A few Obama supporters and generalized liberal/leftist others are discovering that Obama lied about the extent of our involvement in Libya, having already (allegedly) authorized covert CIA operatives to offer support—and, I would sincerely hope, to figure out who the rebels are and see what might actually be going on there. Boots on the ground and all that.
JammieWearingFool has a nice way of describing the stunned ones:
“Useful Idiot Shocked Over Obama’s Covert Actions in Libya”
They’re usually the last ones to figure out they’ve been duped.
That “how sad” is sarcasm, but it’s also true. People do have a highly unfortunate tendency to overlook evidence that their idols have feet of clay, right up to the point when the idol’s feet crumble and the statue falls over and crashes right onto them (and onto the rest of us as well).
Sullivan is in a state of cognitive dissonance so great he may have trouble recovering:
It’s so surreal, so discordant with what the president has told the American people, so fantastically contrary to everything he campaigned on, that I will simply wait for more confirmation than this before commenting further. I simply cannot believe it. I know the president is not against all wars – just dumb ones. But could any war be dumber than this – in a place with no potential for civil society, wrecked by totalitarianism, riven by tribalism, in defense of rebels we do not know and who are clearly insufficient to the task?
Apparently Sullivan has either ignored all previous “discordances” between what Obama has promised and what he has done, or rationalized them away.
You may wonder why I focus on Sullivan, who has lost so much credibility himself over the years. The answer is that I see him as somewhat typical of a certain type of liberal thinking that’s fairly common—and not even limited to the left, although I find it a lot more prevalent there. Sullivan, after all, used to be a centrist of sorts—at least temporarily, until the cause of gay marriage and the Abu Ghraib scandal drove him leftward.
You can see—in Sullivan’s emphasis on the word “dumb”—another shock: what’s a smart president like Obama doing in such a dumb place? Therein lies the wounded yet still-beating heart of a great deal of Obama’s support among supposed intellectuals: he was felt to be so much smarter than anyone else who’d occupied the office recently, even Clinton the Rhodes scholar, and smart people don’t do dumb things.
Leaving aside the question of whether there was much evidence for this belief about his intellectual firepower, the conviction was and still is quite firmly entrenched in many of Obama’s supporters. But they are ignoring the fact that “smart” people quite often do dumb things in the real world, especially the world of war, especially if they are almost totally inexperienced in said world. Has Obama—or Sullivan—never heard of “the best and the brightest?” If not, it’s time for a history lesson.
As for me, I have no illusions about Obama. But as far as sending the CIA goes, I’m for it. If we’re going to support the rebels to the tune of billions of dollars we don’t have, it would be great to find out who they are and whether they’re worthy of support.
[NOTE: Michael Totten offers an interview with a woman who says she knows who the rebels are and is part of a group called Shabakat that has extensive contacts with them, and that they're nice urban educated guys who want democracy and freedom.
Although I'd like this to be true, I'm exceedingly skeptical. Not of Totten, whom I trust implicitly, but of the rest. And even if it's true, I can't imagine that such forces would be a match for Qaddafi's supporters, even with our clandestine help on the ground and air support.]
[ADDENDUM: Victor Davis Hanson on Obama and Libya. As usual, Hanson is well worth reading, and the essay brings to mind the fact that he is, after all, a military historian. Many of the comments are good, too (hat tip: “T”).