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Posted at 4:55 PM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Anne Applebaum's Libyan mirage

By Charles Krauthammer

In today's Post, Anne Applebaum gives a vigorous, spirited, thorough demolition of the suggestion that the United States invade Libya to liberate it from Moammar Gaddafi. A brilliant argument, except for one minor detail: No one is advocating the policy she so energetically denounces, which renders her column not just puzzling but pointless.

Applebaum, however, appears to believe that I was advocating this ridiculous idea in my column on Libya last Friday. She seems to be under the impression that I am for ordering "the Marines to be sent back to the shores of Tripoli," having the Pentagon "launch democracy in Libya," and "sending in the 101st Airborne."

These attributions are hallucinatory. The only military intervention I referred to was the widespread call for a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent mass murder, shift the balance of power against Gaddafi and help the rebels prevail. Her protestations that no one has taken up this call are equally baffling. The list of advocates for a no-fly zone is long: U.S. senators, prominent American commentators and foreign policy experts, counterparts in Europe (France and Britain are drawing up a U.N. resolution authorizing a no-fly zone), rebel leaders in Libya and -- here's where Applebaum's column becomes a bit surreal -- Applebaum herself!

She is full-throated in denouncing my imagined lust for U.S. combat on the sands of Libya without having noticed that she is more interventionist in Libya than I am. I am deeply skeptical and circumspect about even a no-fly zone over Libya. I would demand that certain very strict conditions (far stricter than hers) be met before even contemplating one. (See here, www.nationalreview.com/corner/261295/krauthammers-take-nro-staff).

Applebaum also seems oblivious to the fact that my comparison of Libya and Iraq -- contrasting the general moral support for some kind of intervention against Gaddafi vs. the equally general moral opprobrium heaped on the United States for having intervened to bring down the far more monstrous Saddam Hussein -- was made not as advocacy for invading Libya but to expose the hypocritical double standard of post-hoc critics of the decision to bring down Hussein.

By Charles Krauthammer  | March 8, 2011; 4:55 PM ET
Categories:  Krauthammer  | Tags:  Charles Krauthammer  
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Comments

Excellent retort Chucky! but then again what did you expect from Anne? She has a disease - its called being intellectually dishonest aka liberal. She is a hater - she hates the US and you becuase you are a white man, conservative and way way smarter than she will ever be. In summary she is a LOSER!

Posted by: bolt55 | March 8, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Mr. K.

It's not hard to see how Anne could miss the "no-fly" reference in the previous article, or assume that wasn't all that was being proposed. The whole article was about supposed parallels between Lybia and Iraq and seemed like a case for similar action.

Well, many people like the idea of helping the Lybian rebels and hope it will happen, preferably with as wide internatational support as possible. VERY few want to hear obnoxious American crowing, taking credit for all the people in those countries are fighting and dying for.

Obama shows understanding about how people outside the US feel. That's had a big impact in many countries and how they view the US, although not much yet where mistrust was the deepest. I think if he's allowed time he can change that. I hope very much he will have a chance.

Posted by: Diane1976 | March 8, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Excellent retort Chucky! but then again what did you expect from Anne? She has a disease - its called being intellectually dishonest aka liberal. She is a hater - she hates the US and you becuase you are a white man, conservative and way way smarter than she will ever be. In summary she is a LOSER!

Posted by: bolt55
----
I am fed up with posters such as yourself insulting liberals without any kind of factual basis. I am a liberal and I will not be insulted by the likes of you. I have not read te article in question but I have read enough of Krat's columns to know that he is far more intellectually dishonest than almost every other columnist on the planet. But you. bolt55, probably do not have the intellectual capacity to understand that so I am TELLING it to you. When you insult liberals you insult me and I WILL NOT take it from the likes of you.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | March 9, 2011 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Winning straw man arguments has been an increasingly common rhetorical tactic in USA public commentary. First one introduces a misrepresentation of one's opponent's point of view; then one knocks down the straw man by framing a false choice between the hallucinatory (thanks CK) position and advocate's preferred option.

This rhetorical tic makes most of the president's policy commentary meaningless; it is how he asserts his point of view while quietly ridiculing those who would disagree. He postulates the idiocy of his opponents by caricaturing their alternative policy thinking. He creates this veneer of thoughtful discussion and immediately causes his opponents to say, "But I didn't say anything like that."

I admire Applebaum very much and regret that she is, in this case, adopting this favored approach of those currently in power.

Posted by: IowaHawkeye | March 9, 2011 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: bolt55:
Excellent retort Chucky! but then again what did you expect from Anne? She has a disease - its called being intellectually dishonest aka liberal. She is a hater - she hates the US and you becuase you are a white man, conservative and way way smarter than she will ever be. In summary she is a LOSER!
-------------------------------
Posted by: nyrunner101:
I am fed up with posters such as yourself insulting liberals without any kind of factual basis. I am a liberal and I will not be insulted by the likes of you. I have not read te article in question but I have read enough of Krat's columns to know that he is far more intellectually dishonest than almost every other columnist on the planet. But you. bolt55, probably do not have the intellectual capacity to understand that so I am TELLING it to you. When you insult liberals you insult me and I WILL NOT take it from the likes of you.
Posted by: nyrunner101 | March 9, 2011 2:32 AM | Report abuse
_______________________________________________________
Actually, it’s libtards like you – nyrunner101 – that fabricates and concocts all sorts of calumny just to run down your unsuspecting victims.

Nyrunner101, did you ever claim not to have read the initial op-ed of Mr. K? Yet you instantaneously passed judgment on him without the facts? Just listen to your miserable self – nyrunner101! Your intellectual dishonesty and dissoluteness are palpable!

