Friday, February 15, 2013

Antiwar Liberals are not Defending Obama's Foreign Policy

Conservatives have been crying hypocrisy lately about liberals and Obama's foreign policy; if Bush did these things, liberals would be up in arms, so the argument goes. Alex Pareene demolished this attack in a piece at Salon this week. First, as he points out, many liberals support Obama's aggressive posture overseas because they are, in fact, interventionists who generally support killing brown people in the pursuit of justice and democracy. Numerous liberals from Hillary Clinton to Diane Feinstein voted for the Gulf War resolution, and to call these people hypocrites for not denouncing Obama misses something important about them.

Second, those of us in the antiwar faction are not defending Obama's actions. Pareene:
There is undoubtedly less outrage, but ignoring the administration’s more questionable actions is far more common than defending them, at least among the sort of liberals I read. That’s obviously not a strong claim for liberal intellectual heroism — “just look the other way for now because the other guy is worse!” is probably a fair caricature of lots of liberal thought during the last election — but it’s still quite different from claiming that Obama’s policies were and are being actively defended by antiwar liberals.
Finally, a slogan I can get behind 100 percent: look the other way for now because the other guy is worse.

3 comments:

David said...

"they are, in fact, interventionists who generally support killing brown people in the pursuit of justice and democracy"

Really, John? Really?

John said...

What else would you call Bush's invasion of Iraq, supported by the Times, the Post and 20 Democratic Senators?

David said...

But is that what you call Obama's policy? You were talking about Obama, not Bush.

I always detested Bush's Iraq policy, and supported the war in Afghanistan. Perhaps that distinction is too Jesuitical for the antiwar left.

But in defense of liberals who supported Bush's Iraq war, it should be remembered that they supported Bush's policy as publicly presented, which was based on lies about yellowcake and mobile labs and Iraqi intelligence meeting with al-Qaeda, not on the principle of "killing brown people in the pursuit of justice and democracy." That sort of rhetoric is both unjust and impolitic, if one is sincere about preserving a liberal coalition.