publicans-20110324,0,4808264.column" target="_blank">the zigging and zagging of some leading Republican presidential contenders when it comes to war with Libya.
Particularly noteworthy is Newt Gingrich. “Two weeks ago,” McManus writes:
the former House speaker and possible presidential candidate denounced Obama for not intervening forcefully against Kadafi.
“This is a moment to get rid of [Kadafi],” he urged. “Do it. Get it over with.”
Then Obama intervened in Libya. Was Gingrich pleased?
“It is impossible to make sense of the standard for intervention in Libya except opportunism and news media publicity,” Gingrich said Sunday. “Iran and North Korea are vastly bigger threats…. There are a lot of bad dictators doing bad things.”
That sounded like a flip-flop, so I asked Gingrich what he meant. He responded with an e-mail: “The only rational purpose for an intervention is to replace Kadafi. That is what the president called for on March 3, and after that statement anything less is a defeat for the United States.”
Actually, Gingrich was wrong both before and after Obama (inexplicably) chose to follow his advice. The only rational purpose for the use of the U.S. military is to advance U.S. national security. The Libya operation has never been justified on those grounds — it is a humanitarian mission to protect civilians — and it might actually make a minor and manageable problem far worse.