June 07, 2011

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Late last month, when U.S. air strikes caused civilian casualties in Afghanistan, an angry Hamid Karzai issued an ultimatum.

If future U.S. strikes are not restricted, we will take “unilateral action” and America may be treated like an “occupying power.”

That brought this blistering retort from one Republican hawk.

“If President Karzai continues with these public ultimatums, we must consider our options about the immediate future of U.S. troops in his country. If he actually follows through on his claim that Afghan forces will take ‘unilateral action’ against NATO forces which conduct such air raids to take out terrorists and terrorist positions, that should result in the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the suspension of U.S. aid.”

Who was the GOP hawk shaking the fist at Karzai? Sarah Palin.

Insiders attribute Palin’s shift from the neocon party line to the departure from her staff of Randy Scheunemann and Michael Goldfarb, and their replacement by Libya war skeptic Peter Schweizer.

Perhaps. But there are other straws in the wind that the GOP is coming to see that, like his “big government conservatism” ballyhooed by The Weekly Standard, Bush II’s compulsive interventionism has proven as great a disaster for his country as it did for his party.

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner had to scramble to cobble up a substitute resolution to prevent half his GOP caucus from joining with Democrats to denounce President Obama’s war in Libya as unconstitutional and to demand a total U.S. pullout in 15 days.

“The return of the anti-interventionist right is welcome news.”

The author of the end-the-war resolution that seemed likely to pass was Dennis Kucinich. That Republicans would vote for a Kucinich resolution testifies to the anger on the Hill that Obama took us to war without congressional authorization and has treated the War Powers Act with manifest contempt.

Boehner’s resolution, which gives the president longer to comply with the act and involves no deadline for withdrawal, passed 268 to 145.

But Kucinich’s resolution, which would have cut off funds for the Libyan war, still garnered 148 votes, among them 87 Republicans.

More than a third of House Republicans voted to pull out of the NATO coalition attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, which would have forced a NATO withdrawal from that civil war. This is historic.

Yet another reflection of anti-interventionist sentiment can be seen in Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ valedictory tour, where he felt compelled to assure U.S. allies in Asia we are there to stay.


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