Gingrich: For attacking Qaddafi before he was against it?

posted at 6:40 pm on March 23, 2011 by Allahpundit

Ace thinks so and so do I, but I’ll let you judge for yourselves. Dave Weigel has the two key quotes side by side. On March 7, Greta Van Susteren asked him, “The president has said that military options with NATO are not off the table. What would you do about Libya?” His answer: No-fly zone, ASAP. “This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.” The key bit:

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.

So, get Qaddafi and prevent a bloodbath. Fast-forward to his interview this morning on the Today show and suddenly preventing bloodbaths are less of a priority:

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…

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.

That echoes what he told Politico this weekend, after the mission began, about Iran and North Korea being bigger threats and humanitarian disasters happening all over the world. In fact, he posed four questions for The One that he neglected to raise when he condoned a no-fly zone a few weeks earlier with Greta:

• “What is the Obama standard [for deciding to intervene]?”

• “What is success?”

• “What are we prepared to do to achieve that success?”

• “What supplemental is the president prepared to ask for to pay for all this?”

How to square all this? His team gives it the ol’ college try:

Prior to the president’s March 3 declaration that Qaddafi must go, there were options to be indirect and subtle to achieve the desired result with no United States forces. The president took those options off the table on March 3.

Newt said on March 7 that the president should established in short order a no-fly zone when Gingrich understood that the president’s goal was regime change. What to do about Libya was pre-March 3 question. But from the moment of the president’s declaration, he put the prestige and authority of the United States on the line. Now, anything short of regime change is a defeat for the United States.

The president’s new policy announced on March 19 which Gingrich also reacted to, no longer included replacing Qaddafi but was narrowed to a “humanitarian” mission and that became the rationale for intervention causing great confusion given the president’s previously stated goal. Mullen on Meet the Press this past Sunday underscored the narrow scope of the new policy, saying that “the goals of this campaign right now again are limited, and it isn’t about seeing [Qaddafi] go.”

The president’s stated goal of removing Qaddafi changed. Gingrich’s goal of removing Qaddafi since the president made that his goal for the U.S. has not changed.

The only rational purpose for an intervention is to replace Qaddafi.

In other words, when Greta asked him, “What would you do?”, Newt supposedly thought she meant, “How would you advise the president now that he’s committed to regime change?” But … Greta didn’t ask him that. And if she had, he could have given her the same answer he gave Matt Lauer this morning — that military intervention is a bad idea, that there are diplomatic and economic ways to pressure Qaddafi, etc, but now that Obama’s put U.S. prestige on the line, we have no choice but to put some birds in the air. He didn’t say that. How come?

In response to his explanation this afternoon, Think Progress dug around and found a clip of him on Fox back in February sounding gung ho for stronger condemnation of Qaddafi by Obama. Watch below. He doesn’t say anything about military intervention, but Newt hasn’t been shy in the past about condoning international military action to prevent mass slaughter by rogue regimes of their own people. Exit question: Is this anti-Obama pandering or just a big misunderstanding?

Update: Newt elaborates on his team’s defense in a Facebook post, stressing that Obama’s dithering and the UN’s weak mandate (humanitarian, not regime change) changed the calculus of the decision to intervene by March 23.


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Newt: Brilliant with zero discipline. Too bad.

jake-the-goose on March 23, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Newt the Polar Bear has a Brain Problem.

portlandon on March 23, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Let me splain. The GOP is stuck. Between their love of complaining about Barky, and their love of sending the military after ME dictators.

Look for the latter to win out, and the GOP will again Reach Across the Aisle, tm, to approve Barky’s Great Libyan Adventure.

And Barky will send Jon “mike” Huntsman back to China to beg for another loan to pay for it all. Unity!

james23 on March 23, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Reason #246 why Newt will get nowhere near the Rep nod.

Another established Rep down, 4 more to go.

Odie1941 on March 23, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Newt the Polar Bear has a Brain Problem.

portlandon on March 23, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Too soon…

Odie1941 on March 23, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Newt is the Alcibiades of the modern age.

PackerBronco on March 23, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Newt Gingrich can’t be trusted?

Well there a shocker!

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Gingrich is a dbag. Big surprise.

Scrappy on March 23, 2011 at 6:50 PM

What is with all these a**hats? Triangulation? What? Why the frak can’t one just take some ground and hold it?

Ya know, Newt, you and the good old boys on both sides of the aisle didn’t read a single line in the election of 2010, did you.

Limerick on March 23, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Ahhhh Newt.

