Image by Aquila via FlickrI previously wrote that the Arab League's Libya jitters are super muy contagious, didn't I? We'll, don't tell me I never warned you. Apparently, the flip flop bugs have eaten the brains of folks in DC, as well, and elsewhere.
The Cable's Josh Rogin reported that HFAC Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen was for the Libya war before she was against it.
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was a fierce advocate for military intervention in Libya right up until the Obama administration decided to attack the country, after which she became one of the war's fiercest critics.
"The United States and all responsible nations should show in both word and deed that we condemn the Libyan regime's actions and that we will not tolerate such blatant disregard for human life and basic freedoms," she said in a Feb. 22 press release, shortly after protests broke out across the country.
"Additional U.S. and international measures should include the establishment and enforcement of a no-fly zone, a comprehensive arms embargo, a travel ban on regime officials, immediate suspension of all contracts and assistance which benefit the regime, and the imposition of restrictions on foreign investment in Libya, including in Libya's oil sector," she said in another press release four days later.
On March 19, Ros-Lehtinen criticized the intervention in an interview with CBS Miami.
"The bottom line is you've gotta ask what is the U.S. security interest in getting involved in Libya," said Ros-Lehtinen. "Because there's unrest everywhere. Today it's Libya, tomorrow it will be somewhere else."
Two days later, she told Reuters, "Deferring to the United Nations and calling on our military personnel to enforce the 'writ of the international community' sets a dangerous precedent."
Ros-Lehtinen has backed up her demand for an explanation of the administration's policy by calling for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify before her committee.
Still, her public statements call into question the pledge she made in a March 18 interview with Congressional Quarterly to support the administration's Libya approach.
"Whatever the president decides, I will support what the president wants to do. I'm not going to Monday-morning-quarterback him," she said.
Read more here.
Then on March 7, one of our favorite entertainers for years and now presidential explorer of 2012, Newt Gingrich told Fox News:
GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. … It’s also an ideological problem. The United States doesn’t need anybody’s permission. We don’t need to have NATO, who frankly, won’t bring much to the fight. We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening. And we don’t have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force, which we could do in minutes.
Well, we didn't need NATO in Afghanistan either, until we did. Harumph!
Anyway, after the US forces started firing missiles into Libya, here's the Newtster again on March 23:
"I would not have intervened," he said in an interview with NBC News in the morning. "I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region that we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces."
Then there's House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., who told the AP on March 9 of President Obama:
But after President Obama clearly did something, McKeon said this in a March 20th press release:
“I am concerned that the use of military force in the absence of clear political objectives for our country risks entrenching the United States in a humanitarian mission whose scope and duration are not known at this point and cannot be controlled by us.”
Overseas, the Daily Star of Lebanon has also accused Prime Minister David Cameron of being "guilty of more flip flops than an Olympic gymnast." More on Mr. Cameron here and the ghost of Tony Blair.
In the same piece, Michael Glackin points out that EU’s foreign affairs chief, the hapless Baroness Ashton, also sided with Germany in opposing the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya. The BBC says that "the mood was strongly against any kind of military intervention. The words "no-fly zone" did not even make it into the final communique. Ten days later European planes are doing bombing runs over Libya."