National Review’s spectacular irrationality on Libya

On Wednesday National Review ran an editorial urging that the U.S. intervene with military force in Libya to overthrow Kaddafi. I replied here. Today Andrew McCarthy has written a full length response to the editorial, and I mean full length. The editorial was 770 words long; McCarthy’s response is 3,500 words long. Less is more, Andy.

Here is one pungent section, where McCarthy wonders why U.S. “payback” against Kaddafi for the Lockerbie bombing has suddenly become such a high priority for NR’s editors. During the Bush years, he writes,

… Qaddafi—a terrorist who never changed a wit—was suddenly portrayed as a reformer and a strong U.S. ally in the war against terror. The Bush administration removed him from the list of terror sponsors, opened the foreign aid spigot for him, and cultivated ties between his regime and U.S. industry—all to the deep dismay of the same opposition we are now told it is essential that we help. Even more infuriating, President Bush, at the apparent urging of Secretary Rice, agreed to satisfy Qaddafi’s damage claims arising out of the Reagan administration’s righteous missile-attack on Tripoli in retaliation for the despot’s terrorist bombing that killed American troops in Germany.

That seems like some pretty outrageous coddling of a murderer of Americans with whom we still have a score to settle. So I searched the NR archives to find an editorial in which we condemned any of this appeasement, called for Qaddafi’s ouster, demanded that the terrorist be made to answer for Flight 103, or at least protested Secretary Rice’s treacly sit-down with this anti-American monster. Unless I’m missing something, there is no such editorial. To be clear, I am not saying NR ever bought the Bush administration’s Qaddafi makeover or regarded the dictator as anything other than the thug that he is. My point is that, although Qaddafi is still the same guy he has always been, we did not make much of a peep over the Bush approach, yet now we want to go to war with the guy under circumstances where there has been no intervening Libyan attack on the U.S., or even a threat against the U.S.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 17, 2011 11:36 AM | Send

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