Humanitarians are famously but deceptively indiscriminate in their generosity and with the dispensing of largesse, whether the latter comes from their own wealth or from extorted taxpayer revenue. As long as the object of their charity is “in need” or “needy,” it matters not to the humanitarian. His measure of “need” is both the “virtue” of poverty, and a poverty of virtue.
President Barack Obama on Monday evening, March 28, 2011, demonstrated, in his speech on why he ordered military operations against Libya, that he is a humanitarian of the lowest order. He is willing to be completely selfless at the expense of this country’s blood and treasure to “save the Libyan people” and prevent the images of “mass graves” appearing before him on his teleprompter. That is, he is a vessel of humanitarian instincts brimming to overflow with a selflessness eager and willing to sacrifice things that are not his to sacrifice. Humanitarians are, at root, nihilists, destroyers of values in pursuit of “saving” non-values. Obama competes with swine in that he will eat anything as long as it is “in need” requires “sacrifice,” that altruist touchstone of moral purity. Here are pertinent excerpts from his address:
Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That’s what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.
What interests, what values are at stake? No answer. What responsibility? No answer.
For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -– Muammar Qaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.
Yes, Gaddafi is a tyrant, but then so are the rulers of China, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf sheikdoms, Tunisia, the Sudan, et al., and too likely Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood consolidates its power. And it is interesting that Obama omitted mention of Lockerbie and Pan Am Flight 103, for which Gaddafi was the button-pusher.
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed.
As other commentators have noted, this kind of thing has gone on in the Middle East for decades. So? Neither Gaddafi nor any of those other tyrants have been overthrown or dislodged by the West.
Why the selectivity? Are not Assad of Syria and Ahmadinejad Iran also tyrants? Shall we mention Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who oversaw the persecution, murders, rapes, tortures, and diaspora of white farmers and businessmen in a decades-long campaign to “socialize” the country? I have never heard a neoconservative advocate sending in a Special Forces team to put a bullet in the dictator’s skull, if only to remove that pestilence from the lives of that impoverished country’s starving black citizens. (Obama would never approve of such a one-stroke action. It might upset Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan.)
We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world…It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.
So, if a tyrant massacres his own people, and we, the moral maximizers and robots of the categorical imperative who have nothing to gain, do nothing, we share the guilt? This is one of the most obscene pronouncements to escape Obama’s mouth, but is fully consistent with his altruist generosity.
In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies -– nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey –- all of whom have fought by our sides for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibilities to defend the Libyan people.
Aside from the ragtag army of Libyan “rebels,” Obama is boasting of a ragtag coalition of nations who are also governed by the Kantian imperative to act, even though none of them know what for or even have a plan. It should be pointed out that NATO would not exist but for American arms, and that the Arab League is fundamentally anti-American. One is surprised that Obama did not include Hamas and Hezbollah as our “allies” in the effort to remove Gaddafi to “save” the Libyan people.
That’s not to say that our work is complete. In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded. We will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Qaddafi regime so that it’s available to rebuild Libya. After all, the money doesn’t belong to Qaddafi or to us — it belongs to the Libyan people. And we’ll make sure they receive it.
We have no responsibility to provide the Libyan people with anything, least of all help in overthrowing their tyrant. And about that $33 billion in Libyan assets: It does not belong to the Libyan people; it belongs to us because it represents wealth extorted from the West, especially from the U.S. in the form of oil prices on oil produced from expropriated oil wells and fields. That $33 billion should be applied to Obama’s rising government debt, and be returned to American taxpayers by declaring an income tax holiday for the next three years.
Two of the best critiques to date of Obama’s Libyan intervention are Richard Salsman’s March 23rd Forbes article, “Libya Exposes Obama as Our Latest Neocon President,” which presents the moral case against Obama, and Daniel Greenfield’s March 29th “The Known Unknowns of Libya” on Sultan Knish, which spotlights the utter recklessness of Obama’s irrational, illogical, and perilous actions regarding Libya.
As Salsman points out, Obama’s decision to bomb Libya so that “people may be saved” and for no other ostensible reason is evil. This is aside from the equally grave charge that his actions are impeachable, for he acted on whim, bypassing the necessity of asking Congress for a declaration of war and thumbing his nose at the American electorate. As Salsman writes, Obama is moved by an altruism and selflessness that require this country to invest its energies and lives in “spreading democracy” in the best Woodrow Wilsonian and Roosevetlian tradition to populations whose concept of justice and politics is fraught with beheadings, sanctioned rapes, Sharia law, and bowing to a gussied-up and sacred meteorite in Mecca. That is, to populations still in thrall to superstition and of an arrested medievalist mentality.
Finally, Salsman echoes my own contention that Obama is following the neoconservative foreign policy of being the policeman of the world in conformance with the Kantian maxim to act as though one’s selfless action should be the ultimate and universal moral maxim, to “do the right thing” regardless of reason, cost, and consequence – but especially if one stands to gain no value from the action.
