Posted by lex, on March 11th, 2011
The president has, through his passivity in the face of the Libyan crisis, engendered the antipathy of Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the left-leaning The NewRepublic:
We will not act to prevent a crime against humanity because by doing so we will offend—who, exactly? Not the Libyans who are clamoring for Western assistance, or the Egyptians who looked to us for unequivocal support in their fight for freedom, or the Iranians who made a similar mistake. No, we will offend only a certain doctrinaire Western notion of what the contemporary Arab world thinks about the West, a notion that the democratic upheavals in the Arab world are making manifestly obsolete. We will offend not their assumptions, but our assumptions about their assumptions.
It would be the profoundest irony if, after having broken our hearts and the bodies of our youth for nearly 10 years now in the Middle East we have come to the conclusion that “these people” cannot be saved at precisely the same moment when they finally became ready for salvation.
Because that’s what just happened, if you weren’t paying attention: We’ve gotten tired of them. We’re tired of their ululations, their savagery and their conspiracy theories. We’re tired of their backwardness, sloth, dependency and fatalism. We’ve gotten tired of trying to accommodate a modern day, pluralistic and tolerant society to the religious dictates of a military adventurer dead some 1400 years.
We’ve seen a people bravely rise against a brutal tyrant who has been a decadal enemy our our country, who has murdered our citizens time and again and decided that there is no choosing between the two of them. We have shown other tyrants that the way to overcome civil unrest is through air strikes and mechanized assault. The “shining city on a hill” has turned its back on the weak and the oppressed: They are not our people, this is not our war.
Welcome to our Brave New World.