Friday, March 25, 2011

Fast And Loose On Libya

There is educated uncertainty, and there is opinionated ignorance.

The first is exemplified by Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to former President Carter, who on Thursday on Morning Joe expressed legitimate ambivalence:

But I have to tell you frankly . . . I cannot think of another instance in recent times in which I myself was so uncertain in thinking about the problem, about how we should act. Because there are so many downsides and so many uncertainties.

“But in the end, I concluded that, if we didn’t act it would be worse,” Brzezinski said, adding that he has some misgivings about the way it is being handled.

With Rush Limbaugh, it started out much the same. On Friday, the 18th, suggesting a parallel between the situations in Egypt and Libya, he observed

What if it is the Muslim Brotherhood? What if it is a bunch of people trying to overthrow so-called peaceful to the United States regimes and establish this so-called caliphate? I don't know. It's tricky. It's really tricky. And when you have people in a regime like ours that just knee-jerk react in support of any minority simply because they're a minority that can be scary.

Sure, Rush's racial animosity was in play. No one has suggested that only a minority of the Egyptian population opposed President Hosni Mubarak but Limbaugh couldn't resist the temptation to identify President Obama with minorities. If racial pimping weren't such a lucrative enterprise for Rush, one would almost think it second nature.

But after the rightist had conceded that the situation in North Africa has been "tricky," he went downhill from there, displaying all the slimy instincts we've come to expect of him. Echoing the least sophisticated objections of the left to U.S. military action, on Tuesday the 22nd (a guest host sat in on Monday) Limbaugh bellowed

But no, we're in Libya. You talk about protecting innocence civilians, how about Zimbabwe and Mugabe? Or North Korea, for crying out loud? If we're looking at where civilians are mistreated and we want to go places to protect them, there are a lot of places that have more of them than in Libya.

Because, presumably, we must implement the same policy in every country in a region because circumstances are identical everywhere. Compound thoughlessness, add false equivalence mixed with a dark view of America, and you have Limbaugh immediately adding

For that matter, folks, we have more innocent civilians under attack in Arizona than are under attack in Libya. And Barack Hussein Obama has been talked into going into Libya by three women while filing suit against another woman, the governor of Arizona." Thoughtless and cruel, comparing thousands of deaths by oppressed people living under a despot to the residents of one of the United States of America.

On Wednesday, Limbaugh's ever-present loathing of poor people re-emerged as he (yet again) equated Barack Obama's foreign policy with a volunteer-driven anti-hunger program: "the old human rights of Jimmy Carter resurfacing here. Meals on Wheels!" A bombing campaign and Meals on Wheels: a perfect parallel.

But he wouldn't be done until he could attack Barack Obama's manhood simultaneously with a sexist slap at women:

This is what happened. She doesn't like that the template for the story is that it was the women who nagged him to attack Libya until he gave in, or only the women of Obamaland have any gonads. "Um, hello: Hillary Clinton pushed for intervention in Libya not because she's female, but because, cautious as she may be, she also is among the more historically hawkish members of the administration." It had nothing to do with the fact that she's female. It's just that she's a hawk. How about the fact that her president wasn't doing anything? How about the fact that there was dithering going on here? Again, as somebody here who's disengaged. This isn't what he signed up for. He signed up for getting even with the United States. He signed up with reordering and transforming the US. He signed up take us down. He didn't sign up to make us act like a superpower. He didn't sign up for this. He didn't sign up for this kind of distraction. So the babes had to get in gear.

Reluctant to be typecast as merely racist, sexist, or hostile to struggling Americans, on Thursday Rush decided

You know, Democrat presidents don't like using the US military. If the truth be known, liberals actually are happier when the US military loses. Liberals don't want military success. They don't think the world should be shaped that way. Of course, ours is a world governed by the aggressive use of force. Liberals hate that. To them, this is a world governed by the aggressive use of speeches. You know, all the speeches in the world didn't stop Khadafy from deciding he wanted to become illegitimate.

President Obama has joined the NATO offensive against the Libyan government and has been attacked relentlessly by Rush Limbaugh. Nevertheless, unable, unwilling, or lacking a coherent argument to criticize this decision, Rush declares "liberals don't like using the military" (or) "military success" (and believe) "this is a world governed by the aggressive use of speeches." Let's go over this again: President Obama commits air power against the Khadafy regime and has not yet given an address extensively explaining his rationale and objectives. Rush Limbaugh suggests Obama doesn't like using the military, wants the military to fail, and thinks he can overturn regimes with speeches. And no one in the traditional media asks the Republican leader: what in creation are you talking about?

The brilliance in Rush Limbaugh's approach, however, is not limited to his success at avoiding scrutiny by the mainstream media. It is that (on an issue on which conservatives, like liberals, are divided) he has ridiculed President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton incessantly- and done so without once revealing whether he supports American military action in Libya. Doing so while maintaining the allegiance of his audience and credibility from the traditional media is a triumph of epic proportion.

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