The pundits can’t make up their mind which they dislike more – Obama’s inaction or his action? But they’re not dithering, oh no!
The much anticipated military intervention in Libya was met with scepticism by Fox News hosts because America is not leading the charge and because the president continues to insist that protecting civilians is the mission’s priority.
Sean Hannity is dissatisfied on many levels with America’s role in the military intervention in Libya, because he believes the president has wasted time by engaging with the United Nations rather than going it alone, because the purpose of the mission has not been defined to his satisfaction and because he doesn’t know “how long we have to be in it to win it” (view clip).
He discusses his frustrations with Colonel Oliver North, who gained notoriety for his involvement in the Iran-Contra arms scandal. North is also disappointed with President Obama’s handling of the situation and believes that he (Obama) only got the US involved because the French embarrassed him into it. Hannity finds this penchant for thinking before acting typical of “the gang that can’t shoot straight” (aka the Obama administration). Although he (Hannity) doesn’t appear to be entirely sure himself that intervening in Libya is the right thing, he seems to wish the president would get on with it already.
I am frightened by this president’s inability, Colonel, to make a decision. Now, it took six months to give the troops that were requested by our leaders in Afghanistan. He was dithering – that was the phrase we used – and then he still didn’t give them the troops they wanted. He didn’t support the freedom fighters in Iran in 2009. He vacillated and took varying positions in Egypt and seems to be doing the same here today, more concerned about brackets, trips to Rio and games of golf!
North agrees and further asserts that President Obama’s problem is that he tries too hard to please everyone and ends up pleasing no one. The kinder view would be that the president has tried very hard to do the right thing by the civilians in Libya at risk of slaughter while, at the same time, trying to avoid dragging America into what could turn into another intractable war in the Middle East. But to Hannity, pondering these dilemmas are of less concern than America losing its standing as the world’s policeman.
This is a problem if the centre of gravity, in other words, in terms of terms of world leadership, is now – because of America’s failure or America gives it up … is now shifted to Europe, if they now make these decisions. If the president doesn’t go to Congress, for example, there are a lot of angry liberal congressman about this, but he goes to the United Nations and he basically uses them as his justification and doesn’t seem to have real commitment, it seems like he doesn’t really believe that America’s place in the world ought to be one of moral leadership – fundamentally, what message does that send the world?!
It doesn’t seem to occur to Hannity that the world might be very open to a less imposing America that does not feel obliged to provide leadership, moral or otherwise.
Bill O’Reilly welcomes the “better late than never” military intervention in Libya, but is dismayed by the mixed reaction to the air strikes and invokes Britain’s wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill, to articulate his desire for clarity of vision (view clip).
“Talking Points [that is, O'Reilly's show] is almost numb, numb from the foolish analysis of the Libyan action. Never have so many said so much useless stuff for stuff.”
O’Reilly’s biggest problem with the intervention is that neither the United Nations nor the American president will say outright that the goal of their mission is to take out Gaddafi (rather than to protect civilians). And while he claims to understand that such a statement might anger our allies or would-be allies in the Arab world, O’Reilly still has no time for all this beating about the Bush.
Even a five year old knows you don’t bomb a country unless you want the country to change. And Libya is not going to change unless Gaddafi is out of there. We all understand that. I don’t know about you but I am tired, tired of the obnoxious verbal game being played.
O’Reilly discusses this with Karl Rove who claims that because the president “dithered” for so long and allowed the UN to take the lead, he is now bound by the language of the UN resolution, which does not state “regime change” as its goal. Rove also contends that Obama’s choice of words is a face-saving measure because if he says he is out to get Gaddafi and then fails to get Gaddafi, it will make him (Obama) and the United States look weaker than Rove believes they already appear. O’Reilly agrees with this assessment but does his bit on behalf of his network’s “fair and balanced” theme, and tries to explain the president’s point of view.
But wasn’t it smart for President Obama to do that, though? To take the international approach, to take all the animus away from the United States because people would use that to say, “here they go again!” It has the Arab League signature on it and all of that.
Rove counters that the time wasted (seeking an international solution) just empowered Gaddafi. And with his quest for fairness and balance thus satisfied, O’Reilly goes back to calling for some straight talking and an end to the “BS”, which he claims is “his job to cut through”.
World events are moving a bit too fast at the moment for Glenn Beck’s liking, and although he had the whole weekend to get a handle on the Libya situation, by the time his first show of the week aired, he had not yet managed to come up with a satisfactory theory as to who is behind it all, who stands to gain from it and what we should all be thinking and doing about it. Until he can finalise his storyline, Beck consoled himself with making sure his audience understood that everything Gaddafi has done and continues to do to his people is very, very bad, and everything that President Obama and the United Nations have attempted to do to protect Libyan civilians from the brutal Gaddafi is very, very bad also (view clips; read transcript).
To counteract all this mayhem, Beck urges his viewers to turn their back on all that is evil (communists, socialists, and TV personalities like Bill Maher and the ladies on ABC’s The View who reject the bible’s teachings) and embrace all that is good (God and the Founders).
America understand one thing – this is good versus evil and your name will be put on a chart or a book someplace. Evil is alive and well on this planet and it is growing. It needs to be put on notice that good is growing as well.
Beck draws two columns on his blackboard, one for good and one for evil and quickly fills up the evil column with some of the afore-mentioned offenders. The good column sadly remains empty, largely because Beck believes that far too many of us today are choosing to “rely on man’s intelligence and are openly hostile to God”. But if only we remind ourselves that Jesus is coming back and prepare for that event, everything will be OK.
No one knows the hour that Jesus is going to return. Nobody does. That’s what you believe if you’re a Christian. That he is coming back. I don’t know when he’s coming back. Everybody has been thinking that it could be five minutes from now, it could be five thousand years from now. We don’t know. But does it hurt to be prepared, to have order in your life? Does it hurt to have, to check yourself spiritually, to check your pantry, to have an emergency plan together?
I’m not quite sure why stocking one’s pantry or whatever is necessary preparation for the second coming but it’s probably not a bad thing that, for the time being at least, Beck is more focused on God than on Gaddafi.