Ed Driscoll

Liberators, Then and Now

“Dovish New York Times Columnist Kristof: We’re Being Greeted as Liberators in Libya,” Clay Waters writes at Newsbusters:

Liberal columnists who were reliably opposed to Republican presidents warring against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (see Bush I and II) often do an about-face and strike up a martial tune when it’s a Democratic president dropping bombs. Ask former New York Times columnist and good liberal Anthony Lewis, who pushed the Clinton administration to intervene in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The reliably dovish Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote from Cairo on Thursday to take the pro-war side in Libya – “Hugs From Libyans” – announcing that (to coin a phrase) we’re being welcomed as liberators in Benghazi.

This may be a first for the Arab world: An American airman who bailed out over Libya was rescued from his hiding place in a sheep pen by villagers who hugged him, served him juice and thanked him effusively for bombing their country.

Except that it’s not a first, as Christopher Hitchens told Chris Matthews in 2006:

[Chris] Matthews was running through a litany of what he termed “strike-outs” for the Bush administration in Iraq. When he got to “strikes out on the fact that we were going to be greeted as liberators,” Hitchens interrupted:HITCHENS: No, no. We were greeted as liberators. I saw it myself.

MATTHEWS: The pictures, yeah.

HITCHENS: No, no, I was there. I saw it myself, many many times. American soldiers and British soldiers were greeted by hundreds of thousands of people with real joy. I saw it myself. I can’t believe people say it didn’t happen.”

Oh, I can; I’ll bet that by now, so can Hitch.

Update: Rick Moran has a photo flashback at the Tatler to jog Kristof’s memory.