March 31st, 2011

Libya CIA revelations: Obama supporter shocked—shocked!

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.

Andrew Sullivan is so stunned by the news that he’s practically gone silent, which takes a lot of doing. Others don’t seem stunned; merely angry (see also this).

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.

How sad.

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”).

21 Responses to “Libya CIA revelations: Obama supporter shocked—shocked!”

  1. T Says:


    Can you and agree that Obama is a poseur, that he affects the appearance of an intellectual? Given that the left is consistently seduced by appearances, this admission by Sullivan also prompts another observation.

    It seems to me that, more and more, people adopt the intellectual arguments of a defense attorney, i.e., present only those arguments that support your cause and ignore contradictory arguments. Whether done by either the left or the right, this is not an attempt to reveal the truth, but a “win at all costs” strategy. hardly an intellectual pursuit!

    As for myself, I find that, most often, once a person’s mind is made up, rational argument does very little to change his/her mind. Yes, s/he may listen politely, then s/he reverts to supporting the original cause. Obama’s “smartest persona” and global warming are only two of such instances. In both cases, believers fail to weigh the evidence easily at hand.

    What surprises me most about Andrew Sullivan’s admission is that he made any admission at all; I would have expected a host of rationalizations or excuses.

  2. T Says:

    Coincidentally, as for presenting only those arguments that support your cause:

  3. Jim Nicholas Says:

    Shock therapy can be beneficial for persons suffering from delusions, perhaps even someone with delusions about Sarah Palin’s pregnancy or President Obama’s truthfulness. But if not curative for Andrew Sullivan, it may have beneficial effects on others.

    We may hope so.

    Jim Nicholas

  4. Mr. Frank Says:

    VDH has a good explanation as to how Obama ended up involved in Libya in spite of his previous positions.

  5. T Says:

    Mr. Frank,

    Just read that a short while ago. He seems to have covered all of the bases. Anyone who is surprised by this has just not been paying attention, or has made the mistake of believing that Obama is principled.

  6. Mr. Frank Says:

    Obama’s slam dunk humanitarian war might evaporate. I just read a report that there are only 1000 fighters on the rebel side. That’s unlikely to impress Gadaffi. One wag suggested that 200 more jihadis are on their way from Iraq and Afghanistan.

  7. Scott Says:

    Sullivan also worte a post saying that if Obama’s military adventurism in Libya can not be defunded, then he should be impeached for violating the War Powers Act.

    I’m hopeful there are enough Lefties who are as disappointed and infuriated as Sullivan is that it motivates them to “draft” a primary challenger to Obama. At the very least, it will divert some portion of campaign money that would otherwise end up in Obama’s coffers. And judging from the lefty blogs I’ve read, if Russ Feingold jumps in he’d get a substantial chunk of far left money (and their votes).

    A primary would also lead to a Democrat-on-Democrat mudslinging contest, Even if that doesn’t damage Obama, it would be entertaining to watch.

    BTW, on a different note, Stranahan is making more waves at Patterico. This time about Media Matters.

  8. marybel Says:

    Poor Andrew…having himself a Southern woman’s case of ‘the vapors’!

    Maybe Andrew will think hard about stuff and start wondering about all he doesn’t know about Obama’s past…which include his transcripts and college records.

  9. Bandmeeting Says:

    Yeah, Obama is not against all wars, just dumb ones. He’s just too smart.

    Is the implication that Bush was for dumb wars?

  10. james Says:

    Amazing! The rebels and Obamas’ administration seemed almost created for each other. A civilian clusterf*** that found weapons supported by a political clusterf*** that discovered it had a military. They must be praying overtime that the Duck o Death gives up quick or they’re all in deep doo doo.

  11. geran Says:

    I appreciated “T says” comment re: intellectual and intellectual arguments.

    I think we need a new definition of “intellectual”: A person who appreciates the ability to distort the truth.

    (Or maybe that is already the de facto definition?)

  12. Curtis Says:

    The actions of Woodrow Wilson to stifle dissent and shape the world through his overbearing involvement in WWI and the doomed League of Nations helped split the progressives. Both camps prospered: The statists, of course, under FDR. The libertarians under ACLU and similar organizations.

    Will the same thing happen now?

  13. blert Says:

    Totten’s S.T.T. is a very flakey woman.

    She’s the one who had the high profile affair with the British Colonel in Kabul — which ended his career.

    In psychometric terms: She’s a ‘Dillly.’

    You should entirely discount anything she says. She lives in a dream world where she’s the ultimate attention whore.

    It’s a black mark on Totten; he never should have printed her words. Sheesh.

    Just Bing her name and the stink rises.


    The Resident is a dyed-in-the-wool Gonnabee. Period.

    Basic Type:

    Status-seeking reactive-dependent

    Facade: Aggressive, tough, macho, highly confident

    Apparent objective: To show outstanding achievement

    Real objective: To win “big shot” status in order to compensate for feelings of inferiority

    Management Style: Angry autocrat (!)

    Weaknesses: Overweening ambition — Emotionally weak, overdependent — Erratic judgement, entirely self-absorbed — self-destructive

    Often ashamed of parental status..

    “…However, NEVER give a gonnabee a REAL president’s role, for this will assuredly sink the enterprise….”

    John Wareham

    Secrets of a Corporate Headhunter et. al.


    While it might appear that the Wan is lazy, such is not so.

    In fact, his hamster is racing between his ears trying to stay afloat on a sea of turbulent manipulation.

    When you have that many lies up in the air it takes great facility to maintain their altitude.

    Famous magicians have made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

    The Wan trumps that by making the Constitution disappear!

  14. Parker Says:

    “And judging from the lefty blogs I’ve read, if Russ Feingold jumps in he’d get a substantial chunk of far left money (and their votes).”

    This would be wonderful, and if Cheesehead Russ throws his hat into the ring can HRC resist taking another shot at Obama?

    Interesting article:

  15. Beverly Says:

    Well, let’s go talk to the prezidint and ask him, shall we?

    [hat tip, Firesign Theater ;-)]

  16. daniel Says:

    CIA involvement is a good thing.

    In Libya.

    And in every other country that would like to do us harm. For that matter, in every country in which there may be the potential to harm current and future interests of our country.

    CIA is an intelligence gathering institution that has fallen short in Human Intelligence resources during the past several decades. They need to be abroad developing these assets so that when the poo hits the fan we are not scrambling to figure who threw the poo.

    When NATO folds up and goes home and Daffi takes over, hopefully these assets will make it through the purge and still be available to us in the future.

    This should be something that leftists should be applauding, not bemoaning since good intelligence can help prevent future violence. They should at least be able to grasp this one thing as a sign of the president’s intelligence.

  17. SteveH Says:

    “”I think we need a new definition of “intellectual”: A person who appreciates the ability to distort the truth.”"

    So many of our problems come from academically immersed people. Most especially those who reflexively hold judeo/christian morality in contempt. They see themselves as released from illogical ancient myths, while simultaneously proving their value to society like no sermon in mere human language could ever do.

  18. Richard Aubrey Says:

    When does “He fooled me.” switch to “I was fooled.” or “I let myself be fooled.”?

  19. Bigol Says:

    Sadly the media still supports the president, even as more and more Americans are starting to see through his actions.

    In a truly rational world the left would be screaming from the rooftops something like this:

  20. Casca Says:

    A minor quibble, but we used to call them “pseudo-intellectuals” back in the day. I prefer the formulation to “supposed”. I find it more dismissive, and I like that.

  21. T Says:


    “Pseudo-intellectuals” it is.

    How about “Pseudo-President” too?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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