Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 12.31.37 PM
PM Carpenter, your host. Email: pmcarp at mchsi dot com.
Screenshot 2024-05-27 at 11.05.06 AM


  • ***


« Team of Rivals | Main | Despicable »

March 21, 2011


Marc McKenzie

"And that is the fundamental difference between today and ten years ago, between this intervention and that war, between one exceptionally bad president and an exceptionally good one: character, which Obama has, and Bush did not."

That seems to be the case, PM. While I do have concerns about intervention in Libya, I do feel that the alternative--just sitting back and letting Quadaffi have his way--would be worse.

Marko Hoare gives a proper summation on his blog:

Of course, to the Greenwalds of the world, it really doesn't matter, does it? Obama has the mark of Cain, and therefore, taking this sort of action is evil and corrupt. But I ask them: would it have been better to sit back and do nothing?

I'm not sure if they'll even answer that question. Instead, it'll be the same old bob-and-weave, trying to shoehorn in Iraq, Gitmo, the decadence of Western society, and other ridiculous memes that end up creating a mountain of idealogical bullcrap.


I generally agree with PM's commentary and outlook, but this was a pathetic post indeed.

First is the absurd idea that we could know the true character of either Obama or Bush. All we know is what we see and hear in the media and the results in the real-world.

Bush struck me as a stupid, but honest man. Obama strikes me as a smart but dishonest one. I can't know, and neither can PM. He is probably correct in the contrasting nature of the two.

Greenwald may be right or wrong about the war, but he has pinned Obama as a liar in multiple, material ways- the public option and Bradley Manning and indefinite detention being three of them.

To sit back like a little child and say I TRUST the President is just sad. Nobody has basis to "trust" any President because only the person in the office can truly know what they are about.

Bush was an asshole and Obama may or may not be an asshole, but all the matters is the real-world results of their actions. On Libya, we will see when we see, and we can't tell yet.


PUNK SAID:First is the absurd idea that we could know the true character of either Obama or Bush.

THEN HE SAID: Bush struck me as a stupid, but honest man. Obama strikes me as a smart but dishonest one. I can't know, and neither can PM. He is probably correct in the contrasting nature of the two.

Greenwald may be right or wrong about the war, but he has pinned Obama as a liar in multiple, material ways- the public option and Bradley Manning and indefinite detention being three of them.

SO PUNK says PM is absurd for saying he knows Obama's character and then proceeds to say that he and Greenwald know Obama's character. Also anyone who says bush was honest AFTER LYING AbOUT WHY WE WENT TO IRAQ IS AN IDIOT!


Judgements of character and performance in the light of once-current events now become history and now-current events whose direction and outcome are yet to be known is a fool's game. One cannot really say "no thinking person could ever have trusted George W Bush"; quite a few did, actually, in the immediate aftermath of the 11 September, 2001 terrorist attacks. Bush's mettle and character as leader were then relatively unknown quantities in light of the gravity of the situation; in the eyes of many observers, even those sceptical of his abilities and intellect, he seemed to rise to the occasion to provide the leadership needed at the time.

Most people of my acquaintance, even those on the left of the political spectrum, accepted the war in Afghanistan as a justified American response. Many other people of good faith were sadly deceived by the flawed and fraudulent evidence of Saddam Hussein's nonexistent WMD and gulled into supporting the Iraq war; many others were not fooled by the attempt to conflate Iraq with the "War on Terror", and it's arguable that those who were so deceived were acting emotionally rather than rationally. But it's far too easy to be dismissive of anyone who ever saw Bush as honest and credible given all that's happened in the past decade; from the viewpoint of late 2001-early 2002 things look rather different.

As an historian surely you grasp the importance of context in any analysis of events?


This post makes me embarrassed to be a Democrat.


I agree wholeheartedly with this post.


Seriously?...."But WE are the children of light, and they are the children of darkness....and that's why it's different when we do what they do!"

I think you are learning that reality is complex when you stop "caressing" in the cocoon.