He’s a good politician in some respects. He knows American history. He frames a debate very well and is exceptional at summarizing a point of view in one sentence. He also understands policy better than most. We need a lot more people as eloquent as him on our side. Which is why it’s so disappointing when he pulls all this other Newt stuff, which seems to happen at least once a year.

hisfrogness on March 23, 2011 at 6:51 PM

He’s running for President…

… so he is keeping his options open.

/

Seven Percent Solution on March 23, 2011 at 6:51 PM

No doubt a NFZ implemented 3 weeks earlier may have had a completely different result than this one’s likely outcome, but Newt and Sarah and everyone else, including me, who was in favor of a NFZ need to own up. We did not ask enough (or any) questions about the rebels. They are, in all likelihood, Islamists.

If so, this is a war the United States cannot win, no matter what happens.

Basilsbest on March 23, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Gingrich would be a better advisor than he is a leader.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Ahhhh Newt.

He’s a good politician in some respects. He knows American history. He frames a debate very well and is exceptional at summarizing a point of view in one sentence. He also understands policy better than most. We need a lot more people as eloquent as him on our side. Which is why it’s so disappointing when he pulls all this other Newt stuff, which seems to happen at least once a year.

hisfrogness on March 23, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Professor material. Not Presidential.

Odie1941 on March 23, 2011 at 6:53 PM

I think Newt has a defensible position. Doing the no-fly zone early in March could have headed off a larger massacre, but instead they let the brutal cat out of the bag, and then declared teh no-fly option…too little, too laqte, and with no clear objectives.

I imagine Gov Palin would say something similar, since she also advocated a no-fly zone way back on Feb 22.

ornery_independent on March 23, 2011 at 6:55 PM

What is with all these a**hats? Triangulation? What? Why the frak can’t one just take some ground and hold it?

Limerick on March 23, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Because conditions change, and those calling for a NFZ earlier assumed there would be some leadership out in front of it. That isn’t happening.

ornery_independent on March 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Newt changes his mind like the weather so catching him out on some inconsistency is no big deal.

aengus on March 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

What is with all these a**hats? Triangulation? What? Why the frak can’t one just take some ground and hold it?

Limerick on March 23, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Limerick:*SIGHS*,remembers Triangulation with the
Distractionary period of the Clintons!(sarc):)

canopfor on March 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Typical politician. No thank you.

When your morals are shaky, it doesn’t matter how “smart” you are. Newt’s inability to commit to a political position is absolutely predictable, given that he can’t commit to a spouse. Not that he is alone in that.

Splashman on March 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Gingrich would be a better advisor than he is a leader.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Agree, he could be a kingmaker. /

idesign on March 23, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Looking at the statements, I could only come to the conclusion that Mr. Gingrich is full of crap.

Rebar on March 23, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Scozzafava fever kills brain cells.

portlandon on March 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

No doubt a NFZ implemented 3 weeks earlier may have had a completely different result than this one’s likely outcome, but Newt and Sarah and everyone else, including me, who was in favor of a NFZ need to own up. We did not ask enough (or any) questions about the rebels. They are, in all likelihood, Islamists. If so, this is a war the United States cannot win, no matter what happens.

Basilsbest on March 23, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Yes. I’ve been suspicious from the get-go about who these “rebels” are. You know, there aren’t many people over in the ME who know much about democracy. Also, it looks like Egypt elections may go to the Muslim Brotherhood. So there ya go.

KickandSwimMom on March 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

How gingrichian.

JavelinaBomb on March 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

No doubt a NFZ implemented 3 weeks earlier may have had a completely different result than this one’s likely outcome, but Newt and Sarah and everyone else, including me, who was in favor of a NFZ need to own up.

There is a difference between saying we should assault the beaches at Normandy and we shouldn’t have to add that yes, we should let the soldiers bring their weapons with them.

The idiocy of how this has been conducted is something I have never seen before. A steering committee? Gates shrieking at the British that Qaddafi is safe from us? We are just bombing, strafing and killing but its not a war?

We did not ask enough (or any) questions about the rebels. They are, in all likelihood, Islamists.

If so, this is a war the United States cannot win, no matter what happens.

Basilsbest on March 23, 2011 at 6:52 PM

The same nasty government with Qaddafi dead is a win for us and weeks ago could have been done easily.

We all watched as they dithered and wasted time and Qaddafi advanced and literally days if not hours before the end… then they decide to intervene?