Obama — amid loud applause from neoconservative cheerleaders at The Weekly Standard, from excuse-making “anti-war” leftists at The New Republic, and with the seeming approval of 70% of the American people — defends his invasion and occupation of Libya on the grounds that it is not truly a “war” but instead a “humanitarian” mission. By that he means U.S. lives and wealth are to be sacrificed in order to prevent a savage political regime from harming or killing its own citizens, even if they are “rebels” of equal or greater savagery. This is not “humanitarian” or moral in the least; it’s an evil act, resting on an evil premise (that sacrifice is “noble”) and an obscene abuse of American lives and liberties, with not a single selfish gain to be had in return.
As proof of the heinous agenda of the neoconservatives, The Weekly Standard patted Obama on the back. William Kristol, editor, wrote an effusive welcome to Obama to the ranks of the disinterested and self-sacrificing advocates of the tonic of a “moral adventure.” His relief is unbecoming.
I knew pretty early on during Monday’s speech that President Obama had rejoined — or joined — the historical American foreign policy mainstream….The president was unapologetic, freedom-agenda-embracing, and didn’t shrink from defending the use of force or from appealing to American values and interests. Furthermore, the president seems to understand we have to win in Libya. I think we will.
As Daniel Greenfield points out, Obama’s action was not merely ill-considered or ill-advised. It was completely and consciously blind and indifferent to whatever intelligence reports may have been dropped on the Oval Office desk, unread – in fact, necessarily hostile – to the fact that the United States has no self-interest in intervening in what is essentially a civil war between a dictator and a ragtag army of wannabe dictators and America-hating jihadists. Who are the “rebels,” and why is Obama worried about their genocide? Are they the descendents of the Armenians who were massacred by the Muslim Turks early in WWI? Are they Christians, or atheists, or Jews, or Scientologists weary of “forty years” of Gaddafi’s oppression and clinically-defined lunacy but are now “rebelling” and risking being herded into concentration camps for extermination?
A week after launching it, the administration still can’t get its own story straight as to why we’re fighting it at all. According to Obama, he went in because he refused to wait for images of mass graves. Other things he refused to wait for were basic intelligence, stated objectives and congressional approval. It took us ten years to decide to remove Saddam, it didn’t even take Obama ten days.
Was there any indication that there would be the implied genocide that comes with mass graves? Hardly. On Feb 22nd, Libyan diplomats began claiming in broken English that Gaddafi was committing ‘genocide’. Since they had trouble with the language, it’s an open question if they even knew what genocide was. And since Libya is an Arab-Muslim country and the civil war is fought between Arab Muslims, who exactly would Gaddafi be committing genocide against? The Tuaregs are the closest thing Libya has to a minority– and they’re fighting on his side. If there’s a possible genocide here, it would be of the Tuareg people by the rebels if they win.
Yes, they are fellow Muslims hankering after a chance to impose their own notion of proper Islamic governance on Libya, and who are no less barbaric than Gaddafi.
But if Obama was too afraid that there might someday emerge pictures of mass graves, why then did he oppose the removal of Saddam Hussein? Mass graves in Iraq are not hypothetical. And photos of them are available. Yet Obama who campaigned on his opposition to a war in which there were mass graves and in which every option had been exhausted after a decade– now leaps into a war to avoid the possibility that he might ever have to look at photos of mass graves.
This isn’t about Obama being too queasy to look at mass graves. If that were the case we would be invading North Korea, Sudan and the cartel run parts of Mexico. Gaddafi is not doing anything that half the Middle East isn’t doing, and unlike our close ally Turkey, he’s doing it without employing chemical weapons. We aren’t in Libya because it’s an extraordinary human rights situation, but because our decision making process has become a thorough and complete mess.
This is not a neocon or leftist complaint about Obama’s hypocrisy and inconsistency and not really knowing what he was talking about, or caring to know. Someone called the Libyan turmoil a “revolution,” and that was enough for him. Guys with guns started shooting back at other guys with guns. It is light shed on Obama’s irrationality and freewheeling but nonetheless selective humanitarianism. Hypocrisy and inconsistency are the least serious failings of Obama’s policies. The most serious charge against him is his expressed wish to prostrate this country before the parasitical and questionable needs of countries whose “virtue” of poverty and misery is their sole claim on us.
Under the guise of “humanitarianism,” Obama is determined to drain the last drop of America’s exceptionalism, of its uniqueness, of its independence, of its pride as a free nation. In George Washington’s farewell address in 1796, he warned against “interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, [or to] entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice.” He went on to say:
Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combination and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Substitute “Europe” with the Middle East, and his advice is no less germane or vital. One of the causes “foreign to our concerns” is the Islamic jihad against us, and a “humanitarian” campaign to help “needy” Arab-Muslims – provided they wish to establish their own tyrannies under the equally salubrious ruse of “democracy” – will only see our defeat, bankruptcy, and subjugation.
A noted philosopher, Ayn Rand, once offered this rule-of-thumb for those faced with incomprehensible irrationality: “Don’t bother to examine a folly. Ask only what it accomplishes.”
And what else is Obama accomplishing but the steady and inevitable destruction of this country?
It is time that Americans grasp that every action Barack Obama has taken since moving into the White House has been an episode of a war waged against this country, from ObamaCare to “green energy” to his appetite for government debt. His Libyan adventure is simply another demonstration of his war-fighting philosophy. This is not hard to grasp or concede. Obama’s actions speak louder than his words. Examine the evidence.