Scarborough uses questionable US military role in Libya as an opportunity to criticize … GOP

Wish I could say this was surprising, but it’s not.  MSDNC’s token “conservative” writes (bolded emphasis added by me):

While Kerry and the White House were justifying the start of another foreign war by pretending that they had not launched another foreign war, Republicans went on air gleeful that yet another country had been invaded.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said America’s mission must be to “isolate, strangle and replace” Qadhafi. This despite the fact that neither Graham or anyone else in Washington has any idea whether a change in that country will lead to al-Qaeda gaining control of its vast oil reserves.

Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman attacked President Obama for not invading Libya earlier, and most of the other Republicans quoted on news shows this weekend had harsh words for Obama despite the fact that conservatives themselves were once reticent about invading a country only to get thrown into the middle of a messy civil war.

But these days, it seems all Republicans and most Democrats’ first instinct is to fight first and ask questions later.

That wasn’t always the case.

Believe it or not, conservative Republicans were once the voice of military restraint.

When President Clinton looked to solve the world’s problems with America’s military might, it was the GOP who were quick to point out “we are not the world’s 9-1-1.”

We conservatives would constantly lecture all the president’s men on the finer points of the Weinberger Doctrine, drafted by Reagan Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. This largely forgotten blueprint for foreign policy was written with the blood of Vietnam and Lebanon casualties, but is now dismissed by the military adventurers who now run Washington.

Weinberger believed American combat troops should only be deployed with clearly defined objectives, when our national commitment is strong and application of force is overwhelming. And on top of that, America should only resort to arms only when all other options have been exhausted and only as a last result.

As General Colin Powell used to say, “We don’t want a fair fight.” The United States should only fight when the odds were overwhelmingly in its favor. The idea of “limited wars” is a dangerous myth. These were the conservative Republican principles that guided the party before George W. Bush.


Now another Democratic president has pledged our military to fight in a foreign war, and the biggest criticism from some in the GOP seems to that we didn’t do this two weeks ago. Like Albright, the Obama administration’s Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Hillary Clinton are all enthusiastic proponents of American military intervention to prevent humanitarian crises. What’s lacking in this debate is the firm Republican opposition to these military escapades that we had in the 1990s.

Over the last decade the GOP has largely broken with its past and become the party of reckless military intervention. Obama’s decision to attack Libya has only been criticized by McCain and Graham for not going far enough. Despite the lack of any clear objective or national security interest, the United States has taken sides in a North African civil war.

In the article, you’ll note how he insinuates that most if not all Republicans unconditionally support the order by President Obama for the US military to intervene in Libya and the sole basis of his attack are statements by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham that criticized Obama for not going into Libya sooner.  Scarborough also attacks the GOP in general for allegedly recklessly supporting military intervention without caring about its mission and overall goals.  This is yet another clear-cut example of an attack launched on “fellow Republicans” by Scarborough that has little to no basis in reality (flashback).

Is there really overwhelming support from GOP politicos and other assorted GOPers on the US asserting itself forcefully in Libya – in particular without Congressional consultation, with not a care nor concern about the mission and goals of US military action?  Doesn’t sound like it:

President Obama has long trumpeted a desire to see lawmakers from both sides come together in bipartisan fashion, and now they have: to criticize his taking military action in Libya without formally consulting Congress.

In a harshly worded statement Monday evening, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) declared, “The United States does not have a king’s army.”

“President Obama’s unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution,” said Bartlett, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Dick Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent ally of the president on foreign policy, also called Monday for “full congressional debate on the objectives and costs” of military action in Libya — and a declaration of war if it goes on.

“There needs to be a plan about what happens after [Moammar] Gadhafi,” Lugar (Ind.) said in a statement. “Who will be in charge then, and who pays for this all? President Obama, so far, has only expressed vague hopes.”

Criticism has come just as quickly, and just as forcefully, from Democrats.


“The facts are that our budget is stretched too far and our troops are stretched too far,” Lugar said in a statement. “The American people require a full understanding and accounting, through a full and open debate in Congress.” 

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) put it somewhat less formally over the weekend, asking in a tweet: “On Libya, is Congress going to assert its constitutional role or be a potted plant?”

House Speaker John Boehner:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Sunday pressured President Obama to better explain U.S. objectives in Libya before proceeding with further military action.

Boehner did not specifically call for a declaration of war, or a speech before a joint session of Congress, but he did call on the president to articulate the goals of the mission.

“Before any further military commitments are made, the administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved,” Boehner said in a statement.

There’s plenty more where that came from.

One thing Scarborough did get right in his little diatribe is the need for a prompt, detailed explanation from this administration of the goals and overall mission of the US air campaign in Libya, both of which still remain – at best – vague, at worst, undefined.   Even if one does support the overthrow of Libya’s longtime dictatorial “ruler”, these questions still must be answered.

However, though the mission and goals of the US airstrikes in Libya remain unclear, the mission and goals of Joe Scarborough are crystal clear:  No doubt the guy continues to partially motivated by job security – considering his liberal employer, but another part of him, I suspect, is motivated to make (baseless) attacks like this one due to the craving for attention and publicity that lurks just below the surface of those commentators who are into self-promotion by way of deliberately stoking “controversy” purely for professional gain, and without adding anything worthwhile to the debate.  Scarborough has become the Meghan McCain of national political talk show hosts, preferring style-based sensationalism and juvenile “look at me!” View-esque antics over substantive discussion and debate.  


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