I will come clean that we cannot win with this clown posse in charge.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Paging Storm’n Norman,

1990-91 Gulf War briefing General Norman Schwarzkopf part 1
***********************************************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BaSwaBPg6M

canopfor on March 23, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Agree, he could be a kingmaker. /

idesign on March 23, 2011 at 6:59 PM

:)

I would rather he stick to just advising.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:05 PM

OK, so Newt’s out for 2012; we already know that.

Key West Reader on March 23, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Newt,needs to stay,as the THINKER in the GOP!!

canopfor on March 23, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Newt erred?

profitsbeard on March 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I would rather he stick to just advising.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:05 PM

I’d rather he take a bow and exit public life. He had his day in the limelight, and that was a long time ago. Now he’s becoming more of a caricature every time he opens his mouth. Give him a few years and he’ll be the Republican Jimmuh Carter.

Splashman on March 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Newt’s problem is just like the Miami Heat’s point guard Mario Chalmers. Rio brings a lot of energy to the game, manages to cover up his defensive deficiencies with some great steals, hits the open 3′s, and then – out of the blue – makes some *&#T$!!ing blunder that you want to kick his butt for.

Oh well. Newt’s explanation is about 96.7% more coherent than Bamster’s.

ex Dem from Miami on March 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Agree, he could be a kingmaker. /

idesign on March 23, 2011 at 6:59 PM
:)
===========================

I would rather he stick to just advising.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:05 PM

sharrukin: Exactly!!:)

canopfor on March 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

KickandSwimMom on March 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Also, when you have the Iranians publicly advocating for the west giving the rebels weapons you have to wonder “What’s up with that?”

KickandSwimMom on March 23, 2011 at 7:12 PM

flipflopapalooza

hillbillyjim on March 23, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Oh well. Newt’s explanation is about 96.7% more coherent than Bamster’s.

ex Dem from Miami on March 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Good point. lol!

KickandSwimMom on March 23, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Newt lost all credibility[whatever he had] with me when he did a commercial, sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi, for global warming. Utter BS

retiredeagle on March 23, 2011 at 7:16 PM

ok THIS man is a serious candidate? But Palin isn’t? you know it’s no wonder the GOP lost power in 2006 and 2008 to freaking marxist. And it’s no wonder that Newt last to CLinton.

unseen on March 23, 2011 at 7:17 PM

France obtains 10 percent of its oil from Libya and Europe 80.

CWforFreedom on March 23, 2011 at 7:18 PM

There was only one right answer. Leave the Libyans to kill Libyans. They don’t need our help.

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Speaker Gingrich, you’re a great American!

Stand by,….after the break for our great, great, geat American panel…Cut!

a capella on March 23, 2011 at 7:20 PM

did anyone else hear that dear leader will NOT address the nation but keep doing what he is doing re: communication

unstinkingbelievable

cmsinaz on March 23, 2011 at 7:20 PM

He’s taking an anti-Obama stance, nothing more. Obama could say the sky was blue and Newt would say it wasn’t.

ButterflyDragon on March 23, 2011 at 7:23 PM

The same nasty government with Qaddafi dead is a win for us and weeks ago could have been done easily.

We all watched as they dithered and wasted time and Qaddafi advanced and literally days if not hours before the end… then they decide to intervene?

I will come clean that we cannot win with this clown posse in charge.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

No sale. The rebels are a rabble. If we set up an NFZ 3 weeks ago Momo would still be in place. The only way he’s going is if we take him out and that was not an option then and it isn’t an option now.

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 7:25 PM

The only way he’s going is if we take him out and that was not an option then and it isn’t an option now.

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Yes actually it is an option. You may feel the Great and Glorious Peoples Army of Libya is unbeatable but I suspect it would be a weekends worth of effort.

With Obama in charge? The US military would probably lose if it tried to take on the Girl Scouts!

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM

You’re right, it would be short weekend’s work if we put our soldiers in there. But you know that was never going to happen. What would the Arab League say to another “occupation” of a Muslim nation in the ME?

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Update: Newt elaborates on his team’s defense in a Facebook post, stressing that Obama’s dithering and the UN’s weak mandate (humanitarian, not regime change) changed the calculus of the decision to intervene by March 23.

Facebook? He can’t be a serious candidate if he uses Facebook…..

unseen on March 23, 2011 at 7:32 PM

What would the Arab League say to another “occupation” of a Muslim nation in the ME?

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 7:32 PM

I really don’t think you can imagine how little I give a damn what the Arab League says or does. They can prance about shrieking ‘Crusader’ and ‘colonialism’ all they want. They are not our friends and they are not our allies, and only a fool would take counsel from those who have nothing but hostile intentions towards them.

