Further to the post just below this one: Not only would Republicans and Fox News commentators back in 2008 insist that Democrats admit that the Bush surge worked in Iraq, they would be positively outraged--OUTRAGED-- at anyone who continued to dare to criticize the Bush war strategy. Even at the beginning of the Iraq war, there was an effort made (I'm thinking particularly of Dick Cheney) to equate dissent with lack of patriotism; to suggest that anyone who had the audacity to question Bush policies such as restricting civil liberties, roughing up suspected terrorists, and invading a foreign country that had nothing to do with 9/11, might be in league with the terrorists. And while Bush apologists tried to intimidate dissenters, they had to acknowledge that Bush's policies weren't exactly making us a lot of friends abroad. US standing in the eyes of other nations' citizens sank steadily during the Bush years.
That situation has now reversed itself. Is it therefore fair to question the patriotism of critics of President Obama's methods of overthrowing North African dictators? People like Rick Santorum, for example, who said that Obama had "little to do with this triumph [in Libya]." Not only is Santorum's comment exceedingly ungracious, but anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention to what the Libyan rebels themselves say has to recognize that Santorum's refusal to acknowledge America's key role is just completely counter-factual. The Libyans know that they would not be where they are today without American help, and they have publicly thanked America for our support.
I would probably give these critics the benefit of the doubt as to their patriotism (though maybe I shouldn't), but I don't mind pointing out their hypocrisy. Everybody is supposed to rally around a Republican president, especially on foreign policy ventures, but it is perfectly fine for the opposition party to give no support whatsoever to any Democrat who occupies the White House. The pattern was established under President Clinton, and is being played out even more strongly under Obama. I will not only call it hypocritical. I call it shameful. It wouldn't bother me if a lot of Republicans, even a majority, expressed reservations about the President's policies abroad, but to find virtually unanimous criticism in the face of American success? To find citizens of countries all over the world finally--FINALLY--praising the United States as a force for good, while opposition politicians in this country will not begrudge the administration any recognition of its critical role in assisting the Libyan revolution? To fail to take pride in the sight of freedom fighters in other countries waving American flags, and thanking us for our help? Shameful.
(LA Times photo from Stars and Stripes)