not foresee how the Left would mostly abandon their own concerns about civil liberties once a Democrat was in office.
To me, that’s both tribalistic and authoritarian, and it’s not consonant with my idea of American values.
September 18th, 2012 at 20:47permalink
“Obama sure beats the alternative, but his record on civil liberties is atrocious, even worse than that of George W. Bush.”
That’s funny, Filius. You certainly can’t be including the civil liberties of Iraqis. And Bush practically declared martial law after 9/11.
I know what you mean by the ‘all-powerful executive branch’ that Dick Cheney laid out has back-fired and Obama now uses it but, that’s damn good thing with that people like Darrel Issa in charge of House ethics.
As for Al-Awlaki and ‘judge, jury and executioner’? The Dog was busy and we couldn’t find anyone else to deliver the warrant. I thought it was a helluva shot.
September 18th, 2012 at 22:46permalink
Fair enough: we haven’t heard much about people being tortured in US captivity since Obama took office. Still, saying “at least we quit torturing people” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement!
We made a bad mistake with all the precedents we let Bush get away with. You’re right, he just about did declare martial law after 9/11. But, sad to say, Obama just took that ball and ran with it, farther than the Bush folks even dreamed of.
It’s too bad, actually, we couldn’t have sent The Dog to Yemen to pick up Awlaki: Dog would have called him a “maggot” while Leland menaced him with a Mace gun, then they’d have put him in handcuffs, given him a cigarette and some bottled water, and prayed with him. (Oh, and they’d have made him break his own crystal-meth pipe, too.)
But seriously — I do not like the way things are heading, not one bit. I expected better things out of Obama on the civil-liberties front, and I’m even more alarmed by the fact that most Dems seem to be OK with it. I don’t care who’s in the White House, our government and our chief executive should not have that much power.
And, while the Dems have started to alarm me with their burgeoning authoritarian streak, the Repubs straight-out terrify me. After the 8-year disaster of Bush, their answer is just lots more of the same: start another war or two; slash taxes on the rich; remove the social safety net; unregulate basically anything that’s regulated; and let the working class, and what remains of the middle class, pay for it all. God help us and save us. They quite literally want to take America back to the 1890s, or maybe even the 1850s.
September 18th, 2012 at 23:21permalink
“just lots more of the same”
That’s all they have.
Gotta go to work – I’m still part of the 53%. Really nice piece, Filius. You’re damn good writer. Keep it up.
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