Bachmann takes clear stand against Libya intervention

On August 23 I wrote:

Earlier today I observed that whatever opposition there has been to the Libyan intervention has been weak, passive, and indecisive. An example of what I mean is Bruce Thornton’s article today at FrontPage Magazine. Thornton doesn’t like the intervention, he finds all kinds of things wrong with it, but his quibbles and criticisms do not add up to a clear denunciation of what we have done there. He never simply says, “It is wrong.” And that is what has been desperately lacking since this mess began in March.

And on August 27, in response to a reader who asked, “What can I do, in practical terms, to oppose this war?”, I replied:

We are powerless. The entire political establishment, both parties, is for this war. The media are for this war. All we can do is express our opposition. But at least we can do that. And I don’t mean Sean Hannity-style grumbling which sounds as if it’s opposition to the war but which in fact never rises to the level of saying, “I’m against what we have done in Libya, it is wrong.”

Today Michele Bachmann was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Congresswoman, from the very start, you are a strong opponent of any U.S. military involvement in Libya. Here’s what you told me in May.


BACHMANN: This is a disaster in the make why President Obama’s policy of leading from behind is an outrage and people should be outraged at the foolishness of the president’s decision.


WALLACE: Question—if President Bachmann had been in charge, wouldn’t Muammar Qaddafi still be in power?

BACHMANN: Well, he may be. But I stand by that decision. I think it was wrong for the United States to go [into] Libya.

Finally, someone in a prominent position in American public life has said it. That it was wrong, that we shouldn’t have done it.

The interview continues:

BACHMANN: Look where we’re at today. Remember, again, Barack Obama said we were going into Libya for humanitarian purposes. It wasn’t humanitarian purposes. It was regime change.

And what’s the result? We don’t know who the next leaders will be. Sure, there is a transitional council, but who will the real leader should be that takes over and runs Libya? It could be a radical element. It could be the Muslim Brotherhood. It could be elements affiliated with al Qaeda. We don’t know yet who that regime will be.

But worse, we’ve seen the MANPADS go missing, and the shoulder-fired rockets that are very dangerous, that can fit in the trunk of the car. And there are some reports out there that they have perhaps even gone as far as Gaza. And, of course, that could be used to bring down a commercial airliner. This is a very bad decision and it’s created more instability in that region, not less.

WALLACE: I’m a little bit confused though. Are you suggesting that we would be better off with Qaddafi’s dictatorship still in effect?

BACHMANN: The world certainly is better off without Qaddafi. I agree with Lindsey Graham. The world is better off without Qaddafi.

But consider what the cost will be. We are only looking at a snap shot today. We’re not—the last chapter hasn’t been written in on Libya.

And, again, we have to recognize that there are missing today chemical weapons, the shoulder-fired missile launchers, this is very serious. This could risk more human life because they’re missing, and we also don’t know who the next regime will be that will be taking over Libya. We knew who the devil was that was running, we don’t know the next one.

And, again, this was leading from behind on the part of the administration.

And, remember, there was no clearly identifiable American vital interest that was ever designated. That needs to be our basis for putting any American in harm’s way.

[end of exchange on Libya]

Under the pressure of Wallace’s repeated, insinuating question about whether she was saying that the world would be better off with Kaddafi still alive and in power, Bachmann caved and said the world is better off without Kaddafi. This undercut her main argument, since her whole point was that things have very likely gotten significantly worse as a result of our overthrowing Kaddafi and helping the al Qaeda-affiliated rebels come to power. Leaving aside that slip-up, however, this was very good statement by her.

And she’s also the best Republican candidate on Obamacare.

- end of initial entry -

October 24

Timothy A. writes:

I’ll bet if Ed Rollins was still her campaign manager he’d have briefed her on the “correct” answer to the Libyan question before the interview. I wonder if she would have taken his advice?

Steve W. writes:

Unfortunately, what Michele Bachmann’s interview with Chris Wallace demonstrates is not her clear-sightedness on the Libya question, but her intellectual weakness and inability to project confident leadership when questioned by a reporter spewing the conventional wisdom about Kaddafi. By now, I’m sorry to say, it is clear that Bachmann lacks the executive ability to serve as President, regardless of the merit of her policy positions.

The Republican presidential field is an enormous disappointment, from top to bottom, for a multitude of reasons. It appears to me that the liberal political-economic consensus is very fragile at this moment in time, but it does not look like the GOP is going to take advantage of this rare opportunity. On the contrary, I expect the GOP nominee to be Mitt Romney (for no better reason than that he is the most “put together” of the candidates), who will govern as a liberal Republican ala George W. Bush, discrediting once and for all the Republican Party as a “conservative” counterweight to the increasingly socialist Democrats. Indeed, Romney’s election, supposedly as a reformist conservative, will be liberalism’s ultimate triumph.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 23, 2011 09:48 PM | Send

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