Bozell Column: Obama's Libyan War

Think of all the militant anti-war types who were thrilled at the removal of the Bush “war machine” in 2008, only to see President Obama’s strained endorsement of military action in Libya. Oh, how the political wave of the hard left has crashed ashore. It seems like only yesterday when they were celebrating Cindy Sheehan as she flagrantly called President Bush “the biggest terrorist in the world.”

Then they elected Obama and it all went to Hell.

Over the last two years, these chagrined radicals have watched in stunned disbelief while their hero Obama continued the Iraq war wrap-up on the generals’ timeline and then added more troops in Afghanistan. They listened in shock as Team Obama announced it was reversing itself on indefinite detentions at Guantanamo.

And now he’s started his very own kinetic military action.

Where are our friends in the press? They must be wondering. The media’s said nothing about Iraq for them, nothing about Afghanistan. Virtually nothing about the Gitmo flip-flop.

And now they’re pro-war in Libya.

Were these journalists ever “anti-war”? Or was all that coverage of George W. Bush as a Constitution-shredding global embarrassment just a convenient partisan campaign? If the No War for Oil crowd thought the run-up to war in Iraq featured a docile media, how on Earth must they feel about the docility of the press as Obama started dropping bombs on Libya? Someone pass the smelling salts.

It’s pure and simple: The re-election of Barack Obama trumps all. The news media will bury anything negative that threatens his return in 2013.

The media know full well that Obama’s refusal to obtain congressional approval is a flat-out betrayal, and a documentation of a lie. The media have the footage of Candidate Obama in 2007: "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” The media also know (then-) presidential candidate Joe Biden said he’d personally lead the impeachment if Bush went to war with Iran without a congressional vote.

Some in the print press found this, like Washington Post “fact checker” Glenn Kessler. But had this been Bush exercising such brazen dishonesty, it would have been the lead story on every TV network news program – for days. But it was Obama and Biden who lied through their teeth and nothing will interfere with Obama-Biden in 2012.

Like their Democrat friends, Harry “The War is Lost” Reid and Nancy “Iraq Was a Grotesque Mistake” Pelosi, our media were the loyal opposition in the Bush years. It is astonishing to see them so shamefully switch their talking points so quickly and robotically – perhaps as quickly and robotically as General Obama.

Exhibit A is former Washington Post defense reporter Thomas Ricks. Five years ago, he wrote an Iraq book with the title “Fiasco.” That tome was touted as “a searing judgment on the strategic blindness” of Bush’s war. In his book, Ricks even trashed Democrats. They were not doves but "lambs" for their failure to oversee the excesses of the executive branch.

So who is this lobotomized Tom Ricks who showed up on “Meet the Press” on March 27? This man put on rose-colored glasses and magically transformed himself into Mr. Best-Case Scenario.

NBC’s David Gregory asked: If Gaddafi stays, can we really say “Mission accomplished”? Ricks didn’t hesitate. “Yes. I think what they'll say is we gave it a chance. All Obama is saying is give war a chance,” Ricks proclaimed. “Not our war. All we did was kick the door down, let the Brits and the French and the others do it. And I think his notion is we're going to be out of there long before this is resolved. That's the hope. That's the best-case scenario.”

As one of Obama’s media “lambs,” Ricks also insisted that if there are Islamic extremists among the Libyan rebels, that’s okay, since they seem to like us right now. “I don't think that all Islamic extremists are necessarily our enemy.  What we're at war with is violent Islamic extremists who want to attack the United States.  I think what you're seeing now is something very different, which is some of those Islamic extremists are cheering the United States.”

The economy is in shambles – who cares. The country is broke – who cares. We’re in a third war now, and we don’t know why or to what end – and who cares. All that matters is that whatever helps Obama is the top “news.” Whatever hurts Obama is destined to be left on the back-burner in a rusting pot.  

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center