I couldn't tell if this post was sarcastic or not. Assuming it's serious, I can't understand why someone would trust Obama merely because he's more trustworthy than someone like Dubya. Obama has an objective record of lying on everything from the public option, to whistleblower protection, to his views on war powers. And I would question your own character if you're not seriously questioning Obama's character over the Bradley Manning treatment (I know, he checked with the Pentagon and they said Manning is being treated fine).

As much as I disliked Bush, I think he was actually more prone to making a decision based on what he felt was right. Obama? I constantly get the sense that he's just trying to please as many people as possible, regardless if the solution is appropriate. And watching a broke-ass country bomb Libya while US partners like Bahrain and Yemen kill their own peaceful protesters doesn't happen to strengthen my faith in his judgment.


Is that really the standard now?

Trustworthy president = good war
Untrustworthy president = bad war?

The subjective nature of those judgments notwithstanding, isn't this the narrow-minded, simplistic thinking that the author apparently accuses Bush of employing?

Does this reasoning mean that if Obama invaded Canada tomorrow it would be justified since he is trustworthy?

Robert Lipscomb

Well, trust is the fundamental lubricant of representative government. We vote to elect someone to represent us in government. We entrust those representatives with that autonomy.

I will risk interpreting PM's statement to mean that based on Obama's performance (behavior) to date, he trusts Obama to make intelligent decisions based on good moral principles while exercising good judjment.


I think the proper formulation is "I still, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, hope Obama deserves my trust.".

Actually, that's not even correct... trust implies a framework on which to base it. What Carpenter has is properly termed faith. That's not a bad thing, but let's call a spade a spade, hmm?


Emotions and feelings are what got us mired in Iraq and still fighting in Afghanistan. I prefer consensus building and having other nations share the risk in world conflicts. America is not the world's policeman or security officer. GWB's feelings and his propensity to lie repeatedly to us played a strong role in America's economic downfall. I trust President Obama and the decision that he made regarding Libya because I know that we don't need to be involved in a third conflict in the Middle East. I'm probably quite a bit older than most who are posting here. I've watched presidents make decisions like these for almost 40 years now. It was right for President Obama to get the cooperation of the UN and the Arab League to avoid the appearance that America is still using cowboy diplomacy to intervene in sovereign nations in the Middle East. Those who feel that we should have sent troops into Libya are not considering the financial costs at a time we're just recovering from a deep recession, or the cost to our troops, many of whom are on their third or fourth war deployment. All I can say to you is that if you think the job of being POTUS is easy, and making a decision on when and whether to act in the ME, and the form that the intervention should take, by all means, throw your hat in the ring and run for the position in 2012. It would be a good learning experience, because I'm sure you'd find that as POTUS no issue is all black or all white.


What is really amazing about the so called leftist critics of Obama's action on Libya is that they are the same ones who are always shouting about violations of International laws. Greenwald is perfect example. For him Bradley Manning (who by the way is not being tortured, despite what Hamsher and Greenwald are saying) is more important than the people of Libya who are facing slaughter from the hands of their dear leader, Qaddafi.

Under the U.N. Charter, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling on member countries to use all necessary means to protect the people of Libya from their brutal government. President Obama, along with France, U.K. and Arab countries embarked on enforcing the U.N. Resolution to protect the innocent people of Libya; and these so called progressives are up in arms vilifying the President. You know who is a liar, PUNK, it is people like Greenwald who hate Obama so much that they are blinded by that hatred not to realize that the action he took on Libya is focused on preventing genocide and crimes against humanity. I am sure Greenwald, who is a lawyer, knows fully well that the U.S. signed the U.N. Charter, as well the Genocide Convention and the Crimes against Humanity Convention.Enforcing U.N. resolution to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity is not a violation of U.S. law.

I hear that Dennis Kucinich, the darling of the holier than thou leftists, is now calling for the Impeachment of President Obama for violating Art. I, Sect. 8, par. 11. Does Kucinich not know the difference between the U.S. participating in enforcing international law under its treaty obligations and the U.S. unilateral action declaring war? These so called progressives are really exhibiting the same idiocy as the teabaggers simply because they hate President Obama.


Thank you PM. I have my doubts and concerns about this as well. However, the President, who has approached this in a characteristically thoughtful & careful manner, has (at the very least) earned our respect & the benefit of the doubt.

The comments to this entry are closed.