I want them to fear what we might do and the worse motives they think we posses the better. They are not motivated by friendship and they respond to kindness with contempt and murder.

Let them fear.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM

did anyone else hear that dear leader will NOT address the nation but keep doing what he is doing re: communication

unstinkingbelievable

cmsinaz on March 23, 2011 at 7:20 PM

cmsinaz: Transparency alright!!:)

canopfor on March 23, 2011 at 7:41 PM

I really don’t think you can imagine how little I give a damn what the Arab League says or does.

sharrukin on March 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM

You couldn’t possibly care about them less than I do. But that doesn’t matter. Not a single pol from either party would make a move to piss them off. That’s why I say, it is not and has never been option.

MJBrutus on March 23, 2011 at 7:42 PM

canopfor on March 23, 2011 at 7:41 PM

apparently the lsm has no problem with it…can you imagine if W did not address the nation prior to iraq or afghanistan?

cmsinaz on March 23, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Slimy opportunistic politician. Ugh.

OhioCoastie on March 23, 2011 at 7:48 PM

This is no surprise. Newt is always hoping bandwagons and pushing to get in the front. He jumped on the one for a no-fly zone when that sounded the most popular, and as soon as the criticism got loud over the weekend, hopped to the bandwagon going the other way.

He’ll change his mind again as soon as Congress passes an AUMF.

Dusty on March 23, 2011 at 7:49 PM

c`mon guys give newt a break, he dropped his paper with the “correct” answers on it and it got stuck in those darned cushions…I HATE when that happens.

NY Conservative on March 23, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Exit question: Is this anti-Obama pandering or just a big misunderstanding?

With Newt, it’s probably both.

Today it will be a big misunderstanding before it was anti-Obama pandering.

Tomorrow it will be anti-Obama pandering before it was a big misunderstanding.

No to Newt.

rukiddingme on March 23, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Same old Newt. Can we please get over our fascination with the same old professional liars.

rcl on March 23, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Three words: Scuzzzafovva!!

ted c on March 23, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Matt Lauer made mincemeat outta Newt. He came off as wishy washy on Libya. The Germans are already backing out of Zero’s coalition so now who is going to get the hand off? France? Wanta see Sarkozy fade outta the picture faster than…he’s gone already.

Kissmygrits on March 23, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Newt please go away.

vilebody on March 23, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Gingrich may be more correct on the issues than Bill Clinton, but he shares an ego with Clinton that makes him believe that, even in the YouTube era, he’s so much smarter than the voters he can say one thing here and another thing there and get away with the contradiction, because no one’s going to put the contradictory statements together.

He supported the “no fly zone” action, stuck his finger in the air after Friday’s U.N. vote and decided the hard-core on the right would be mostly against Obama’s late agreement on the “no fly zone” and decided getting in shots at Obama trumped any ideological policy consistency. And while he may be right that most on the right aren’t backing Obama’s move, Newt’s history of these strategic pivots makes you think if he’ll do it here, he might do an even worse pivot as president if the polling data came back the wrong way.

jon1979 on March 23, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Newt speaking out of both sides of his mouth?

And exactly why is that news worthy?

csdeven on March 23, 2011 at 10:17 PM

Newt is valuable as an idea man, but he isn’t good at formulating a policy or a plan…because he gets so wrapped up in one thing that he doesn’t adequately factor in consequences, alternatives, and backup plans.

This is why he shouldn’t be in charge, and he should never work alone.

landlines on March 23, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Just following in the footsteps of John Kerry and Mitt Romney…

Gohawgs on March 23, 2011 at 10:45 PM

I think he just likes to hear himself talk.

Murphy9 on March 23, 2011 at 11:17 PM

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.

Here’s the problem with this statement.
I saw and listen to this clip, Newt was cut off mid sentence.

“I would not have used American and European forces” is not the end of the sentence, they just cut off what ever was said after “forces”.

I need the complete sentence to know what the complete sentence was.

The other problem with these 2 statements are apples and oranges. One statement is in reference to removing Daffy from power, using the military, Newt clearly says yes to this.

The other statement is to use our military for some undefined humanitarian effort that leaves Daffy in power. Not sure exactly how Newt answered this cuz they cut his reply off.

Personally I’m for removing Daffy from power, using the military and against using our military for some undefined humanitarian effort that leaves Daffy in power.

Don’t know why that would somehow be UN-clear.

DSchoen on March 24, 2011 at 2:04 AM