- - Friday, September 12, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

You remember how much liberals hated George W. Bush for launching his unilateral war on Iraq, don’t you? What a cowboy that guy was. What a “rush to war” that was.

Except there wasn’t anything “unilateral” or “rushed” about what President Bush did. Not at all. Mr. Bush worked for more than a year, obtaining proper congressional authorization for the operation in Iraq. Most Democrats, including then-Sens. John F. Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, voted in favor. Mr. Bush also went to the United Nations and put together a 39-nation coalition.

One of the Democrats who didn’t vote to authorize military force in Iraq was Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator. He made a really big deal about it during his campaign. It’s one of the reasons he beat Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democrat primary. The problem, as I predicted at the time and as we are seeing now, was his lack of experience, little depth of knowledge and complete willingness to politicize any stance no matter how great or small, for the betterment of Barack Obama’s career.

Last year, right about the time he was calling the Islamic State the “junior varsity” players for al Qaeda — a pee-wee league that Mr. Obama mocked for being successful on the jihad-friendly ground of Fallujah — the president pushed hard to revoke the Iraq authorization of military force. Who needed it? There were no enemies to fight. America was pulling totally out of Iraq and leaving a stable, secure country to take care of itself.

However, now we’ve got the Islamic State settled into Iraq and Syria — the first time an entirely new “nation” has been created by conquest in ages. They’ve kidnapped Americans and murdered them on video. They tried to commit genocide against the Yazidis, they conducted ethnic cleansing against Christians, they brought back slavery in a big way, and they’re a threat to both the Kurds and Baghdad, maybe even Jordan and beyond. Mr. Obama keeps calling these terrorists “ISIL,” which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is everything along the Mediterranean from Turkey to Egypt.

Mr. Obama tried to ignore this problem, but it wouldn’t go away. He tried saying they were just a minor problem that could be managed, and his poll numbers went into the basement. He admitted he has no strategy for defeating them, and his poll numbers smashed right through the basement floor.

So now he’s got to get tough, and he doesn’t want Congress involved. Never mind the Constitution — he’s not going to ask for authorization to wage a campaign he says will last for at least three years. Why, the only authorization he needs is the one Mr. Bush got in 2001 — the same one he was trying to revoke last year. That, incidentally, is an authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. It doesn’t say anything about Syria, which is where Mr. Obama wants to step up bombing and give more arms to the rebels.

The anti-war left is totally fine with that. MSNBC did a viewer poll on Wednesday night, and its liberal audience voted by a margin of 88 percent to 12 percent that Mr. Obama doesn’t need authorization from Congress to bomb in Syria. Unilateral military action is, like, totally cool now, dude. It’s awesome when a dreamy liberal heartthrob like Mr. Obama does it.

He doesn’t even need a big international coalition like Mr. Bush had. Britain and Turkey dropped out right away. Russia told the United Nations that Mr. Obama bombing the Islamic State in Syria would be a violation of international law. It looks as though Mr. Obama didn’t consult with any international leaders before coming up with his strategy. That’s OK, though, because he’s not a unilateralist cowboy like Mr. Bush.

We are witnessing a fact of history unfold right before our eyes. The left didn’t hate George W. Bush because of the war in Iraq — they hated the war in Iraq because of George W. Bush.

For sheer partisan hypocrisy, for spending years screaming and moaning about something that didn’t really bother them at all, for having plenty of partisan loyalty, but no principles at all, the antiwar left is the Liberal Bully of the Week.

Rusty Humphries, a nationally syndicated talk-radio host, is a contributor to The Washington Times.

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