The PJ Tatler

Gingrich flip-flops on Libya

If consistency is the hobgobblin of little minds, then Newt Gingrich must have one ginormous brain. Or he’s just an opportunist. He’s been caught out flip-flopping on whether we should be involved in Libya, in the span of 16 days (I know, it’s “Think” Progress and Weigel, but everyone scores a goal once in a while). And Newt’s explanation, imho, doesn’t hold up.

Gingrich gets this part right:

GINGRICH: The standard [Obama] has fallen back to of humanitarian intervention could apply to Sudan, to North Korea, to Zimbabwe, to Syria this week, to Yemen, to Bahrain. This isn’t a serious standard. This is a public relations conversation.

The UN’s R2P, which is the basis of our involvement in Libya, is overly broad, and Obama’s rhetoric could easily be used to justify action against any number of countries other than Libya that we are not currently engaging militarily. Others including some of us here have said as much.

But on March 7 Gingrich said this:

VAN SUSTEREN: What would you do about Libya?

GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone and that the sooner they switch sides, the more like they were to survive, provided help to the rebels to replace him. I mean, the idea that we’re confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 just tells you how inept this administration is. They were very quick to jump on Mubarak, who was their ally for 30 years, and they were confused about getting rid of Gadhafi. This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.

And on March 23 he said this:

LAUER: Do you think Moammar Qaddafi has to go as a result of this intervention?

GINGRICH: Let me draw the distinction. I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces.

Squaring that circle requires a new geometry.