You nonentity liberals are so full of yourselves that you have become victims of your own retarded intellectualism: Right from your messiah – Barack Hussein Obama, who willfully dabble into the defense of his Harvard friend and ended up calling for a beer summit to make atonement, down to the mass liberals afflicted and hypnotized by Obama syndrome, are all ruled by same spirit of haughtiness.

Ride on, you bunch of liberals, keep on shooting your feet into self annihilation/extinction.

Posted by: chrismercy2003 | March 9, 2011 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I would hope that both commentators realize that enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya is war.
I think the west relinquished it's moral authority in Libya when they released the Lockerbie bomber/mass murderer for oil. Britain made the deal, and Obama gave it the green light. And France has long placated the dictator, all the way back to the Reagan years. I'm afraid we played our cards already.

Posted by: shaperdennis | March 9, 2011 7:50 AM | Report abuse

You can agree or disagree with Krauthammer's arguements but anyone who would accuse Charles Krauthammer of being intellectually dishonest must themselves be intellectually deficient.

Posted by: jameswatt1 | March 9, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Charles has hit a nerve here, certainly. Bravo! As the saying goes, the truth hurts - hence the liberal clamor and crying about something they suspect will not go their way, when all is said and done. The hypocrisy is delicious! Clinton bombs away, in order to help those who could not defend themselves (under no formal authorization) and is hailed by the left, and others, for it. Bush goes to truly ridiculous lengths to gather a legal authority/concensus before he undertakes action against the worst mass-murderer since Hitler, and the left vilifies him.. Here, Obama has a chance to do the morally justified (and proper) thing, and should obviously know he will receive all the liberal accolades and ego-stroking that would accompany the saving of innocents - yet he dithers! If you cannot bring yourself to action when you have the moral high ground, the legal authorization (forthcoming), and the means to do so, then you are incapable of leading.
p.s. nyrunner - I LOVE that you pretty much know what CK will say because you read "enough of Krat's columns" previously - did it take you one, two, maybe a whole THREE articles to know what he would say thereafter?? And, yes you DO have to take it when people insult you for making such a stupid statement. So as not to offend your liberal sensibilities, please note that I did not call YOU stupid - I will leave that debate for others... Cheers!

Posted by: dmagee | March 9, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

What would be your purpose for a no-fly zone? Would you rather they be crushed by tanks instead? Or are you just looking for a fair fight? A strike on their air fields would be a declaration of war... a war the USA cannot afford to undertake & should not. Let's let China, the Arab League or the African Union take this one.

Posted by: Daniel1982 | March 9, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Applebaum, like all leftists, is slow on the uptake Charles. Disregard..

Posted by: wewinyoulose1 | March 9, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

There is at least as much justification, legal and practical, to send an airstrike on Khaddaffy personally and whomever lurks under his khaftan as there is to drop JDAMs on nameless jihadis in Afghanistan and elsewhere. In Khadaffy's case, we know for a fact that he has American blood on his hands vis a vis Lockerbie and that he has continued to perpetuate his cover-up of same. As far as the supposed futility of a no fly zone, recall, if you ever knew, that the great calamity from the first Gulf war was an American (read Bush Sr.) case of the wobblies in supporting Shia uprisings that had been explicitly fomented by the Western powers. This the Iraqis call The Khaminiya, more or less. The Betrayal. And it's stink made the liberation of Iraq that much more difficult. Let's kill that camel-fudger Khadaffy for our OWN legitimate reasons of state as Obama has done for far less significant actors up to this very day. If this helps the long oppressed but newly boistrous Libyans, so much the better but it is tangential.

Posted by: megapotamus | March 9, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

There is at least as much justification, legal and practical, to send an airstrike on Khaddaffy personally and whomever lurks under his khaftan as there is to drop JDAMs on nameless jihadis in Afghanistan and elsewhere. In Khadaffy's case, we know for a fact that he has American blood on his hands vis a vis Lockerbie and that he has continued to perpetuate his cover-up of same. As far as the supposed futility of a no fly zone, recall, if you ever knew, that the great calamity from the first Gulf war was an American (read Bush Sr.) case of the wobblies in supporting Shia uprisings that had been explicitly fomented by the Western powers. This the Iraqis call The Khaminiya, more or less. The Betrayal. And it's stink made the liberation of Iraq that much more difficult. Let's kill that camel-fudger Khadaffy for our OWN legitimate reasons of state as Obama has done for far less significant actors up to this very day. If this helps the long oppressed but newly boistrous Libyans, so much the better but it is tangential.

Posted by: megapotamus | March 9, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

dmagee writes: "Obama has a chance to do the morally justified (and proper) thing, and should obviously know he will receive all the liberal accolades and ego-stroking that would accompany the saving of innocents - yet he dithers!

"If you cannot bring yourself to action when you have the moral high ground, the legal authorization (forthcoming), and the means to do so, then you are incapable of leading."

Spot on. I recall the Post's Editors "Obama - Lagging on Libya" and Ruth Marcus calling Obama: "President Waldo"

I thought Rush Limbaugh was harsh when he early on called the President a "man-child"... but it is tragically quite true. Obama is incapable of leadership - whether domestically on the sending crisis, or internationally on the oil crisis or the Mid-East meltdown.

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 9, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I read Applebaum's article and didn't see it the way Krauthammer did.
Charles, if your goal is to prevent 'mass murder' why didn't you advocate going into Darfur? What is about Muslim oil producing nations that seem to bring out the 'humanitarian' in people like him?

Posted by: gregdn | March 9, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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