Victor Davis Hanson

d) Monster-in-recovery. The Gadhafi clan has been wooing Westerners through oil money and multicultural gobbledy-gook. In the last few years, the British released the Lockerbie bomber, a native of Libya; Saif Gadhafi, the would-be artist and scholar and the son of Col. Muammar Gadhafi, essentially bought a Ph.D. from the prestigious London School of Economics; the creepy Harvard-connected Monitor Group hired out cash-hungry "scholars" to write on-spec tributes to Gadhafi's achievements; and singers Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Beyoncé and other entertainers earned a pile of petro-dollars for crooning before the Gadhafis. Then, suddenly, Obama spoiled the fun and profits by turning Gadhafi from a rehabilitated monster back into Ronald Reagan's old "Mad Dog of the Middle East."

e) Stuff happens. Many supporters of the Iraq war condemned Abu Ghraib as the poorly supervised, out-of-control prison it was. Lax American oversight resulted in the sexual humiliation of detained Iraqi insurgents. It was a deplorable episode in which, nonetheless, no one was killed, and yet it took an enormous toll on the credibility of administration officials. But while the media covered the Libyan bombing and the Middle East uprisings, a number of Afghan civilians allegedly were executed by a few rogue American soldiers. That was a far worse transgression than anything that happened at Abu Ghraib under Bush's tenure -- but apparently an incident that in the new media climate, can legitimately be ignored. Obama made "stuff happens" a legitimate defense for those doing their best to run a war from Washington.

f) War really is tiring. The media serially blamed a supposedly lazy Ronald Reagan for napping during military operations abroad. George W. Bush was criticized for cutting brush at his Texas ranch while soldiers fought and died in Iraq. Obama rendered all such presidential criticism as mere nitpicking when he started aerial bombardment in the midst of golfing, handicapping the NCAA basketball tournament and taking his family to Rio de Janeiro.

g) The road to Damascus? After Bush's interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, many war-weary Americans believed that we would never again get involved in a Middle East war. But now, with Obama's preemptive bombing of Libya, giddy American interventionists are again eyeing Iran, Syria -- and beyond!

In short, Obama turned America upside down when he bombed Libya -- and in ways we could have scarcely imagined.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.